After writing unnecessary previews of both Burnley (snow) and Rennes (Covid), I have a little apprehension to post about another match that could very well be postponed, but at the moment it looks like Spurs are heading in the right direction playing for the first time in 11 days.
The whole situation is quite complex with pros and cons on both sides. Spurs will end up less crowded than expected during the usually busy holiday period, but that does mean crowding for matches in the future, regardless of European competition or not. This break may be seen as an advantage with a new manager, but the team will probably want to continue working in its last form. Of course, Covid makes all of this moot, as the virus has to be taken seriously and there was simply no responsible way to play Rennes or Brighton.
So, if Thursday goes on as planned, Spurs will technically have a winning streak of three consecutive league games, collecting 10 of 12 points with Antonio Conte at the helm, having edged out rivals 7-1. However, Leicester City will be the toughest opponent the coach will face, coming in just three points behind the visitors (despite playing more matches).
Leicester City (8, 22 points) vs Tottenham Hotspur (7, 25 points).
DateThursday, December 16th
time: 2:30pm ET, 7:30pm UK
Location: King Power Stadium, Leicester, England
Television: Peacock Premium (USA), BT Sport 3 (UK)
The table is going to look awkward for a while, as Spurs will have a couple of games on hand a little bit. While it is never safe to assume that they are victories, the truth is that this club is basically in the driver’s seat for fourth at the moment. To do that in the new year requires success against Leicester, and then finding something against Liverpool this weekend.
Under Conte, the attack has appeared, scoring multiple goals in each of the past three games and finally showing some real desire and cohesion, including his wingers and midfielders well. There is a great chance against the Foxes who are among the most leaked defenses in the league, having allowed no less than 2.0 xG in three of the last five.
On the flip side, the defense only allowed one goal in four matches and rested comfortably in three defenses. The loss of Christian Romero continues to hurt, but Ben Davies and Eric Dyer really benefited from the initial nods they got. Davinson Sanchez remains the one to watch, but perhaps his goal against Norwich will save him more time. Leicester have one of the best numbers on record in the league, so expect to play on both ends of the field.
- The bigger story will be Spurs’ fitness. It remains unclear exactly who has contracted Covid and who has recovered, so there could be some interesting squad decisions. With a big game on Sunday as well, Conte will need to juggle the pieces at his disposal. The depth of the team will definitely be tested over the next two weeks.
- Last season brought more memorable matches between the two clubs, as the fans expected. Leicester won 0-2 in north London, but it was Spurs who had the last laugh on the final day of the season. Spurs trailed 2-1 with just 15 minutes left in the match, Tottenham got an own goal to equalize, then two late goals snatched away the victory from Gareth Bale, cementing the finish above Arsenal for the fifth consecutive season and removing the hosts from the top four.
- As a result, Leicester settled for fifth place and participation in the European League. However, a tough campaign resulted in the Foxes dropping from the top two places in their group in the final round dropping them into the Conference League playoffs. Tottenham may also be involved at this stage depending on what UEFA decides.