Come the homestretch of last season, there were only really two teams that were competing for the Premier League crown: Tottenham and Leicester City. As we all know, the Foxes took that honor and somehow Spurs ended up finishing third behind arch-rival Arsenal. This weekend, we’ll get to see Tottenham and Leicester square off again at White Hart Lane. Things have been going very differently for the two sides this season with Spurs finding themselves in fifth, just one point off the league lead to be fair, and Leicester sitting all the way down in 12th after just three wins through nine fixtures. Can Claudio Ranieri’s side rediscover last year’s form and spell the demise of Tottenham one more time?
Starting off with Leicester, the reigning champions have been wildly inconsistent in the league. In their last five matches, they’ve won just twice. In those wins, they destroyed Burnley 3-0 and Crystal Palace 3-1. On the other hand, also included in that five-game span are two losses to Manchester United (4-1) and Chelsea (3-0). The Foxes have struggled to show up against the league’s “big” teams, and have yet to register more than a draw against any team that finished in the top half of the table last season. This inability to show up in the big games is going to seriously hinder Leicester’s ability to compete for a spot in the top six, and it could yield yet another horrendous result when they travel to North London on Saturday.
One man that really needs to step up his game if Leicester are going to compete anywhere close to the level they were at last season is Jamie Vardy. So far this campaign, the 29-year-old has scored just two league goals. You have to go all the way back to September 10th to see the last time he found the back of the net. By this time last season, the Vardy Party was in full effect as the striker bagged nine goals through the opening nine matches. His lethal touch just doesn’t seem to be there this season, and somehow he’s still the joint-top scorer for the Foxes alongside Islam Slimani. In the three times Vardy faced off against Tottenham last season, he scored a whopping zero goals. Can he end that scoreless streak this weekend?
Switching over to Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino’s squad have also fallen on hard times, as of late. Through all competitions, Spurs are winless in their last four matches. However, they are still undefeated in Premier League play. In that four-match span, they’ve drawn against West Brom, Bournemouth and Bayer Leverkusen (Champions League), and then they were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Liverpool midweek. A major issue during this winless drought is Tottenham’s ability to find the back of the net. Leverkusen and Bournemouth both kept clean sheets against them, and West Brom and Liverpool only allowed a single goal. Out of the top five teams in the league, Spurs have the worst offensive production by far. Through nine matches, the North London club have found the back of the net just 13 times (six fewer than any other top five club), and four of those came against Stoke City. Similarly, to Leicester, Tottenham are going to need to rediscover their attacking form is they want to take all three points this weekend.
For the hosts, the player I want to focus on is defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama. The 25-year-old came to White Hart Lane over the summer in an £11 mil deal. So far, he’s made that price tag look like an absolute bargain. His speed and strength in defensive midfield has impressed me, and I think that he has more than enough ability to extinguish any build up play Leicester will attempt on Saturday. If the Foxes still had N’Golo Kanté, I think they could go toe-to-toe with Wanyama, but without him, there’s nobody that can match his strength box-to-box.
If it wasn’t clear throughout the post, I definitely favor Tottenham going into this match. Spurs have only dropped points once at home this season, and with Leicester’s abysmal league form, I don’t see that happening again. Final Score: Tottenham 1-0 Leicester