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Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City

Sports Mole provides the lowdown ahead of Wednesday night's Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City.

Three days after they shared four goals in the FA Cup third round, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City meet again at White Hart Lane in the Premier League on Wednesday.

A win for the home side would move them within a point of the Foxes, who could return to the top if they triumph in this top-four contest.


Spurs

Christian Eriksen celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Cup third-round match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at White Hart Lane on January 10, 2016© Getty Images

An early Christian Eriksen strike gave Spurs the perfect start on Sunday, but they needed a late penalty from star striker Harry Kane to force a replay and stay in the FA Cup, a competition they have not won for 25 years.

Kane's successful conversion from 12 yards means that he now has 50 goals for the North London side in all competitions, 32 of which have come in just 14 months of Premier League football.

The 22-year-old is expected to be a key figure for England at Euro 2016 later this year and another young Spurs player likely to feature is Dele Alli, who has been in the news this week after signing a new long-term contract at White Hart Lane.

Alli scored his first-ever Premier League goal against Leicester in the 1-1 draw between the sides in August and the 19-year-old has been in superb form of late, netting three further top-flight goals and setting up another three in his last seven league appearances.

One of those goals was the brilliantly-taken equaliser which earned Spurs a point at Everton in their last league match 10 days ago.

That results means that Spurs have lost just two of their 20 Premier League matches this season. It is only the fourth time in their history that they have lost as few matches by this stage and on the previous three occasions they went on to win the league title (Division Two in 1920 and 1950, Division One in 1961).

Recent Premier League form: DLWWWD
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWDD


Leicester

Shinji Okazaki of Leicester City celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on January 10, 2016© Getty Images

The Foxes won 2-1 at Spurs in the FA Cup last season and it looked like that would be the scoreline again until the controversial late penalty which Kane stuck away.

Claudio Ranieri would have been gutted to miss out on a guaranteed place in the fourth round, but at least Leicester were back scoring. They had gone three games without a goal having scored in their first 17 Premier League matches of the season.

Another positive note was Demarai Gray making his debut after joining the club from Birmingham City, and the young winger set up the visitors' first by curling over a corner that Marcin Wasilewski headed home.

Leicester's recent struggles in the league have seen them manage just two points out of a possible nine, but they are still second, only two points behind Arsenal, and a point tonight would see them equal their tally from last season.

Although Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have gone cold in front of goal since Christmas, N'Golo Kante continues to impress in midfield and he has made the most tackles (79) and interceptions (81) in the Premier League so far this season.

Recent Premier League form: WWWLDD
Recent form (all competitions): WWLDDD


Team News

Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mates Tom Carroll and Harry Kane during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur at The King Power Stadium on August 22, 2015© Getty Images

Man of the moment Alli is one of several Spurs regulars that will return as Pochettino reverts to his favoured league XI, with Kane a certain starter in attack after his rescue act on Sunday.

The only change from the draw at Everton might be in central midfield if Moussa Dembele is fit to return and take Tom Carroll's place.

Despite drawing three straight blanks, Leicester still have the league's joint-top scorer in Jamie Vardy and he is expected to start after undergoing minor groin surgery which saw him miss the cup tie on Sunday.

Ranieri must choose who will partner Vardy in attack, and Okazaki could get the nod ahead of Leonardo Ulloa following his goal at White Hart Lane at the weekend. Out wide, Gray is likely to drop back to the bench as Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton return.

Spurs possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Carroll; Eriksen, Alli, Lamela; Kane

Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Kante, Drinkwater, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy


Head To Head

These two sides are used to facing each other - next week's FA Cup replay will be the seventh time that they have met in the last two seasons.

Spurs are unbeaten in the last five contests, with the reverse league tie finishing all square as Mahrez hit back for Leicester just a minute after Alli had scored his first Spurs goal to seemingly give Spurs the win late on.

At White Hart Lane, the last two league matches between the sides have produced 15 goals: a 4-3 win to Tottenham last season - in which Kane scored a hat-trick - and a 4-4 draw back in 2004.


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We say: Spurs 3-1 Leicester

Four goals on Sunday and the above stat also suggests there will be more tomorrow. Leicester have struggled of late in the league and with Spurs welcoming back some of their rested stars, it is hard to look past the home side.



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Demarai Gray of Birmingham City is chased by Ashley Westwood of Aston Villa during the Capital One Cup third round match between Aston Villa and Birmingham City at Villa Park on September 22, 2015 in Birmingham, England.
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