Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City
Referee: Michael Oliver
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
Leicester City travel south to Wembley this Sunday lunchtime as they face their third consecutive fixture against one of the top six.
Despite being knocked out of both the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, Spurs league form has continued to excel and thanks to 80th+ minute winners in their last three fixtures against Fulham, Watford and Newcastle respectively, Pochettino’s side have maintained their top-four position and have continued to put the pressure on the league leaders, Manchester City and Liverpool.
After the injuries to Dele Alli and Harry Kane, there were talks of Spurs dropping out of the top-four altogether but they now find themselves only five points off the top and seven points ahead of Chelsea in 4th. They sit 3rd in the form table only one point behind Manchester United and level on points with City and considering injuries to their key players including the absence of Heung-min Son at the Asian Cup, the London outfit have done extremely well to stay in the hunt for the title.
As for the Foxes, they’ve had a rather hard time of it as late but have had a considerable say on the title race and the race for the top four. After beating both Chelsea and Manchester City they slumped to losses against Newport, Southampton and Wolves but then managed a draw at Anfield before a slim 1-0 loss to United, in a game where they arguably could have won. Their fixture list gets slightly easier after this one and they don’t face one of the top six until the end of April so Puel and Leicester will take comfort in that.
Head to Head: Tottenham have already picked up a victory over their visitors this season as they cruised to a 2-0 win at the King Power back in December. They boast the better record between the two sides too with 55 victories compared to Leicester’s 35. The clubs have drawn on 21 occasions in all competitions. This meeting last year saw an enthralling encounter with Tottenham victorious 5-4 on the last day of the season.
Tottenham: The Foxes will be delighted with the absence of Harry Kane for this fixture as the England international has a habit of scoring against the East Midlands side. Two seasons ago, Kane smashed in four goals to help Tottenham in a 6-1 win while the season before he scored a hat-trick in a 4-3 Spurs win. He continues to recover from an ankle injury and is recovering quicker than expected but his 13 goals against Leicester, more goals than he has against any other club, means he will be a huge loss.
Another considerable loss for the Lilywhites is that of Deli Alli who was influential in Spurs victory against Leicester earlier in the season. He put the game to bed during the second half, scoring his 50th goal for Spurs and in fact, it was against Leicester where Deli scored his first goal for the club, in very similar circumstances. The three lions international continues to recover from a hamstring injury which has kept him on the sidelines for the last few games.
Spurs will be able to call on Heung-min Son though who scored the opener back in December and assisted Alli for the second. The former was also imperative to Spurs win last time out against Newcastle as his 83rd-minute goal was enough to give Spurs all three points. The only other injury doubt for Pochettino’s side is Ben Davies who has been ruled out due to a groin strain.
Leicester City: Claude Puel is blessed with a very healthy squad for this one and the only new injury concern is that of Mark Albrighton who is set to potentially miss the remainder of the season due to a hamstring issue. This could pave the way for new recruit, Youri Tielemans, who made the switch from Monaco during the transfer window. The Manchester United fixture was too soon for the youngster yet I expect to see him play some part at Wembley and possibly a place from the start.
The only other injury concern for the Foxes is that of Daniel Amartey who continues to recover from an ankle injury. Captain Wes Morgan was dropped to the bench in the defeat to the Red Devils and the draw at Liverpool and the experienced Jonny Evans has been picked alongside Harry Maguire. Puel may consider bringing Morgan back in for this one yet it would be no surprise to see Evans continue at the back.
Match facts from Opta
Leicester have won just one of their last 11 Premier League away games in London (D4 L6), beating Chelsea on their last such visit in December.
Tottenham have set a new Premier League record of going 29 Premier League games without a single draw. The last top-flight team to have a longer run were Portsmouth between March 1928-February 1929 (38 games).
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has been directly involved in seven goals in his last seven Premier League appearances against Tottenham (4 goals, 3 assists), netting three goals in his last two against them.
Heung-Min Son has had a hand in 14 goals in his last 11 starts in the Premier League for Tottenham, scoring 10 and assisting four.
Predicted Starting XIs
Tottenham Hotspur (4-3-3): Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose; Sissoko, Winks, Dier; Eriksen, Son, Lucas
Leicester City (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell; Ndidi, Mendy; Gray, Maddison, Tielemens; Vardy
Score Prediction: Tottenham 3 Leicester City 2
There is one thing for certain and that is that this fixture should see plenty of goals. The two sides have shared some epic encounters in recent seasons and the fixture ranks third in the all-time list of average goals per game for a Premier League fixture behind only Chelsea vs Sunderland and Liverpool vs Crystal Palace. On average, it has 3.52 goals per game and there has been 88 goals in 25 Premier League clashes.