Monday, December 17

Premier League

TIMELINE

Preview: Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

By , Reporter | 10d
Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League clash between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Leicester City play host to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening having put together a six-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League.

Spurs begin the weekend in third place in the top-flight standings, but Mauricio Pochettino will be aware that his side require a strong Christmas period to remain in the hunt for the league title.


Leicester City

Everyone associated with Leicester City are still in the midst of processing the tragic events of October 27, but Claude Puel and his players deserve huge credit for continuing their strong start to the season.

Nine points have been recorded from five fixtures - a truly remarkable effort given the circumstances - and it has left the Foxes just one point adrift of sixth-placed Everton.

There will be a tinge of disappointment over registering draws in games against Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion and Fulham, but the context of the situation should lead to the Leicester squad being proud of their response.

However, there is a desire to achieve European football for next season, and while they will target the cup competitions, there is also a window of opportunity to finish in sixth or seventh at the end of the campaign.

Leicester still have Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City all to come before the end of 2018, but with points having already been dropped in winnable games, Puel may instruct his players to go on the offensive.

Jamie Vardy remains a fitness doubt for this weekend's game, but Puel will reiterate that the team cannot rely on the goals of the club legend and it has left Kelechi Iheanacho needing to get back on the scoresheet.

The Nigeria international has struggled during the current campaign with his only Premier League goal coming against Huddersfield Town on September 22, but the 22-year-old must start repaying the faith shown in him by the club's board ahead of last season.

Puel has done a brilliant job in putting together a defence which has only conceded three goals in six matches but until Vardy and James Maddison receive help in the final third, Leicester will not move to the next level.

Recent form: DWDDWD
Recent form (all competitions): WDDWDD


Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs have already suffered four defeats in the Premier League this season, but such has been the lack of consistency of their direct rivals that they still sit in third place in the table.

Pochettino will demand that complacency does not become an issue over the coming weeks and months, but the Argentine will feel vindicated to a certain extent having received criticism for his lack of signings in the summer.

Fresh additions could be made during the January window, but Pochettino deserves a huge amount of credit for keeping Spurs above the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal despite having to contend with a number of injury problems.

Pochettino arguably made an error in leaving Toby Alderweireld out of last weekend's North London derby, although the emergence of Juan Foyth in recent weeks has at least given the club's boss an extra option at the back.

Two of Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez have tended to be selected by Pochettino since the beginning of last season, but the progression of Foyth should at least allow Pochettino to ensure that the main trio are not burned out during the latter stages of the campaign.

Spurs continue to have few issues with the attacking side of their game with eight goals coming from their last three games, and Pochettino will be delighted with the return to form of Son Heung-min.

The South Korea international had failed to score a goal in the Premier League before the November international break, but the winger has scored twice and earned a penalty in his last three top-flight outings.

Lucas Moura also ended his month-long goal drought in midweek, and Pochettino will be looking for the pair to provide regular assistance to Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli in the coming weeks.

Recent form: LWWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWLW


Team News

Dele Alli is likely to be restored to the starting lineup, and the England international could replace Eriksen with Pochettino having one eye on the Champions League trip to Barcelona.

Serge Aurier should come in for Kieran Trippier at right-back, while Vertonghen has served his one-match suspension and will replace the injured Foyth in defence.

Moussa Sissoko is also in contention to replace Eric Dier, but Danny Rose could keep his place ahead of Ben Davies at left-back.

Puel will ring the changes having rested a number of his established players for the trip to Fulham, with Demarai Gray a likely starter on the flank.

Ricardo Pereira should also replace Danny Simpson at right-back, while Harry Maguire has recovered from a knee injury and should replace Caglar Soyuncu after five weeks out.

Vardy will miss out once again due to a groin problem, but Jonny Evans and Rachid Ghezzal are in contention after missing the midweek draw.

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Mendy, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison, Gray; Iheanacho

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Winks; Moura, Alli, Son; Kane


Head To Head



Saturday's meeting will represent the 109th competitive encounter between the two clubs, with Spurs registering 54 victories in comparison to 35 wins for Leicester.

Spurs have also had the upper hand since 2014 with five triumphs coming from 11 contests, but Leicester have also had success of their own with three wins coming during that period.

As many as 19 goals have been scored in the last three matches between the two clubs.


We say: Leicester City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur



Spurs have made a habit of grinding out results on the road this season, and we feel that it will be no different on Saturday night. Leicester have lost their way in front of goal, and the visitors should have enough to edge out the Foxes.






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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269
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Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269
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