Spurs vs Leicester City is up next for us in the Premier League, so I take a look at how to break down Nigel Pearson’s Foxes.
A week can seem like a long time in football and there will have been plenty of soul searching after the humiliating defeat at Old Trafford. If there were ever a remedy to aid recovery, then a visit from the Premier League’s bottom side should be just the tonic.
However, Nigel Pearson’s team have proven difficult opponents of late and are not going to go down easily. So, what can we expect from Spurs vs Leicester City this time and just how do you break down his team?
1. Attack the right back
Some things have changed in Leicester. Since signing Robert Huth in January, Nigel Pearson has switched to three centre backs as part of a five-man defence. However, some things have stayed the same, as they continue to ship goals to teams that can get in down the right side of their defence.
Back when Leicester were playing a four man back line, we did a good job of getting in-behind right back Danny Simpson in our 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium.
Since Pearson has gone to five at the back, the leaks in this zone have continued. Switching to three centre backs naturally means that there will be more space down the outsides of them.
Manchester City got in-behind in to both of these areas, but particularly the right side of the Leicester defence in the Foxes’ last Premier League away game.
City’s first goal on the night was a tap home by David Silva after Wilfried Bony’s shot was blocked, so wasn’t highlighted on the above Stats Zone image. Silva started the move by getting in down the right side to release Aleksander Kolorov on the overlap to cross the ball in to the middle.
Having passed the ball off, Silva moved inside and hoovered up the rebound.
It’s not just Man City that were able to get at Leicester in this way, Everton also scored twice through here in the Foxes’ previous away trip.
The Toffees went ahead by getting Steven Naismith in to the channel beyond right full back Danny Simpson.
They then scored their second of the game by getting Christian Atsu in to the same channel, but between Huth and Simpson this time. Romelu Lukaku headed Atsu’s cross home via a deflection off Matthew Upson.
Everton had a great chance to win the game, as Lukaku was released down this same channel between Huth and Simpson once more. The striker could only curl his effort over the bar when faced with just Mark Schwarzer to beat.
Getting players in, around and beyond the right back and down the channel between him and his centre back will be a major key in the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Leicester City.
2. Shots in the box
The main problem for Leicester City this season is that they give up far too many shots in the box. The Foxes have conceded the most of any side in the Premier League and despite switching to three centre backs, which I presume was to stop this, they still continue to concede shots inside the area at an alarming rate.
Their last Premier League away day saw them give up 16 of 22 shots to Man City inside their own penalty area. In their previous away trip to Goodison Park, they allowed 12 of Everton’s 16 efforts to be from within the 18-yard box.
It’s been a major reason why they are leaking goals. In fact, Leicester sit second to only us in ‘Big Chances’ conceded – where a player is expected to score from close in or a 1v1 situation on the keeper.
Getting shots away inside their penalty area will be key to the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Leicester City this Saturday. We will have to get players up in support of Harry Kane to do it.
3. Press for success
Teams that have had success against Leicester have pressed them in to mistakes high up the park.
Man City were very effective at doing this in their 2-0 win over the Foxes in Leicester City’s last away match in the Premier League.
Man Utd also pressed and harried them to win the ball back, as they shot in to a three goal lead against Leicester at Old Trafford.
Pressing will be key to the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Leicester City this Saturday. A recall of Mousa Dembele to the number ten position will help Mauricio Pochettino to hem the Foxes in. With both Dembele’s plus Harry Kane’s energy and closing down presence from the front, we should force plenty of turnovers high up the pitch.
4. Defending the wide areas
Leicester City are a crossing team and are a threat to get in to the wide areas with Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp. The latter gave us plenty of causes for concern in the FA Cup game at the Lane.
The key to slowing down and stopping their attack is to defend well in the wide areas in order to push them back. This is something we did a good job of in our 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League.
Controlling the Foxes’ attack by defending well down the flanks will be key to Spurs vs Leicester City this Saturday. A recall for Erik Lamela, who is better in the defensive phase and winning the ball back, would be a wise move in the place of Andros Townsend.
5. Set pieces
A free kick from Christian Eriksen settled the game up at the King Power Stadium 2-1 in our favour and set pieces will again be of vital importance. Leicester City have conceded 129 chances to the opposition at set pieces this season, the most of any team in the Premier League.
What’s more, we have scored the most goals from set pieces of any team in the Premier League this season. These have mainly come directly from Christian Eriksen’s free kicks and corners and they will again be of incredible importance to getting a grip on what could be another tight game.
Spurs vs Leicester City outlook
Although Leicester sit bottom of the table and are in the midst of a poor run, they have shown signs of being stubborn to break down since moving to a back five.
The key will be getting in to their right back zone and the channel between him and his centre back.
Spurs vs Leicester City prediction: Tottenham to win 2-1.
Spurs vs Leicester City betting
Here are a few of the bets that I’ve had on the game and my top 3 recommendations are:
Spurs to win 2-1 at 7/1 with Betfair.
Christian Eriksen anytime goal at 2/1 with 888sport.
HT/FT: Draw/Tottenham at 7/2 with Betway.
Mike J says
What line up would you suggest for this match then? In particular AML? Eriksen has started here when Dembele has started in the AM position. Also, Eriksen is good at the Set-Pieces you mentioned.
However, Eriksen is not so effective tracking back in support of Rose/Davies.
Would you start Chadli in the AML slot and bring Eirksen on as a sub later? Of task one of the DMs to more effectively support the LB (but damaging their standard DM role)?
Zaph Mann says
According to the guardian teamsheet (which is often wrong the only change is Lamela for Townsend…
When do we actually know what the team will be?
Leicester have been incredibly unlucky in games I’ve seen, hitting the woodwork etc… Hopefully not a draw that sees our season petering out… hopefully a 4-0 blow out!
Spurs Fanatic - Mark says
Hi Zaph, the teams are usually known 1 hour before kick off, before then only Pochettino and his coachng staff and sometimes the players will know. Some maangers will tell the players the day before, some on the day and some just before kick off to avoid teamsheet leaks or to keep the squad on their toes. Any journo, like the Guardian teamsheet, is just having a best guess at what the line-up would be and so is frequently wrong.
Mike Sz says
This post is a bit “pre-emptive”…if nothing else, because our host has yet to post his analysis…which I always await with interest. Happy for what we now have as a Spurs victory over Leicester. But I guess my post is more of a general one…and what will probably amount of a bit of kvetching…so apologies in advance. In essence — notwithstanding the fact that Harry Kane has been absolutely outstanding for Spurs (which is an understatement), scoring the lion’s share of our goals (also an understatement) — I’m just a bit tired of the media and such at seemingly every other breath qualifying Spurs’ success as somehow all down to Kane. Now, mind you, I don’t think Spurs would be where they are this season without him. This post is not about Kane, or meant to undermine his contribution in any way. Rather, it gets a bit tiresome to hear time and time variations on the implicit theme, “Spurs would suck without Kane’s goals,” “Spurs saved by Kane again,” etc. I’m not sure I can make the point as clear as I would like, but…True, not all strikers score goals (Soldado’s tragic case being a case in point), but it is the primary objective of a striker to score goals. So, when pundits say things like, “Where would the goals come from without Kane?” it’s a bit unfair. Kane is amazing, but football is too complicated, and too much a collective sport, to accept such a generalization. True, sometimes Kane seems to do it all by himself…but Spurs are also playing much, much better, as a cohesive team with a fairly focused style of play. As such, they are also creating more chances in general…of which Kane is also a beneficiary. I guess I don’t hear this about Diego Costa, for example. Maybe this is because Chelsea are a better team all-around at the moment…certainly in terms of defense (Spurs’ primary Achilles heel this season). Or perhaps one might cite the brilliant Hazard. One might rather ask what Chelsea would be without him. But again, too simple. I just think about how others on Spurs have stepped up. For example, it’s hard to believe that there was a time where some were wondering whether Eriksen could fit in with Pochettino’s philosophy. Everyone — even the seemingly lost-forever Dembele, or the likely departing figure of Paulinho — seems better overall now. It was refreshing yesterday when one of the commentators mentioned the understanding and rapport between Kane and Eriksen. If nothing else, it was a comment that didn’t just suggest the stark distinction between Kane and the rest of Spurs…taking nothing away from what Kane has meant for Spurs this season. Am I making any sense?
Spurs Fanatic - Mark says
Hi Mike, yes you are making sense. In the UK, the media like to build-up players as heroes so that their downfall, if they have one, can be all the more dramatic. If Kane were to have a non-scoring streak like Soldado, imagine the coverage and ‘fall from grace’ stories, headlines, analysis that can be done by newspapers, websites, TV.
On one of your other points, Spurs may not do as well without Kane’s goals, but we would still be a decent side. If he hadn’t made the breakthrough, then we would still find goals from sonewhere. Kane does take a lot of shots, these shots would just be taken by other players.
I also think you hit the nail on the head about the contribution of others. Kane is not like Maradona at the 1986 World Cup, literally dragging the team on his back and scoring every goal by beating 11 opposition players like the big kid in the playground. He needs others to get him the ball so that he can receive it in locations to score and this should not be underestimated.
It is a team game, but when one player, as it was with Bale, is scoring the majority of our goals, then the media hype can get carried away and the one-man team jibes come out.