With just the final gameweek to go, last year’s fairytale winners Leicester City FC will welcome Tottenham to their stadium to play the postponed match from round 34 this Thursday night. With Tottenham guaranteed of the fact that they will finish second in the English Premier league no matter what the results are, they very well might be having a feeling of a task left half done.
For the second season running, Spurs managed to put up a title challenge, only to falter in the last stage. For Leicester, this match provides a chance to rise up in the league ranking to 8th, and with the comparatively poor season that the defending champions have had this season, it is only expected of the players to give their best against a top team so that the fans have something more to cheer about, after seeing their team recover from a horrendous first half of the season to finish in the mid-table.
LEICESTER CITY FC vs. TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS
3-Way: 1: Leicester City FC +359; X: +290 Draw; 2: Tottenham Hotspurs +100
Spread +0.5: Leicester City +106; Tottenham Hotspurs -110
Total +2.5: Over -132; Under +129
LEICESTER CITY FC
Last year was a truly unforgettable one for anybody associated with the club, as the Foxes defied all odds to claim the English Premier League trophy. Almost everyone knew that the big clubs would rally again and Leicester will not win the league again, very few expected the start that they had.
Their quick attacking play and strong, compact defensive astuteness was replaced by an unimpressive build up play and a porous defense. Many pointed fingers towards the fact that the team has lost the balance due to the sale of Midfield general Kante, but a sale of just one player cannot be the reason for a horrific run of games. After the fan favorite Ranieri was sacked as manager, the players started to put in better performances, which led to the wrath of the fans with rising suspicion. With the anger gone, the club can look forward to finishing the season on a decent note with a top half finish, if they manage to win Thursday’s game.
With a recent upturn in performances, the Foxes have managed to oversee a better run of performances in the second half of the season. They have accumulated 43 points this season, as they currently sit on the 11th position in the English Premier League. 33 of those points have come at home, which signals towards a poor form at the road. The Foxes’ current league record over the last 5 matches is 2-1-2. Their last match was an agonizing defeat away to Manchester city; 2:1. This was after the Foxes demolished Watford at home by 3:0. Impressively, Leicester has won their last 5 home league games.
As they swept away oppositions last season with their rapid counter attacking and set piece brilliance, it is clear to see that their ability to start counters has been very poor mainly due to the absence of N’Golo Kante. They have scored 46 goals in the league, with 29 of those coming at home. Just like the ability to attack, even their defense has felt the absence of the diminutive Frenchman in front of them as the Foxes have conceded goals on a regular basis this year. They have conceded 56 goals, with 18 of them being at home, which signals that they still have been a bit resolute at home when it comes to preventing goals.
English striker Jamie Vardy, like most of his teammates, has seen a considerable surge in form after the turn of the year. He has scored 12 goals till now, which is still a far cry from the 20+ goals he scored last season. He has also contributed with 5 assists in the league. Following him, is summer signing Islam Slimani. The Algerian striker has managed to score 7 goals and provide 3 assists in his debut premier league season. Kasper Schmeichel has managed to keep 8 clean sheets in goal.
The Foxes will miss Danny Drinkwater, Nampalys Mendy and Molla Wague for rest of the season due to injuries. Wes Morgan , Robert Huth and Andy King are all major doubts for the match due to their status from injury recoveries yet to be confirmed.
The sense of Déjà vu is probably too strong for the Spurs team and supporters, as yet another strong English Premier league title challenge falters yet again towards the end of the season. However, one has to appreciate the team that Coach Mauricio Pochettino has assembled. The current team is a perfect blend of experience, and young enthusiasm. Their strong play at all the positions of the field has blown away opponents. Now the club must look to end their season on a strong note and prepare for another title challenge, as well as an improved performance in the European Competition next season.
Sitting at 2nd spot of the English Premier League table, Tottenham has collected 80 points, with two games to go. No matter what the results are, they will finish second in the league table. 53 of those points have been at home matches. The league record of the last 8 games is 7-0-1. The most impressive stat about this team is that they have been undefeated at home this season. After the disappointment at West ham two weeks ago, where they lost 1:0 and lost all hope of the title, they bounced back and defeated Manchester United with 2:1 in the last match at the White Hart Lane, and now they are assured of finishing 2nd in the league.
Spurs have been very attractive when it comes to attacking, with fast approach play, resulting in 73 goals with only 4 teams scoring more. 47 of those goals have been at White Hart Lane. Apart from the attack, Spurs have the best defense in the league, as they have conceded only 24 goals. Just 9 of those goals have been conceded at home. They have managed to keep an impressive 17 clean sheets, the most in the league.
English Youngster Harry Kane has defied the critics time and again. Even after two injury spells this season, the striker has managed to score 22 goals this season, as well as 6 assists, showing his ball round attacking play. Only Lukaku has scored more than him. Young midfielder Dele Alli is close behind, with 17 goals and 5 assists to his name. Captain Hugo Lloris is the second best keeper in the league, with 15 clean sheets to his name.
Spurs will miss Erik Lamela, youngster Harry winks, and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers for the season. They do not have any other injury concerns.
LEICESTER CITY FC vs. TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS MATCH PREDICTION
This match-up has all the aspects of a cracking tie. Leicester are a lot more like their former self, scoring and attacking with intense speed and precision. But visitors Tottenham are in their own right to fancy their chances, as they have been one of the best in the league in all departments, be it attacking or defending.
The game will be won and lost in the midfield, where I feel that visitors will be the one with the upper hand because of strong dynamic players when compared to Leicester.
The hosts have secured the English Premier League status for the next season and the visitors cant go up or down from the 2nd spot on the table, which is why I think that both teams will play more offensively. Therefore I expect goals on both sides of the pitch and I am hoping for the over as well!!!
MY PICK: Over 2.5 goals (-132)
Additional Pick: Both teams to score (-142)
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