Leicester are as hard a team to read as any.
Their last five games have been instructive in that sense. Two wins and three draws puts them on the cusp of their longest undefeated run since the heady days of Claudio Ranieri, Andrea Bocelli and Jamie Vardy.
Vardy remains of course, but the Fox’s title winning charge in 2016 feels a long distant memory. Dropping points at home Burnley and away to bottom side Fulham in recent games serves as evidence of Leicester’s vulnerability.
However their most recent home game will give Leicester fans and backers a sense of hope against Spurs at least. Watford rocked up to the King Power Stadium as a bona fide top ten side, they left on the receiving end of a 2-0 defeat.
Entirely absent from Claude Puel’s 2018/19 resumé is a win over a top six side.
Spurs arrive at Leicester in what can only be described as a state of near permanent stasis.
It’s not a bad state to be in when it means Premier League top four and a likely hard-luck story in the Champions League.
Tottenham fans will not feel that sense of appreciation, with their side 11 points (with a game in hand to be fair) and a lot of performance away from pace setting Manchester City.
A 4-2 defeat in that thrilling North London derby against Arsenal undid the excellent work done in dispatching Chelsea in the previous fixture.
A point of consolation for Pochettino’s side is their dropped points have only come against the league’s leading sides. A week four defeat to Watford being the exception to the rule here. Last time out they disposed of Southampton with minimum fuss 3-1.
As mentioned, Leicester have been both hot and cold at the King Power this season.
Convincing in their last home game against Watford, disconcertingly poor in drawing against both Burnley and West Ham and losing to Everton in their three previous home games.
Spurs have a healthy away record, particularly in recent games. Wins at Molineaux against Wolves, at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace, and at the City of London Stadium against West Ham were encouraging.
Their second half collapse against Arsenal at the Emirates was not.
In terms of the sides’ head to head record, there’s plenty to take in since their 2014 meeting at the King Power.
There’s been 11 games including that and Leicester have lost five, won three, drawn three. In those 11 games there’s been a rather daft total of 43 goals. That’s an average of 3.9 per game. Highlights include last season’s nine goal melee at Wembley and Spurs’ 6-1 win at the King Power.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 7, 2018
One interesting angle looking at this game is the Half-Time/Full-Time or first half/second half performances of each side.
When at home, Leicester are failing to take the lead in their games. In just 14 per cent or twice in seven have they taken the initiative.
Contrast this with Tottenham’s away record of scoring first in 77 per cent or seven in nine games has them well set for the first half against Leicester City.
If the Foxe’s start slow again this weekend it could be a long day’s work for them.
Leicester will be without Jamie Vardy who is suffering from a groin injury. Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans, and Rachid Ghezzal should be available after missing out though injury recently.
CP: “Harry [Maguire] has come back in the training sessions this week. I think he’ll be in the squad on Saturday. [Jonny] Evans had a pain but now he’s available. Jamie [Vardy] will not be available."#LeiTot
— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 7, 2018
Spurs will have to do without Kieran Trippier and Juan Foyth, both injured. Jan Vertonghen returns from suspension.
Simply based on the weight of recent history, looking at the total goal markets is a must here.
3.5 Goals – Over
While Leicester surely have the firepower and capability to threaten Spurs, they’re an unattractive proposition when facing the league leading lights. A slow start should be terminal for them.
Tottenham have been mostly impressive on the road this season, and while a win here would be one of their best on the road, they will be expecting to leave with three points.
Spurs to continue their habit of starting games fast and see it out to the final whistle
Half-Time/Full-Time – Tottenham/Tottenham