Tottenham will aim to snap a short winless run to get their top-four push back on track when they face Leicester City in a Premier League clash on Sunday.

Tottenham are placed fifth in the standings at the moment, and with the season entering its final stretch, they are under pressure to finish in the top four. Every match is crucial at this point, but ahead of a trip to Anfield next weekend, Spurs need to bank all three points here.

The last two weeks have been dismal for Tottenham Hotspur in their pursuit of Champions League football next season, full of two lifeless performances, without a victory, goal, or even a shot on target. There is really no way to sugarcoat the fact that only one point was earned from games against mid-table opponents in Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford.

This slump has left Tottenham trailing bitter rivals Arsenal in the Champions League race ahead of the all-important north London derby in a fortnight’s time, which is marketed as the decider for a ticket into Europe’s premier competition.

Thus, Antonio Conte’s side will be in desperate need of a victory to avoid losing any more ground at such a crucial juncture in the season. That said, the hosts will fancy their chances against a Leicester side who are mathematically still in the running for a place in one of the European competitions next season, as they are currently ten points below the top seven with a couple of games in hand.

However, the Foxes have collected just two points from the previous nine available in the Premier League, demonstrating their disinterest in domestic commitments and placing all of their eggs in the UEFA Europa Conference League basket.

This game is sandwiched between the Conference League semi-final legs against AS Roma. And with the tie perfectly poised at 1-1 heading into the second leg at Stadio Olimpico, both team selection and general desire are thrown into doubt, especially given that the Foxes have very little to play for in the league, with a mid-table finish all but guaranteed.

In short, Tottenham definitely have an upper hand in this game as they will be playing in their home stadium. Also, they can draw inspiration from the reverse fixture back in January, when Spurs snatched a last-gasp 3-2 victory at the King Power Stadium thanks to a spectacular effort from super-sub Steven Bergwijn.

Team News & Tactics

Tottenham Hotspur

In addition to Matt Doherty and Japhet Tanganga, who are both out for the campaign with knee injuries, Tottenham have confirmed that Oliver Skipp will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery. Meanwhile, Sergio Reguilon will miss Sunday’s clash against Leicester City due to a groin issue.

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has very few choices for spicing things up in his preferred 3-4-3 system and could go on to name an unchanged team from last weekend despite the recent pair of disappointing results.

There is no looking past Hugo Lloris in between the sticks. Eric Dier has been the leading defender for the hosts this season and will continue at the heart of a three-man central defensive unit alongside Cristian Romero and Ben Davies on either side.

In the absence of Reguilon, Ryan Sessegnon should be able to find a strong run of starts to impress at left wing-back in the last month, whereas Emerson Royal will slot in on the other flank as the right wing-back. Up ahead in midfield, the double pivot will consist of generals Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur.

The forward line will remain the same, but it goes without saying that the front three need a rousing ahead of a tough run-in. This has been a mini-rough patch for Harry Kane up top and Leicester game seems like the perfect wake-up call for the England skipper, while Dejan Kulusevski’s form has nosedived dramatically over the past few games, perhaps due to Doherty’s absence on the overlaps and underlaps.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Son

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Leicester City

Leicester City’s injury woes have eased considerably, and Brendan Rodgers has plenty of options to rotate across the park, with Timothy Castagne the only fresh suspect after sustaining an eye injury against AS Roma on Thursday night. The Belgian full-back, though, has been cleared to feature here if necessary. Meanwhile, Ryan Bertrand and Wilfred Ndidi are still out for the long term.

The former Liverpool and Celtic manager has opted to use a 4-2-3-1 formation for most of the season and is expected to stick with the same for the trip to Tottenham. Kasper Schmeichel is a certainty between the sticks, and the Danish shot-stopper is likely to be protected by a whole different back-four than in the midweek fixture.

Caglar Soyuncu will return to feature along with Daniel Amartey at the core of the Leicester backline as they look to keep things tight at the back and reduce open space for the likes of Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski to pounce on. The need to be cautious over Castagne opens a window of opportunity for Luke Thomas to earn minutes at left-back, while James Justin will deputise for Ricardo Pereira on the right flank.

Rodgers could also be tempted to shuffle the pack in midfield, with big-hitters Youri Tielemans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall likely to be rested this weekend. So, it will be Boubakary Soumare and Nampalys Mendy anchoring the midfield for the visitors.

James Maddison is likely to move into a central position after starting as a right-sided midfielder in the last game. He will be determined to set up some clear-cut goal-scoring chances, with Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes providing the supporting cast on either flank.

Jamie Vardy played for a little over an hour on Thursday before being withdrawn and will almost certainly be rested for the second leg. So Kelechi Iheanacho might make a comeback in a much-changed Leicester lineup this week.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Soyuncu, Amartey, Thomas; Mendy, Soumare; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Iheanacho

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Key Stats

  • Tottenham Hotspur have won seven of their last 10 Premier League games against the Foxes (L3).
  • Leicester City have failed to win 10 of their last 11 away Premier League matches.
  • Should Tottenham go another game without testing the opposition goalkeeper, the Lilywhites’ will become the first team to go three straight Premier League games without a shot on target since the start of the 2003/04 season.
  • Tottenham Hotspur’s talismanic striker, Harry Kane, has scored 18 goals in 17 appearances against Leicester City in all competitions, more than any other opponent in his career.
  • Leicester won this exact fixture 2-0 last campaign. They last won back-to-back away league games against Spurs in October 1999.

Player to Watch

Son Heung-min

Embed from Getty Images

Should Tottenham rediscover their scoring boots against Leicester City, it is difficult to look past Son Heung-min as the likely source, especially with Harry Kane transitioning between playmaker and striker roles throughout the game. Son has been in excellent form for Tottenham this season, and he just needs one more league goal to equal his career-high for any club.

The South Korean forward is also on a roll, having netted six goals in his last five outings for Tottenham. Thus, it would not be surprising if the 29-year-old registers himself on the scoresheet this weekend against the Foxes.

Prediction

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City

Despite their worrisome lack of attacking displays in recent weeks, Tottenham have the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways against a tired Leicester City side who do not fare well on their travels.

Leicester are very likely to prioritise the UEFA Europa Conference League and will need a result after a 1-1 home draw on Thursday. So Brendan Rodgers is potentially primed to make a number of defensive alterations given the quick turnaround.

Antonio Conte’s men have not always capitalised against less motivated clubs. But they can feel confident of breaking their goal rut and piling the pressure back on arch-rivals Arsenal, who will play another European hopeful in West Ham hours later.

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