While last year’s late-season collapse will have hurt Tottenham, the experience of a title tilt holds Mauricio Pochettino’s young side in good stead going forward, and they could go top of the table this weekend with victory over strugglers Leicester City.
As many predicted, the Foxes have failed to replicate the incredible form which saw them upset those 5000/1 odds and lift the title last season, while Spurs look a very strong prospect.
Here’s how Tottenham’s quality should make victory at White Hart Lane a home banker…
Wide men cutting inside
Tottenham’s wide men caused untold problems for Manchester City’s backline in the Lilywhites’ last home league game, with Dele Alli laying off balls for Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko to cut inside.
The latter has been reinvigorated on the right-flank at Spurs, but as a natural central midfielder, he’s cut inside to great effect, while Lamela’s pace allows him to skin full-backs on the other flank, and get into the box himself.
With Leicester possessing an ageing backline – three of last game’s back four were the wrong side of 30 – they’re likely to be exploited by the pace and trickery of Tottenham’s wide men, who can also finish the chances they create.
Lamela has already found the net twice this season, so the 13/2 for him to net first against the Foxes’ lumbering defence looks like excellent value.
Exploit Leicester’s set-piece woes
Despite their apparent aerial dominance last season, set-pieces have been a weak-point for the Foxes this season. As well as conceding from three corners in the first-half of their 4-1 drubbing at Manchester United, they gifted Chelsea one from another corner in their last away game.
Some have suggested the ‘no grappling’ rule is to blame for their sudden set-piece flimsiness, but whatever the reason, the inch-perfect deliveries of Christian Eriksen and heading ability of Vincent Janssen and Eric Dier can cause untold problems for their visitors.
With a disorganised Leicester having shipped from multiple set-pieces during the first half at Old Trafford, the 15/2 for Spurs to be 2-0 up at half-time could be an inspired bet.
Defend deep against pace
For all of Leicester’s attributes last season, their most dangerous weapon was – and is – pace. That means Tottenham need to defend deep to stop the likes of Vardy and Mahrez darting in behind.
That’s something Pochettino’s charges have done well in recent weeks, chalking up clean sheets against Bournemouth and Bayer Leverkusen, with the likes of Callum Wilson, Joshua King and Stefan Kiessling unable to get a clear run on goal even once.
They did that by keeping at least one man deep at all times to stop the opposition’s pacy players from breaking the offside trap, and taking the same approach again will likely nullify Leicester’s threat – meaning Tottenham to win to nil appears a savvy selection at 7/4.
In the match betting, Tottenham are 8/13 favourites for victory, with Leicester 9/2 for victory and the draw on at 3/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing