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    Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City: Match Preview

    By Tom Regan

    Tottenham Hotspur host Leicester City in the Premier League on Wednesday night just three days after the sides drew 2-2 at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup.
    A scintillating cup tie saw Harry Kane level from the spot with just two minutes left when referee Bobby Madley awarded the home side a controversial penalty following Nathan Dyer’s handball.

    Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has transformed the club since his arrival in May 2014, and they have earned the right to be considered as title contenders based on current form.
    The former Southampton head coach has implemented a strong work ethic accompanied with an exciting brand of football. The north Londoners boast the youngest team in the league and with the approval of a new 61,000 seat stadium, the future looks promising.

    It is crucial that the club retain the services of their star players as in recent times they have sold the likes of Gareth Bale, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick and Luka Modric when the big clubs have come calling.
    The Foxes narrowly avoided relegation last term, and it was expected they were in for a difficult campaign, but against all odds they remain title contenders as they lie in 2nd place just two points behind current leaders Arsenal.

    There was much displeasure at the appointment of former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri who succeeded the controversial Nigel Pearson, but any negativity was soon replaced with optimism as Leicester made a phenomenal start.
    The Foxes have been in the top four for the best part of the season, and were even two points clear on December 5th. Jamie Vardy and Rihad Mahrez have led the way with 28 goals between them to date. Mahrez has chipped in with 10 assists which can only be bettered by Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil. Vardy broke Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s long-standing record when he scored in eleven consecutive Premier League games.

    There has been much speculation about the future of Ranieri’s stars, but the charismatic Italian has strongly indicated that no one will be leaving during the January transfer window.
    Team News

    Tottenham will be without Mousa Dembele as the midfielder recovers from a foot problem. His injury was an untimely blow as the Belgian international was putting in some fantastic performances when not long ago it looked as if he was on his way out of the club.
    Ryan Mason remains out with a knee problem that could sideline the midfielder for around a month. Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela and Harry Kane are expected to come back into the starting XI.

    Jamie Vardy may be available after undergoing minor groin surgery just a week ago. Shinji Okazaki is pushing for a start following a strong performance in the FA Cup. The Japanese goal machine was unleashed at half time and made an immediate impact as he scored Leicester’s second goal just minutes after coming on.
    Skipper Wes Morgan, Stephen Drinkwater, Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton should all come back into the fold on Wednesday night.

    Match Facts
    - Spurs are unbeaten in their last five Premier League meetings with Leicester (W3 D2).

    - The last nine league meetings between these two clubs have produced 38 goals (4.2 per   game on average).

    - After scoring in 18 successive Premier League matches, the Foxes have now failed to score in their last three games in the competition.

    - N'Golo Kanté has made the most tackles (79) and interceptions (81) in the Premier League so far this season.

    Betting Odds (bet365)
    Tottenham: 3/4
    Draw: 14/5
    Leicester: 17/4

    Match Prediction
    This is set to be another fascinating encounter. I feel it’s a game that Pochettino’s side simply cannot afford to lose if they are to still be touted as title contenders. The north Londoners are six points behind bitter rivals Arsenal, so a loss could see them fall nine behind the top if Arsene Wenger’s side pick up a win at Liverpool.

    The Lilywhites have only tasted defeat once at home in the Premier League this term, coming against Steve McClaren’s Newcastle United on December 13th.
    Ranieri’s side had won their previous four away games prior to the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League, scoring exactly three goals in each of those games and keeping two clean sheets along the way.

    Tottenham hold the best defensive record in the league, but they will have to be at their absolute best if they are to nullify the Leicester City attack. Although initially tempted by a score draw, I am going to throw my neck out and go with a hard fought Spurs win but by the slimmest of margins.
    Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Leicester City (8/1 with bet365)
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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