Tottenham vs. Leicester City
Venue: Tottenham Stadium
Kick off: 3:15PM
Third faces fourth in Tottenham Hotspur’s second top-of-the-table tussle in four days when Spurs welcome Leicester City to North London this afternoon.
Just one point separates the two sides in the standings, but they are both coming into the game off the back of disappointing midweek defeats to Merseyside opposition.
If, at the start of the season, you had offered either of these clubs their current position heading into Christmas, they would have no doubt bitten your hand off.
Both Spurs and Leicester will be heading into this top-four showdown off the back of disheartening defeats, though, and with only five points separating second from 10th, another loss here could easily see them surrender their lofty positions.
Tottenham’s was the most gutting of the defeats as they fell to a stoppage-time Roberto Firmino header at Anfield, having soaked up pressure and then squandered two or three glorious chances to complete a Jose Mourinho smash-and-grab at the home of the champions.
Even so, their current tally of 25 points from 13 games is eight more than they had at the same stage of last season, and they have every reason to be confident of a swift return to winning ways this weekend.
The defeat at Anfield was their first in the league since the opening day of the season, and in that time they have recorded big wins over Southampton, Manchester United and Manchester City – all of whom sit in the top half like Leicester.
Mourinho’s men have also won their last six home games, conceding just once in the process and are unbeaten in 10 across all competitions on their own patch, scoring 27 goals in that time.
In the league alone Spurs have only lost one of their last 11 home outings – a vast improvement on a record of three defeats in their first eight such matches under Mourinho.
However, part of the intrigue surrounding this match lies in the fact that Leicester are also fast improving away from home; they picked up just six points from their first nine away games of 2020, winning only once, but so far this term they have won five of their six such outings.
Indeed, only Manchester United have amassed more points on their travels in 2020-21, which is in stark contrast to an underwhelming record at the King Power Stadium.
Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat to Everton was their fourth home loss of the campaign – already as many as they suffered in the whole of 2019-20.
The Foxes may prefer for this game to be at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium instead of the King Power, then, and Spurs will be wary of a side that has already picked up some notable victories on the road this season.
Brendan Rodgers’s side have hit five past Manchester City, four past Leeds United and also beaten Arsenal among their away victories, while their only defeat has come at champions Liverpool.
Leicester have also been prone to the odd slip-up too, though, and their place in the top four comes in spite of three defeats in their last five league games.
Recent history suggests that another defeat may be forthcoming too, with Leicester having only won one of their last nine Premier League away games against Tottenham – winning 1-0 at White Hart Lane in their title-winning campaign.
Rodgers himself has never got the better of Mourinho in seven previous meetings either, which is his longest winless run against any manager.
Tottenham Hotspur possible XI: Lloris, Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon, Sissoko, Hojbjerg, Lucas, Ndombele, Son, Kane.
Leicester City possible XI: Schmeichel, Fofana, Evans, Fuchs, Castagne, Ndidi, Tielemans, Justin, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.