Two top four hopefuls coming off of midweek defeats meet when Tottenham Hotspur host Leicester City on Sunday (2.15pm, live on Sky Sports).
Both sides are currently positioned within the top four, with just a single point separating them ahead of this fixture. Tottenham are second on 25, while Leicester are fourth on 24. Things are still pretty bunched up at this stage but both have started the season well.
Spurs could even have come into the match as the league leaders had they not given up a late set-piece goal to lose 1-2 away to Liverpool on Wednesday. Their hosts dominated territory during the first half but Spurs still went in level at the interval after Son Heung-Min raced onto a Giovani Lo Celso through ball to equalise Liverpool’s heavily deflected opener.
Things were a bit different after the break with Spurs a little more proactive in seeking opportunities on the counter-attack. Steven Bergwijn hit the post when clean through on the goalkeeper, and Kane headed wide from close-range, only for Liverpool to then punish that miss by scoring in the final minute of play to take all three points.
It was a match of mixed emotions for Spurs and their head coach Jose Mourinho, who showed themselves capable of competing on a relatively even footing with the reigning champions even if the final result didn’t go their way. Given Spurs finished seven points back from even the top-four last season that is quite the improvement.
The underlying numbers suggest that Liverpool remain the favourites for the title but both results and metrics indicate that Spurs at least have a very good chance of returning to the Champions League next season. Most bookmakers now have them as a clearly odds-on fourth-favourite to do so.
Leicester may have picked up just a point less than Spurs to date, but the markets aren’t as high on their chances of making into the top four, even despite the fact that they only missed out by four points last time around. In the spread betting markets, they are currently predicted to finish the campaign with a full 10 points less, which would likely be good enough for somewhere between sixth and eighth.
That is perhaps in part because of the manner in which they collapsed during the second half of last season. In the first week of January, Leicester were second, with a bumper 45 points from 21 matches. They were 14 points clear of Manchester United in fifth. Thereafter, they picked up just 17 points from 17 matches, allowing United to overtake them down the final stretch and deny them a Champions League place.
It is also because despite strong results so far this season, including an impressive 5-2 win away to Manchester City, Leicester’s metrics have been average at best. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of substance behind the points they have put on the board, which casts doubt over their ability to maintain their current rate of accumulation. It is one that would see them finish with around 70 points or so if they were able to.
In fact, it has already begun to slow down somewhat. Brendan Rodgers’ side come into this fixture on the back of three defeats in their last four in the league, including a 0-2 reverse at home to Everton on Wednesday. A mistake from goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel allowed their visitors to take a first-half lead. The two teams then exchanged flurries of shots before a second Everton goal from a set-piece finished things off.
Rodgers described it as a frustrating result. He and his side may be in for some more frustration this weekend. Tottenham were 3-0 winners in last season’s equivalent fixture, with Harry Kane scoring twice, and have actually triumphed at home to Leicester in each of the last three campaigns. A repeat result looks the most likely outcome on Sunday. So this is the betting tip for our Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City preview:
- Bet on Tottenham Hotspur to win @ 11/10 with Betfair.
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