On January 13th, Leicester City travel to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham in what could prove to be a huge game in the race for the Champions League. With only four points separating the two teams, this match could prove to be one that people look back on as the decider in where they finish. After topping the table for four consecutive match days, Leicester have fallen to second and have been held scoreless in their last three matches. Spurs have been hovering around the Champions League places for most of the season, being between fifth and third for all of the last 10 matchdays. These two teams look like they’ll be in a battle for the Champions League spots, and they’ll both be looking to grab the upperhand in that battle with a win.
Both these teams have remained relatively injury free so far this season, but will each be without one of their starters. Spurs will be missing Moussa Dembele as he recovers from an ankle injury. They’ll also be without Ryan Mason, Alex Pritchard, and Clinton N’Jie.
The Foxes will likely be without their star striker Jaime Vardy after he had his minor groin surgery. Along with Vardy, they’ll also be without the services of Jeffrey Schlupp and Matty James.
The two teams are fresh off facing each other in the FA Cup where they drew 2-2 after a late Harry Kane penalty. The two sides also drew 1-1 back in August when they faced off at the King Power Stadium with goals from Dele Alli and Riyad Mahrez. Leicester have the best away record in the Premier League with 21 points from a possible 30. Tottenham have only lost twice this year, but they have drawn a league high nine times. While Leicester have the second best attack in the league with 37 goals scored, their opponents have the best defense conceding a league low 16 goals in 20 games. Leicester are winless in their last five league games against Spurs.
Tottenham: Eric Dier
Leicester’s key to success this season has been lots of direct, quick counter attacks. Tottenham’s has been their high pressing and ability to control games. Eventually, the Foxes will be able to break Spurs press and when that happens they’ll need Eric Dier to help protect that back four and stop the counter attacks. Of all the impressive young players at Tottenham, Eric Dier may be the most important one, after Harry Kane. The difference between him this year and Ryan Mason this year has been staggering and a big reason why Spurs are where they are. If he can help Spurs control the space on counter attacks, it will go a long way to Spurs winning this match.
Leicester City: Riyad Mahrez
Without Jamie Vardy, Rihad Mahrez is going to have to take even more responsibility than he normally does for Leicester. The Foxes have been somewhat of a two man attack with Vardy racking up 15 goals and Mahrez bagging 13 goals and nine assists. Without the Englishman, Claudio Ranieri will be missing a big cog in his attack. He’ll need his Algerian winger to put in a big time performance if they want to break down a strong Tottenham team.
This contest will likely come down to the smallest of margins. So far these two teams have been very evenly matched both when they face each other head to head and in the overall league table. It’s tough to split these team, but Spurs get the slight edge since Jamie Vardy is likely to miss out.
Prediction: 2-1 Tottenham