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Preview: Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups
16/12/2021 10:38:59

Preparing to return to action after a devastating COVID-19 outbreak, Tottenham Hotspur prepare to meet Leicester City at the King Power on Thursday night.

While Spurs' most recent clash with Brighton & Hove Albion was postponed, the Foxes put four unanswered goals past Newcastle United at the weekend.

We say: Leicester City 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

It is difficult to confidently back either side with any real conviction given their respective COVID-19 woes, but Leicester still produced one of their best showings of the season against Newcastle with so many players out.

Conte's depleted side may be a little rusty at the King Power and will not have their first-choice attackers available, so we expect the Foxes to come up trumps for the fourth time in a row at home.

Match preview

Spurs are not the only Premier League club to have been struggling with a raft of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, as at least seven Leicester players were ruled out of contention for the visit of Newcastle, but Brendan Rodgers's side were still a class above on the day.

With Jamie Vardy warming the bench, Patson Daka starred with a goal and assist in the final third, with James Maddison claiming two contributions of his own and Youri Tielemans netting a brace in a confidence-boosting performance for the King Power outfit.

After the disappointment of dropping down to the Europa Conference League, a third home win on the bounce was just what the doctor ordered for Leicester, who now find themselves eighth in the table and still in the mix for a European place.

The 4-0 thumping of the Magpies marked only Leicester's third win from their last 10 in all competitions, but the hosts are finally producing the goods in front of their own fans once more and have scored a whopping 11 goals over the course of their last three home wins.

Rodgers's side also kept their first clean sheet since the opening day of the season in the win over Newcastle, but another defensive injury blow and numerous players still affected by coronavirus could yet harm their European aspirations once more.

After an emotional Antonio Conte revealed that eight players and five members of staff had contracted COVID-19, there was simply no chance of the Lilywhites' Europa Conference League and Premier League clashes with Rennes or Brighton going ahead as scheduled.

With their continental fate now in the hands of UEFA, a depleted Spurs side must simply endeavour to get back on track in the Premier League and make up for lost time, with the Lilywhites still in the top-six mix despite falling two games behind their rivals.

Spurs' 3-0 win over Norwich City back on December 5 marked their third Premier League win in a row under Conte, and they occupy a respectable seventh spot in the rankings - just one point behind Arsenal and three behind fourth-placed West Ham United with two games in hand.

For all of their success at home since Conte's arrival, Spurs have come up short on Everton and NS Mura's turf in recent weeks and have won just one of their last five league games on the road - failing to score in each of their last two.

Tottenham memorably claimed a 4-2 win at the King Power last term to confirm qualification for the Conference League, although Leicester overcame the London club 2-0 just before Christmas in 2020.

Team News

Jonny Evans lasted all of six minutes against Newcastle before going off with a hamstring problem, so Boubakary Soumare may be drafted in as an emergency centre-back on Thursday.

The club's COVID-19 contingent are believed to include Jannik Vestergaard, Ayoze Perez, Ademola Lookman, Daniel Amartey, Kelechi Iheanacho, Hamza Choudhury and Filip Benkovic, with none of them set to take part this weekend.

James Justin and Wesley Fofana also remain out injured for Leicester, and Rodgers may elect to keep Jamie Vardy among the reserves before clashes with Everton, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Spurs did not confirm which players tested positive for coronavirus, but Bryan Gil, Emerson Royal, Son Heung-min, Oliver Skipp, Dane Scarlett and Lucas Moura are believed to be among them.

Conte is also without the injured Cristian Romero until 2022, but Sergio Reguilon is expected to be fine despite coming off injured in the Norwich win.

Harry Winks, Tanguy Ndombele and Steven Bergwijn can all feel hopeful of earning starts amid Spurs' absentee crisis, and there may even be a spot for Dele Alli in the XI.

Leicester City possible starting lineup:

Schmeichel; Pereira, Soumare, Soyuncu, Thomas; Ndidi, Tielemans; Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes; Daka

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:

Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Tanganga, Hojbjerg, Winks, Reguilon; Alli, Bergwijn; Kane

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