Tottenham Hotspur are aiming to continue their push for a top-six finish as they host Leicester City on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur have enjoyed a good run of form lately despite not showing any actual signs of improvement in their game. They most notably won the north London derby against Arsenal last week while securing a 3-1 win over Newcastle United in their last game.
This run of two consecutive wins has helped them keep up with sixth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are leading Spurs by just one-point. It means a win against Leicester City on Sunday could help the Lilywhites potentially overtake Wolves by the end of Matchday 37.
At the same time, failing to win this weekend could allow Sheffield United and even arch-rivals Arsenal to mop up those lost points in the derby.
Leicester City, meanwhile, are facing an even more delicate situation. The Foxes were the undisputed favourites to finish inside top four for the most part of the campaign. But, their run of form since the restart has seen them being overtaken by Chelsea.
And heading into this fixture, Brendan Rodgers’ men are running the risk of going down to fifth, should they fail to win against Tottenham on Sunday. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this high-stake encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Tactics & Key Stats
There are question marks over Serge Aurier’s involvement in this fixture as the defender had to fly to France to mourn for his brother in midweek. Japhet Tanganga is a potential alternative but an unlikely one, given the fact that he has not played since the restart.
It should pave the way for Gedson to receive a rare start at right-back as the Portuguese youngster was believed to be training in that position this year.
There will be no other changes in the defensive unit, with Ben Davies retaining his place at left-back, primarily due to no other alternative. Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld occupying the central defensive role while Hugo Lloris will start in between the sticks.
Mourinho should persist with a 4-2-3-1, meaning in midfield, we could once again witness Harry Winks starting alongside Moussa Sissoko. These two have formed an excellent combination due to the stark differences in their style of play.
Moving forward, Giovani Lo Celso is a guaranteed starter in the number ten role, especially with Dele Alli out injured.
There might not be changes in the wider attacking roles either, with Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min getting the nod ahead of Steven Bergwijn and Erik Lamela. And finally, the Tottenham Hotspur attack will be led by the in-form Harry Kane.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Gedson, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Lucas, Lo Celso, Son; Kane.
Rodgers will face a monumental task of facing an in-form Tottenham Hotspur without the services of some of his best players including James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell. Christian Fuchs and Marc Albrighton are also out while Caglar Soyuncu is suspended.
The ex-Liverpool boss has responded to Soyuncu’s absence by deploying a three-man backline, consisting of Ryan Bennett, Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans. That should remain the case this weekend as well, although Leicester City will be keen to avoid the mistake Arsenal made last week.
In the wing-back slot, youngsters James Justin and Luke Thomas should replace the injured out of Pereira and Chilwell. Even Fuchs.
They will look to provide additional support to midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans in the second line of press or drop back and defend in deep blocks if necessary. Speaking of midfield, Rodgers does have the option of using Dennis Praet if he prefers a more creative approach to the game.
And finally, in the attack, Leicester City’s top-scorer Jamie Vardy will be partnered by Ayoze Perez and Kelechi Iheanacho in the wider attacking roles although Harvey Barnes is also an option.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Schmeichel; Bennett, Morgan, Evans; Justin, Ndidi, Tielemans, Thomas; Ayoze Perez, Vardy, Iheanacho.
- Leicester City (67) are one short of equalling the club Premier League record for most goals in a single season.
- There have been 28 goals scored in the past six Premier League meetings, at an average of 4.7 per game.
- Jose Mourinho has won all four Premier League home fixtures as a manager versus Leicester, by an aggregate score of 10-2.
- Brendan Rodgers has won each of his last six Premier League matches as a manager versus Spurs, by an aggregate score of 20-5.
- Tottenham Hotspur have lost just one of their past eight home league games against Leicester City (W5, D2), a 1-0 defeat in January 2016.
Player to Watch
Leading the race for the top scorer of the Premier League this season with 23 goals, Jamie Vardy is by far the most important player for Leicester City heading into this game. He will undoubtedly be keen on securing top spot by putting in a few more this weekend.
But more importantly, Vardy has a proven track record against Tottenham Hotspur, having scored five goals and assisted three in his last nine Premier League games against Spurs, with four of his five goals coming away from home.
Moreover, it will be interesting to see two of England’s best strikers in Vardy and Kane battling out for priceless three points in north London this weekend.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Leicester City
Although Tottenham Hotspur are not perfect by any means, Mourinho’s side has shown excellent perseverance and patience over the past few matches. And that quality could give them the upper hand against a frustrated Leicester City who have already dropped so many points since the restart. Hence, we expect a narrow 1-0 win for the home side this weekend.