Tottenham take on Leicester on Sunday and Steve Rawlings expects them to keep in touch with the Premier League pacesetters. Read his take on the live encounter here...
“Spurs have won three of their last four Premier League encounters with Leicester and I expect that to become four from five but given recent evidence, the value looks to sit in the Half Time/Full Time market.”
Tottenham v Leicester
Sunday February 10, 13:30
Live on Sky Sports
Injury-hit Spurs stoically soldiering on
Tottenham's 3-1 defeat to Wolves at the end of December looked like a complete outlier. They'd just knocked bitter rivals, Arsenal, out of the Carabao Cup, comfortably beaten Everton away (6-2) and Bournemouth at home (5-0) in the Premier League and following the Wolves loss, they'd easily brushed aside Cardiff away (3-0) before pulverising Tranmere (7-0) in the third round of the F.A Cup. A 1-0 win in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea meant they were still fighting on all four fronts but then they played Manchester United at Wembley in the league and the buffers were well and truly hit.
Defeat to the Red Devils (1-0) was exasperated by a nasty ankle injury to star striker Harry Kane and seven days later Dele Alli limped off with less than ten minutes to go against Fulham with a hamstring injury. The Lilywhites battled back from 1-0 down at Craven Cottage, with Harry Winks snatching all three points in injury time, but with key players missing, they lost their next two - on penalties to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup, following a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, before crashing out of the F.A Cup to Crystal Palace (2-0) four days later.
To Spurs' credit, they've buckled down really well since, and despite their injury woes they came from behind to beat Watford 2-1, before edging out Newcastle 1-0 last weekend.
Kane and Alli are said to be progressing nicely but Kane won't make the line-up on Sunday and Alli isn't likely to return until March so it's a good job Son Heung-Min is maintaining his form in front of goal. The Korean has now scored 10 in his last 14 Premier League matches and he returned from the Asian Games to score the equaliser in the 2-1 win against Watford before bagging the only goal of the game against Newcastle last weekend.
Under-fire Puel in need of another surprise success
Back-to-back home defeats for Everton have seen the odds about Marco Silva being the next Premier League manager to leave his post tumble but Leicester's beleaguered boss, Claude Puel, is still the strong favourite after a poor run off form.
The Foxes surprised everyone with an away win at Chelsea (1-0) and a home win against Manchester City either side of Christmas and those two results looked to have given Puel a decent bit of leeway but the wolves are circling again after five defeats in their last seven, which includes three straight Premier League losses at home and an unceremonious exit to Newport County in the F.A Cup.
The Foxes are a tough team to assess and one could argue that their two most recent results are encouraging. They battled hard at Anfield, a little over a week ago, to gain a deserved point (at least) against Liverpool and they were only narrowly beaten (1-0) by a bang-in-form Manchester United side last weekend but they can't be relied upon to any extent and it's hard to see them beating Spurs at Wembley.
Another slow Spurs start the value play
With Manchester City hitting a high of [4.3] and Liverpool a low of [1.33], there's been plenty of volatility in the Premier League outright market over the last 10 days or so but the one constant has been Spurs. Their price of around [23.0] hasn't moved much while the favourites have flipflopped and if they can eek out another three points on Sunday the title race will remain a three-team tussle at least.
Mike Norman makes a great case for backing Harry Kane to be the Premier League's top scorer here and his imminent return will give the whole club a huge boost but backing Spurs at odds-on without him (or Alli) doesn't make much appeal - even though the manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has just given the whole squad a couple of days off to recharge their batteries.
The stalemate looks an obvious no-no given Spurs haven't drawn for a record-breaking 29 Premier League matches in-a-row and although wildly unpredictable and capable of better than their recent results, I don't want to back Leicester at less than 5/1 either.
Spurs have won three of their last four Premier League encounters with Leicester and I suspect that'll change to four from five but given recent evidence, the value looks to sit in the Half Time/Full Time market...
Without their big guns in attendance, their last three victories have been hard-fought and won with goals inside the last ten minutes. They trailed 1-0 at half time to both Fulham and Watford before going on to win 2-1 and the only goal of the game against Newcastle last week came in the 83rd minute, so rather than backing the hosts at around the [1.7] mark, I've played the Half Time/Full Time market instead, chancing that Leicester can either hold Spurs back until the break, or even take a lead in to half time before the home side take control and all three points. ,
Foxes away form suggests goals could be scarce
These two sides have produced a couple of memorable matches in recent years. Spurs walloped Leicester 6-1 at the King Power Stadium in the penultimate game of the 2016/17 season and they signed off last season with a 5-4 victory at Wembley but I'm far from convinced we can read anything much in to end of season form and I expect a far tighter affair this time around.
Over 2 ½ in the Over/Under 2 ½ Goals market is odds-on but if forced to make a selection it would be Under at odds-against. On only one occasion since they lost 3-1 to Arsenal in October have Leicester been involved in a Premier League tie away from home that's seen more than two goals scored (a bizarre 4-3 defeat to Wolves at Molineux) and although Spurs home games have produced three or more goals 58% of the time, only 38% of Leicester's away matches have seen more than two goals scored.
Same Game Multi
If you fancy combining two or more scenarios to build a bet that pays handsomely, click on the Same Game Multi tab at the top of the Sportsbook market and pick two or more selections to build a wager. For example, the in-form Son Heung-Min, has scored three times in his last two Premier League games against Leicester and he's scored in each of his last two Premier League matches so he could be worth backing to score again. Son Heung-Min to score and Spurs to win pays £2.70 for £1 stake.
Staked: 68 pts
P/L: -23.47 pts
1 ½ pts Draw-Tottenham @ [5.3]
½ pt Leicester - Tottenham @ [30.0]