The King Power Stadium will host a battle between two teams who’s fans feel are underachieving so far when Leicester City take on Tottenham Hotspur in the traditional Boxing Day fixture. Foxes ‘keeper Kasper Schmeichel will miss the match; still recovering from a broken foot. Spurs will hope the injury that forced Ryan Mason off against Burnley isn’t serious enough to keep him out of the squad.
The City 4-5-1 formation that looked so encouraging against Manchester City will likely be persisted with despite a poor performance in the Blues’ most recent outing – a loss to in-form West Ham. Leicester fans will be waiting to see who makes up their back four, with ever-mounting criticism of Paul Konchesky causing some to call for a return to left-back for Ghanaian international Jeffrey Schlupp. Up front, top scorer Leonardo Ulloa could be recalled in an effort to increase the side’s goal threat. Jamie Vardy has created chances with his pace but has looked isolated and lacks the physical prowess to bring other players into the game regularly.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team go into the game on good form. Thirteen points from their last six games have seen them climb to seventh in the table and they’ll be targeting another three points in this fixture. They have earned a reputation for scoring late winners away from home but will, in truth, expect to convincingly beat a horrendously out of form Leicester team.
Spurs may field an unchanged line-up from their win against Burnley, with injury perhaps forcing the only change.
Walker – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Bentaleb – Stambouli
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Former Foxes loanee Harry Kane has been in destructive form recently, seeing him score 13 goals in all competitions already this season. However, I still feel Tottenham’s most dangerous player is midfielder Christian Eriksen. He has looked inspired all season and has picked up six goals and an assist while maintaining an 83.5% pass success in the Premier League. He has the ability to create a chance from nothing with his quick feet and is extremely effective from dead ball situations. Leicester should look to close down the Dane and prevent him from finding the space he needs to control the game.
How to beat them:
While they are dangerous offensively, most of Spurs’ fans would agree they are far from solid at the back. At home, Leicester should look to attack and try to take the game to them. Matching their five in midfield will be seen as vital or the quality the opposition have in the middle of the park could overrun a Leicester side lacking in confidence. Putting constant pressure on a shaky defence may lead to mistakes and chances, but it’s imperative that whichever forwards start put away the opportunities presented.
Unfortunately, I cannot see how Leicester will win this one. I expect a fairly high scoring match with the visitors eventually coming out on top. Spurs do not know when they are beaten and will inevitably grind Leicester down, who’s growing lack of confidence could see them sit deep and invite pressure they cannot take at points in the game.
Leicester 1 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur
Leonardo Ulloa – Harry Kane (2), Christian Eriksen