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Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Let’s try this again

Spurs travel to Leicester to make up an earlier match that was postponed after both experiencing postponements over the weekend.

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Seemingly half of Tottenham Hotspur’s fixtures since the start of December have ended up being postponed, but such is the nature of the Premier League right now given its (ahem) loose qualifications for clubs to petition for some accommodation. As a result, Spurs come into the week with 18 matches played, at least three fewer than everyone currently occupying the top four.

One previously postponed match was Tottenham’s trip to Leicester in December; the Foxes were burdened with Covid at the time and were unable to field a full squad. The Premier League moved that contest to this week, which looked perilously placed between derbies against Arsenal and Chelsea, but with the events of last weekend, Spurs enter a little more rested.

The same can be said for the home side, whose travels to Burnley were also called off. Matches between the two are typically exciting, but tough to know what to expect given all of the schedule disruptions and squad illnesses. Like always, this is an important chance for Tottenham to keep inching up the table.

Leicester City (10th, 25pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (6th, 33pts)

Date: Wednesday, January 19
Time: 2:30 pm ET, 7:30 pm UK
Location: King Power Stadium, Leicester, England
TV: USA Network (USA), BT Sport 2 (UK)

Spurs are squarely in fourth by points per match, but this is becoming a more and more dangerous metric to believe in as future fixture congestion looms. A win would be enough to jump Arsenal even with a match in hand, though, and that would surely feel good after the past weekend, plus a third time facing Chelsea this month cannot really be counted on for points.

The one benefit of more postponements is allowing some key figures to get healthy. Heung-Min Son is still a couple weeks away, but Eric Dier, Sergio Reguilon, and Cristian Romero could make appearances soon. Regardless, the way things have played out allows Antonio Conte to roll with his favorites on Wednesday without having to worry too much about rest.

It is difficult to gauge Leicester, who is not having a great year, but also has really just not played enough matches. The Foxes are 3-2-3 over their last eight contests across all competitions, but just one of those has happened in 2022. Two of those wins came against weak Newcastle and Watford sides, but there is also a surprise upset of Liverpool in there despite being pretty outplayed. This does not seem like a challenging team, but who knows.

Three themes

  1. Spurs are not necessarily in the greatest form either, though Conte is still unbeaten in the league. All eyes will be on how he sets up the front line, which likely will be Lucas Moura sitting just off Harry Kane. He has opted for a 3-4-3 on many occasions, however, which remains a possibility even without Son. Either way, Tottenham can find ways to score against one of the league’s shakiest defenses.
  2. For those who may have forgotten, Spurs had quite the triumph against Leicester on the final day of last season. Down 2-1 with just 15 minutes to go, Tottenham got an own goal to level it, then a late, late Gareth Bale brace grabbed the win, cementing a finish above Arsenal for the fifth-straight season and knocking the Foxes out of the top four. Leicester begins its Conference League campaign next month...
  3. Transfer rumors have been mostly quiet so far, so perhaps Steven Bergwijn will make a cameo on Wednesday. He and Matt Doherty are the two most likely to leave, but both could be in Conte’s plans as long as they are in London. Hopefully Giovanni Lo Celso is healthy enough to earn some starts as well, as he looks much likelier to work his way back into consistent minutes than Dele Alli or Tanguy Ndombele.