Tottenham Face a Leicester City Team with a Strong Middle

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (C) vies with Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (R) (Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (C) vies with Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (R) (Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Leicester City are a good football team that finds its strength through the middle of the park, meaning Tottenham Hotspur will have their hands full Sunday.

With players like Timothy Castagne, James Justin, and Mark Albrighton Leciester City have some good wide players who can impact a match. However, that play wide is meant to distract teams and move the defense to open spaces in the middle of the pitch where the real strength of the Leicester City team lay. Starting from the back and moving forward, Leicester has experience and ability and Tottenham need to be ready.

Experienced Defensive Core

Kasper Schmeichel is more than just a name in between the sticks for the Foxes and has been as big a part of the team’s success over the last half-decade as Jamie Vardy up front. Schmeichel rarely makes mistakes and is a vocal leader from the back.

In front of Schmeichel, Leicester should have Johnny Evans back after missing a match after getting a second yellow card. Evans has been in the Premier League for over a decade and was part of some of the last great Manchester United teams near the start of the 2010s. Evans experience helps hold a strong back three together, with Fofana’s sure passing on one side and the aggressiveness of Fuchs on the other.

Big Time Ball Winners

It is front of the back three and Schmeichel is where Leicester really get both good and young. Youri Tielemans is for the Foxes what Pierre Højbjerg is for Tottenham. Tielemans has 90 ball recoveries just in the Premier League this season and pushes forward well with three goals on the year. Next to Tielemans is likely Wilfred Ndidi or Nampalys Mendy.

Mendy in particular is another strong ball winner, although both bring an aggressive nature and a forward-thinking approach to the match. The point is, the holding midfielders in front of the back line are young, strong, and aggressive. In likely a 3-4-2-1 line-up, Leicester can deploy a square of midfielders in the middle of the park.

Completing the midfield square of four players is likely going to be James Maddison – who needs no introduction – and Harvey Barnes who can be a wild card for the offense at any moment. The idea is Maddison, Barnes, Tielemans and likely Mendy create a square four – remarkably similar to the four Spurs tend create with Dier, Alderweireld, Højbjerg, and Sissoko.

Attack and Feed the Man

The big difference is that Tottenham has the square in the center set up to be sound defensively. Leicester have the square to be decent defensively and maintain possession in the middle of the park. All that possession is meant for one thing really, which is get the ball to Jamie Vardy in space. Vardy is again on form this term with 10 goals already for the Foxes.

Interestingly none of the Foxes 20 goals in League have come on counter attacks with Vardy, which is what one might expect. Rather they have come from open play and possession which is what the strong center of the park is all about.

Leicester move teams from side-to-side and then find creases in the channels for Vardy to pounce. People can talk about what may or may not happen on the flanks in this match-up, but the game will be decided in the middle of the park. Whose square – the Tottenham defense – or the Leicester City midfield can manage more possession, keep its shape, and limit the other’s opportunities has the best chance in the match.

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