In what’s arguably the tie of the third round, Leicester City will make the trip to White Hart Lane to take to take on Mauricio Pochettino’s red-hot Tottenham side in the FA Cup.
Can Claudio Ranieri’s brave Foxes dump Tottenham out of the world’s oldest cup competition or will Spurs’ excellent run of form continue when the two sides meet on Sunday afternoon?
To Win Match
Spurs have been magnificent under Mauricio Pochettino so far this season and look as though they’re on course to finally secure a place in the Champions League. Although their squad is relatively small when compared to some of the League’s bigger sides, it hasn’t stopped them mixing it up atop the Premier League pile.
While they’ve been good in the league, Pochettino may well go for broke in the FA Cup – the one competition that offers the Lilly Whites a shot at ending a trophy drought that’s lasted almost eight years, and they may just have a squad that’s capable of going all the way to Wembley this year.
Spurs come into this third round tie in scintillating form having only lost one of their last six games – that defeat coming against Newcastle United in the league in the middle of December. Since then they’ve gone on to record solid victories against Southampton, Norwich and Watford. They played out an entertaining 1-1 draw last time out at Goodison Park in which Dele Ali scored a world-class volley to level the game after former Spurs flyer, Aaron Lennon, had given the hosts the lead.
Tottenham have relatively few injury concerns heading into this fixture with Moussa Dembele and Clinton N’jie the only first team players out with injury. I can’t really see Spurs fielding a weakened side for this game so we could well see a number of their big guns walking out at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Harry Kane will likely be a key figure if he does crack the nod. The England international, who endured a bit of a lean run at the beginning of the season, has come into form again, scoring 11 league goals so far this season. Dele Ali should also make it into the run-on XI this weekend. The young English midfielder who joined Spurs for five million Pounds in February 2015 has been nothing short of sensational this season.
Alli is an absolute nightmare to defend against as he constantly looks to position himself between the opposition midfield and defence. This makes it difficult for opposing players to pick him up in open play. He loves the ball at his feet and possesses a massive array of tricks, making him almost impossible to dispossess in a one-on-one situation. Keep an eye on him this weekend, he could well make the difference
After their breakneck start to 2015/16 Premier League season, Leicester have just begun to show a signs that the bubble may be about to burst. The Foxes have failed to pick up a league win in their last three attempts – although two of those games were against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Jamie Vardy – the league’s top scorer this season – will be the most notable absentee when they two sides take to the pitch on Sunday afternoon. The striker has managed an incredible 15 goals so far this season and sits joint top of the scorers’ charts this season along with Romelu Lukaku on 15 goals each.
Leicester will look to get Riyad Mahrez on the ball as much as they can on Sunday. His pace, guile and seemingly, endless bag of tricks could well cause Spurs’ attack-minded full-backs all sorts of problems. Neither Danny Rose nor Kyle Walker are particularly good defenders and will struggle to keep the Algerian quiet if he decides to turn it on.
Shinji Okazaki will likely lead the line in Vardy’s absence. While he’s nowhere near as prolific as his English teammate, he does provide a significant threat going forward. The tenacious little Japanese striker has a proven track-record in Germany playing for Mainz and Stuttgart; in the process becoming the most prolific Japanese player to have ever graced the Bundesliga.
Another key man in Leicester’s push for a top four position is the baby-faced N’Golo Kante. Kante, who arrived at the KP Stadium from Caen for 5.6 Pounds last summer has taken to the Premier League like a fish to water. He has been the instrumental in the middle of the park this season for the Foxes, covering every blade of grass on the pitch. His inclusion in the side has also freed up yet another unsung hero, Danny Drinkwater to pull the strings in the middle of the park.
Verdict: Tottenham 13/20
Although Leicester City have been superb this season, they’re just showing signs of letting up a bit. They haven’t managed a goal in three games, and with Jamie Vardy absent I don’t see that trend changing. Spurs, on the other hand, have been fantastic this season and only look to be getting stronger. Back them to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup this Sunday.