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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Leicester could outfox runners-up Tottenham

Patchy away form may hinder Spurs

Leicester captain Wes Morgan celebrates against Seville
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Premier League
Sky Sports 1, 7.45pm

Tottenham have given White Hart Lane a magnificent send-off this season, winning 17 and drawing two of their home Premier League matches, but their patchy away form means they are worth opposing on the trip to Leicester.

Spurs are guaranteed to finish as runners-up to Chelsea, leaving neighbours Arsenal in the shade for the first time in two decades, and Sunday's win over Manchester United was effectively the climax to their season.

There is some personal motivation left for striker Harry Kane, who is two goals behind Romelu Lukaku and one behind Alexis Sanchez in his bid to retain the Golden Boot.

However, it is hard to expect Tottenham to maintain their high standards in the final fixtures of the season at Leicester and Hull, especially as they signed off last term with a 5-1 defeat at relegated Newcastle.

Pochettino and his men can look back on an excellent 2016-17 season and his opposite number Craig Shakespeare should also feel a sense of satisfaction.

Shakespeare's long-term future remains uncertain but there can be no denying his impact after the emotional departure of title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri in February.

The defending champions were facing a relegation scrap until their underperforming players were galvanised by the regime change.

They beat Liverpool 3-1 in their first game under Shakespeare, the first of five straight home league victories for the new boss, and a top-half finish is now a realistic target.

Like Tottenham, Leicester have been heavily reliant on their home form this season and they would love to end an eventful campaign with victories over Spurs and top-ten rivals Bournemouth on Sunday.

The Foxes saw off Seville 2-0 at the King Power Stadium in the Champions League and held Atletico Madrid to a 1-1 draw in the quarter-finals while Manchester City found themselves 3-0 down inside 20 minutes in December.

Ten of Leicester's 12 league wins this term have come at home and they should be confident of at least avoiding defeat against a Spurs side missing influential full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, as well as Walker's impressive deputy Kieran Trippier.

Those full-backs have key roles in Tottenham's attacking gameplan as well as their defensive unit and Leicester are averaging two goals per game under Shakespeare in the league.

Their only league defeats since Ranieri's sacking came at Everton, Arsenal (thanks to a cruelly deflected Robert Huth own goal in the 86th minute) and last weekend at Manchester City where Riyad Mahrez's penalty, which would have made it 2-2, was disallowed for a bizarre double-kick.

Leicester or draw double chance
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Team news
Danny Drinkwater and Wes Morgan are sidelined while Robert Huth is a major doubt.

Danny Rose has undergone knee surgery while fellow full-backs Kyle Walker (ankle) and Kieran Trippier (concussion) are also out. Erik Lamela and Harry Winks remain sidelined.

Key stat
Tottenham have won only one of their ten away games against top-12 teams this season.

Ten of Leicester's 12 league wins this term have come at home and they should be confident of at least avoiding defeat
E.W. Terms
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