Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 27/20
The 2019/20 Premier League season is slowly coming to its closure, and though some things, like Liverpool winning the title and Norwich City’s relegation, have already been decided, there are several important matters yet to untangle before the end. Fierce battles for the last two Champions League places, the places leading to Europa League, as well as to avoid the remaining two relegation spots, are still ongoing.
In the 37th round, Tottenham Hotspur will welcome Leicester City to north London and it is certainly a big game for both sides.
It has been a rather turbulent season for last season’s Champions League finalists. Despite such success in the previous campaign, Mauricio Pochettino spent just over five years in charge of the team without leading them to any trophies and following a bleak start to this term, he was eventually shown the door on November 19th. Jose Mourinho was appointed in his place the next day.
It’s fair to say that Spurs’ fortunes haven’t improved much since. With two matches left to be played, they’ve lost all chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. They’re currently sitting seventh with 55 points to their name, seven less than fourth-place Leicester, and they’re currently in a tussle to make it into the Europa League. Manchester United in fifth have the same tally as the Foxes so that is out of their reach as well, but they stand a good chance of overtaking Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are only a point above. On the other hand, they need to be looking over their shoulders as well, given that Sheffield United, Arsenal and Burnley stand at 54, 53 and 51, respectively.
Their hopes will, however, be boosted by their last two league results – wins over Arsenal and Newcastle.
Having gone to spend time with his family in France following the tragic death of his brother, right-back Serge Aurier is likely to miss out on this game despite featuring the full 90 minutes at St James Park on Wednesday. Midfielder Dele Alli is ruled out with through injury, as is midfielder-turned-defender Eric Dier who is suspended. Midfielder Tanguy Ndombele will not play again this season, though he probably wouldn’t have played even were he fit given his out-of-favour status with Mourinho.
The Foxes turned out one of the surprises of the season under Brendan Rodgers and their fantastic run prior to the pandemic-caused break had them marked clearly for a Champions League spot, but the recent lack of form has now put their potential top-four finish at serious risk.
As has already been said, Leicester are still in fourth place with 62 points, but Manchester United are dangerously breathing down their necks with the same tally having notably improved under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Chelsea in third are on 63, and the three teams appear set to battle it out to the final matchday for the honour (not to mention financial advantages) of playing in UEFA’s elite club competition.
The Foxes beat Sheffield United at home by 2-0 in the previous round, but their shocking 4-1 defeat away to relegation battlers Bournemouth before that will still have them slightly worried.
Centre-back Caglar Soyuncu got sent off at the Vitality and this will be the second part of his three-match suspension. In-demand left-back Ben Chilwell is injured as is attacking midfielder James Maddison, and neither of them will play in the last two games of the season. Defender Christian Fuchs is also out for this game, which means 19-year-old Luke Thomas will probably get another start on the left defensive flank following a good performance against Sheffield United.
Jamie Vardy will naturally be leading the line upfront, and looking to extend his three-goal lead at the top of the Premier League scoring chart. He currently stands at 23.
Rodgers has put together an excellent team at Leicester, there can be no doubt about that. However, they rarely vary in their approach on the formation they line up in, and Jose Mourinho might find that predictable. Under the command of the Portuguese, Spurs have been known to change their shape and dynamics according to need even without changing the on-pitch personnel. Mourinho’s vast experience, as well as the overall quality of his team, could be enough to make sure the three points stay in north London on Sunday.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 27/20
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