Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Can Craig Shakespeare secure Foxes job with another home win?

Second-placed Spurs head to the King Power Stadium looking to end Craig Shakespeare’s unbeaten record at home.

Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Can Craig Shakespeare secure Foxes job with another home win?
Can former title rivals Leicester City or Tottenham Hotspur earn the three points in the penultimate game of the season? | Photo: Getty/ Clive Rose

Leicester City welcome Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur to the King Power Stadium on Thursday night.

Currently sitting in 11th position in the Premier League, the outgoing champions are hoping to secure a top-10 finish against a Spurs side that have already guaranteed second.

The Londonders hopes of a first title were crushed last week as Chelsea stormed to the championship with a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion. However, they will hope to react against a Leicester City side who have been exemplary at home in recent months.

Could home advantage count?

With Craig Shakespeare taking over the team in February following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes have enjoyed their time at the King Power Stadium.

Since the 27th of February, the East-Midlanders have earnt wins against the likes of Liverpool, Hull City, Stoke, Sunderland and Watford, not to mention a fantastic 2-0 victory over Sevilla in the last-16 of the UEFA Champions.

A credible 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid also makes Shakespeare’s record look even more impressive.

Tottenham though have been strong away from home this season. The team’s only losses away from White Hart Lane have been at the hands of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham United.

As a matter of fact, Spurs have a relatively positive record when travelling to the East Midlands. They have only lost twice in the last 15 years – the most infamous being a 3-2 defeat to the Foxes in the FA Cup Third Round in 2006.

Heung-Min Son fires home in Tottenham's 2-0 win over Leicester in the FA Cup Third Round reply last season | Photo: Getty/ Plumb Images
Heung-Min Son fires home in Tottenham's 2-0 win over Leicester in the FA Cup Third Round reply last season | Photo: Getty/ Plumb Images

Dominant Tottenham

Spurs also hold a strong advantage over Leicester in the all-time stakes. The two teams have clashed 107 times in the past, with Tottenham claiming victory on 52 occasions in all competitions. The Foxes lag behind somewhat with only 34 wins to their name.

In fact, the 2015/16 champions have not managed to keep a clean sheet against Tottenham Hotspur in nearly 20 years. The last time that the Lilywhites did not score when travelling to the East Midlands was in September 1997 as Leicester strode to a 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Steve Walsh, Steve Guppy and Emile Heskey.

In recent times though, it has been difficult to separate the two. Of the past five clashes, four have ended in draws, including the 1-1 stalemate in the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane earlier this season.

The two teams also battled to a 1-1 draw in the same fixture last season. Dele Alli opened the scoring with his first goal for Tottenham since his move from MK Dons, only to see Riyad Mahrez equalise minutes later.

This time, Tottenham travel to the King Power Stadium off the back of an emotional final game at home. Harry Kane and Victor Wanyama both scored as Pochettino’s troops fought to a 2-1 victory over Manchester United – the 24th victory of what has been an excellent campaign, albeit one that has eventually ended in disappointment.

Injury troubles hampering both

For what will be the penultimate game of Leicester City’s tumultuous title defence, Craig Shakespeare is looking like using a depleted squad. Numerous first-team players will have to miss out through injury.

Long-term absentees Nampalys Mendy and Molla Wague remain out and are joined by the likes of Wes Morgan, Danny Drinkwater and Robert Huth, who all missed out on the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend. Midfielder Andy King is also consigned to the treatment table after sustaining a hamstring problem against the Citizens.

It seems likely that Christian Fuchs will again line-up at centre-back following Huth’s injury. Versatile Ghanaian Daniel Amartey could be called into the centre of the park.

Elsewhere, Tottenham also have their own injury worries to deal with. Defensive duo Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier will both be unable to play a part due to an ankle knock and concussion respectively. Argentine winger Erik Lamela also remains out after having a hip operation.

One player that the Foxes will have to keep an eye on ex-striker Harry Kane. The Englishman has scored five goals in eight appearances against his former side.

Harry Kane was on loan at the King Power Stadium during the 2012/13 season | Photo: Getty/ Joe Giddens - EMPICS
Harry Kane was on loan at the King Power Stadium during the 2012/13 season | Photo: Getty/ Joe Giddens - EMPICS

Predicted Line-ups

Leicester City – Schmeichel; Simpson, Benalouane, Fuchs, Chilwell; Albrighton, Amartey, N’didi, Gray; Okazaki, Vardy.

Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris; Vertonghen, Dier, Alderweireld; Wanyama, Sissoko, Dembele, Eriksen; Alli, Son, Kane.


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