Undeniably, the tie of the round will take place in the heart of North London when Tottenham Hotspur host high-flying Leicester City in the FA Cup 3rd round on Sunday evening – one half of a double header as the two two sides will meet once again at White Hart Lane, three sleeps later, to resume Premier League duties. Spurs, have had their best start to the league in recent years, sit in fourth place, six points off rivals Arsenal at the summit and 4 points off their FA Cup opponents Leicester City. It’s a case of prioritization for the Spurs manager with two games in two different competitions against the same opponent in prospect, and will be interesting to see whether he picks a strong team on Sunday.
As for Leicester City, with all due respect, they have defied the odds, and punched well above their weight in the league, and deserve loads of credit for doing so. They go into this game on the back of two draws and a loss, without scoring in any of those games, suggesting a bit of a drop in form and energy, which is fully understandable. An away cup tie against eight time winners Spurs could just be the right game for them to rejuvenate and get all pumped which should make this game all the more end-to-end than it already should be. Ranieri, the Leicester City manager, has revealed his admiration for Sunday’s opponents in his pre-match presser, stating Tottenham Hotspur are the side they look up to and it will be interesting to see whether they can knock them out like they did last season in the same competition – on Sunday evening.
Pochettino confirmed midfield duo Mousa Dembele (ankle) and Ryan Mason (knee) are close to a first-team return, but will not be involved against Leicester.
Leicester will be without top scorer Jamie Vardy after the England international had surgery to treat a minor groin complaint.
Spurs have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season – so far having conceded just 16 goals in 20 games.
Leicester City have scored the second most number of goals in the Premier League this campaign – with 37 goals (2 shy of Man City’s 39) that is without scoring in their last three games on the trot.
Key Men Comparison
Harry Kane (Spurs) v Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)
Harry Kane started 2015 in a remarkable fashion scoring a memorable brace against eventual champions Chelsea and to be honest he has never looked back. He’s been fantastic throughout the year and his record this season has been pretty impressive with 11 goals in 20 appearances – roughly a goal in every two games. His overall dynamic in terms of what he offers is quite unparalleled in the league, the hold up play and passing ability often under-appreciated. With Tottenham seeming to look like firm favorites for one of the European places, the English international will prove to be the difference for Spurs in the coming months.
Mahrez, has been phenomenal and his rise since the back end of 2014 is nothing short of meteoric. The attacking midfielder/winger has been a vital cog – orchestrating Leicester’s mightily effective attacking play – especially the partnership with Jamie Vardy has been one of the highlights of 2015/16 so far. The pair have scored 28 goals between them this season – 4 more than Manchester United and 6 more than Liverpool have managed this campaign. His ability to deliver in big games has shown time and again and will determine the visitors’ chances of doing a repeat of last season on Sunday.
Leicester City to shade this one. Only because of the fact that they will want to win this one more than the home side.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Leicester City