Gray calls for ruthless streak

Demarai Gray believes Leicester City would be challenging for a top-six finish if they had been more ruthless in front of goal this season.

The Foxes have beaten Chelsea and Manchester City this term, as well as securing an impressive 1-1 draw at Liverpool, but have lost to several sides that are currently in the bottom half of the Premier League table, including Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Southampton.

Claude Puel's team are currently 12th in the table but have only scored 31 goals in their 26 league matches to date, although they were unfortunate to lose their last game – 3-1 to Tottenham at Wembley.

"It's been a tough run of games for us," said Gray. "We've done well in every game. We've been dominant in the majority of the games against top-six sides this season.

"We've got results against teams like Chelsea and Man City and, against other teams in the top six, we could have got results out of the games.

"It's not like we've come up against these teams and had a nervous attitude. We've come and attacked these teams and played really well.

"We've just been unfortunate in front of goal. Not many teams come away against the top teams and apply pressure like we do. We just have to be more ruthless in front of goal."

Leicester, 8/15 to finish in the top half of the table, can be backed at 23/20 to beat Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Son of a Gun – He’s Done it Again in Premier League!

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City

I said if this Premier League encounter ended goalless that I’d eat my hat!

Now I don’t actually have a hat us fans but I meant what I said simply because these two are attacking-minded sides.

Even without the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and, surprisingly Jamie Vardy – kept on the bench for a reason yet to be made public – it was hard to see a stalemate, especially as there’s only been one goalless draw in the 97 league fixtures between Spurs and Leicester. That came in the second tier of English football in March 1948.

Highlights of the game

As well as the absence of Vardy, there was another unexpected change for the Foxes when Papy Mendy sustained an injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Wilfred Ndidi.

The late disruption didn’t seem to affect them as they created two early chances with Harry Maguire forcing Hugo Lloris to tip the ball over the bar before promising youngster Harvey Barnes fired narrowly wide after being played in by debutant Youri Tielemans.

It was Maguire who had helped earn Leicester a point 11 days earlier at Anfield and Spurs would have been well aware that they have taken points off many of the established big six so far this season.

As far as Premier League 2019 betting odds are concerned, Spurs are distinct outsiders in the title race but want to be in a position to pounce should the top two slip up.

Twenty minutes in and Kasper Schmeichel, a real talent in the mould of his father – recently voted the Premier League’s greatest ever goalkeeper – produced a top-drawer save to deny Danny Rose.

Schmeichel was powerless to prevent the deadlock being broken in the 33rd minute, however, when Christian Eriksen delivered the ball into the danger zone and Davinson Sanchez powered home a header.

It was his first goal for the club following his 2017 summer move from Ajax.

Into the second period and Leicester went close to an equaliser.

Demarai Gray, playing the lone frontman, headed straight at Lloris after a good ball from Ricardo Pereira and then shot at the keeper after good work from Ben Chilwell.

As promising as Gray is and, as enterprising as the likes of Chilwell and James Maddison are, visiting fans must have wondered what if Vardy had been on the pitch.

Moments later he was, just as Jan Vertonghen bundled over Maddison.

The scene seemed set but it must always be difficult to come onto the pitch and be thrust under the spotlight.

He entered the fray and saw the resulting spot-kick, his first touch, parried away by Lloris.

It was to prove a pivotal moment.

Within minutes, Leicester had surrendered possession and the ball made its way to Eriksen who produced a long-range trademark special from 20 yards which left Schmeichel with no chance.

Tottenham Hotspur took advantage of Jamie Vardy's absence in the first half

Jamie Vardy was kept in the bench until the second half started

Vardy was desperate to make amends and played in Barnes, who tested Lloris, before he reduced the arrears himself, expertly converting a pinpoint Pereira cross.

The Foxes deserved their goal and were pressing for an equaliser when Spurs sealed the contest in stoppage time.

Moussa Sissoko cleared a Leicester corner and, with the Foxes committed to attack, Son Heung-Min raced clear half the length of the pitch to despatch the third.

For the third game in a row, Son had provided another of the Premier League 2019 news stories and was the Spurs hero.

Key statistics

The last five Premier League meetings between these teams have produced 25 goals.

Spurs are without a draw in a Premier League record 30 matches.

They have scored six goals in the last 10 minutes of their past four league games.

Son has scored 10 goals in his past 11 league and cup appearances for Spurs and has scored four goals and set up two in his last three Premier League starts against Leicester.

Fernando Llorente has been involved in 11 goals in his past eight starts for Tottenham in all competitions (nine goals, two assists).

Leicester have lost four of their last five league games.

Over the last seven matches, only bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield have earned fewer points than their tally of four.

Leicester have won just one of their last 16 matches on a Sunday in all competitions (drawn four, lost 11). That solitary victory came against Everton in Claude Puel’s first game in October 2017.

Vardy has been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight league appearances against Tottenham, with five goals and three assists.

147 different players have scored for Spurs in the Premier League (level with West Ham).

Eriksen has assisted 57 Premier League goals since his debut in 2013.

What’s next?

Spurs welcome Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to Wembley in midweek as the Champions League knockout stages resume.

They then have 10 days off before a trip to Turf Moor to take on Burnley on February 23.

That is before a massive week with league doubles against arch rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.

It’s nearly a fortnight before Leicester play again.

It’s two home games in four days then for the Foxes who entertain Crystal Palace (February 23) before welcoming Brighton to town (February 26).

 

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Spurs stay in the hunt

Tottenham ensured the bid to win the Premier League remains a three-horse race after beating Leicester City 3-1 at Wembley.

The Foxes contributed much to an entertaining game and Jamie Vardy should have equalised from the penalty spot shortly after coming on, but Spurs made the points safe with a last minute goal from Son Heung-min.

Mauricio Pochettino's side took the lead just after half an hour when Davinson Sanchez scored his first goal for the club.

Leicester had a glorious chance to draw level, Vardy coming off the bench to take a penalty but Hugo Lloris made the save.

It was to prove a costly miss as Spurs doubled their lead just minutes later, Christian Eriksen scoring the goal.

Vardy made amends by getting on the scoresheet, converting Ricardo Pereira's cross and that left the Foxes with a quarter of an hour to try and force an equaliser.

However, despite late pressure they couldn't get a second and the home side made the game safe just before the end, Son getting the goal to continue the fine form he's shown since returning from Asian Cup action.

It was a fourth successive league win for Spurs who remain third in the Premier League table, five points off joint leaders Liverpool and Manchester City.

They are back at Wembley on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Borussia Dortmund.

They are 13/10 for the win with the German side 19/10 and the draw is 5/2.

Having been knocked out of the FA Cup Spurs then have 10 days off before returning to the Premier League, away to Burnley on 23rd February.

Spurs are 10/1 to reach the Champions League final this year with Manchester City 13/8 and Liverpool 4/1.

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Puel denies Vardy bust-up

Leicester boss Claude Puel insists there is no animosity between himself and Jamie Vardy after their angry exchange on the sidelines against Manchester United.

The Foxes topscorer was visibly frustrated at full-time of last Sunday's clash with the Red Devils, which the Foxes lost 1-0.

It was suggested that his outburst when speaking to Puel was just the latest coming together between the pair, who were thought to have fallen out earlier in the season.

Vardy was dropped previously in the campaign after a supposed training ground bust-up with Puel, although Leicester claimed he was struggling with a stomach bug which had meant he hadn't trained ahead of the October clash with West Ham.

Puel has once again dismissed the suggestion there is any problem between himself and his star striker, claiming Vardy was just experiencing his frustration against United.

“I have a good relationship with him. We know Jamie and after he has lost, he is never happy and that is normal for a player," Puel said.

"If I thought one of my players was disrespectful, to me or to the club, there would be a sanction.

"That is not the case with Jamie."

Vardy looks likely to start Sunday's game against Tottenham as Leicester look to maintain their recent good away record, taking a point at Liverpool at the end of last month having beaten Chelsea before Christmas.

The Foxes will be without Marc Albrighton and Daniel Amartey for the encounter at Wembley.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are still missing Harry Kane, Ben Davies and Dele Alli due to injury, while Eric Dier absent due to an illness.

Spurs are 4/6 to pick up the win they need to maintain their title challenge, while a Leicester victory is 19/4. The draw is 3/1.

Vardy is 12/5 to score anytime having been directly involved in seven goals in his last seven appearances against Tottenham.

Premier League: Can the Inconsistent Foxes Raise Their Game Again?

Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City

If this Premier League clash ends goalless, I’ll eat my hat!

For here are two attacking-minded sides who have not only produced some of the Premier League 2019 highlights between them but also produced 21 goals in their last four top-flight clashes.

Form-wise, Leicester were unfortunate not to claim a point against Manchester United last weekend and after taking a fine point at Anfield a few days earlier.

They may have lost the preceding three games, including an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at Newport, but they seem to find their mojo when they are up against the heavyweights: they have taken seven points from three matches against the top two and Chelsea this term.

Meanwhile, injury-hit Spurs have bounced back from exiting both domestic cup competitions in the span of four days with successive home victories over Watford and Newcastle.

Although unlikely, they even got an outside chance of winning the title.

Talking Points

While Harry Kane and Dele Alli are both back in training, this game is too early for both. Meanwhile, Eric Dier is out with a virus and Ben Davies is missing due to a groin injury.

In Son Heung-Min, however, the home side has a player who is in fine form and has sparked their last two victories after returning from South Korean duty at the Asian Cup.

He has scored nine goals in his last 10 league and cup appearances for Spurs and has scored three and set up two in his last two Premier League starts against Leicester.

He also had a hand in 14 goals in his last 11 starts in the Premier League, scoring 10 and assisting four.

In Kane’s understudy, Fernando Llorente, Spurs also have a frontman who has been involved in seven goals in his past eight appearances in all competitions (five goals, two assists).

Leicester, meanwhile, could give a debut to new loan signing Youri Tielemans. They have a dangerous frontman of their own who enjoys playing against the big boys – Vardy has been directly involved in seven goals in his last seven league appearances against Tottenham with four goals and three assists.

Daniel Amartey and Marc Albrighton are both injured for a side whose back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Man City in December preceded a home loss to strugglers Cardiff City, suggesting the Foxes are better suited for bigger games.

How underrated manager Claude Puel would love to end that inconsistency.

History

In this fixture last season, on the final day of the campaign, the sides produced a thriller which resulted in Spurs sealing third spot in the table.

That spectacle and a 2-0 victory at the King Power Stadium in December, in which Heung-Min and Alli were on target, maintained Spurs’ recent good record against the Foxes – they have only been defeated once in their past six meetings.

Despite the inconsistencies in form, Jamie Vardy remains Leicester’s attacker scoring 7 Premier League goals this season

Jamie Vardy shoots the ball during their match against Manchester United

That one loss came last season when Leicester triumphed 2-1 with Vardy and the now-departed Riyad Mahrez finding the net.

Indeed, since returning to the Premier League in 2014, Leicester have conceded 22 goals against Tottenham Hotspur – more than against any other team.

Yet Leicester have what Spurs crave – a Premier League title – and a pivotal moment in that unforgettable campaign came in a 1-0 win at White Hart Lane in January 2016.

Spurs finished second that season, and some of their fans have had a dislike for Leicester ever since they were pipped to the post and missed out on what they know was a glorious opportunity.

It will come as no surprise to us fans that the mighty Spurs have won 55 of their meetings with Leicester, enjoying 35 triumphs and 21 draws.

The sides have met 25 times in the Premier League, each winning 10 games.

Betting Tip

??
Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City Draw 1×2 @3.60
February 10, 21:30 (GMT+8)

Leicester City have lost all three of their games against Spurs at Wembley. As well as last season, they were the defeated side in 1961 FA Cup Final and the 1999 League Cup Final.

With Premier League 2019 betting odds, Spurs naturally start as favourites and are priced 1X2 @ 1.70 with Leicester @ 4.90.

Asian Handicap betting follows a similar path with Leicester + 0.50 @ 2.29 and Spurs an attractive -1.00 @ 2.23.

For more goals galore, over 3.00 goals offers odds of @ 2.38 and total goal 4-6 @ 3.40.

The Double Chance of Leicester or Draw @ 2.07 has a certain appeal, while a repeat of the North Londoner’s 2-0 success in December with the correct score is available @ 8.00.

Given it has now been 29 league games since Spurs last played out a draw – only Portsmouth, between March 1928 and February 1929 (38 games) have gone on a longer run – my prediction may surprise you.

Despite not picking up many points of late, Leicester are playing well and Spurs may also have one eye on their home Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund three days later.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Season looks over for Albrighton

Leicester City midfielder Marc Albrighton is unlikely to feature again this season as he requires surgery to repair a hamstring injury sustained during training.

The 29-year-old sat out the 1-0 home Premier League defeat to Manchester United last weekend, with the Foxes hoping that the injury was not too serious.

However, ahead of a Sunday trip to Wembley to take on Tottenham Hotspur, City head coach Claude Puel has confirmed that his player requires an operation and is highly unlikely to be able to return to action before the end of the current campaign.

The Frenchman told his club's official website: "We now know more about the injury to Marc.

"He's had a serious hamstring injury. It's bad news for us, for the team and I think he will not be available until the end of the season.

"Marc gives the team spirit and aggressiveness. We will have to find another balance in the team, so we will see.

"It's a bad thing for him and for us, but it will be an opportunity for another player to show his quality and we'll have to manage this situation. He will have surgery."

England Under-21 international Albrighton joined Leicester from Aston Villa in the summer of 2014 and has since scored 13 goals in 173 appearances in all competitions.

He featured in every match in the Premier League-winning season of 2015/16, with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and skipper Wes Morgan the only two other Foxes players to match that record.

Leicester are currently priced at 8/15 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, while they are 6/4 to end up in the bottom half.

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Kane closing on Spurs return

Tottenham Hotspur's star striker Harry Kane is set for a return to action in the very near future, having been sidelined for nearly a month by an ankle ligament injury.

England skipper Kane has not featured since the 1-0 Premier League loss to Manchester United on Sunday 13th January, but Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino says his player is closing in on a return to the fold.

The Argentinian did, however, rule Kane out of both the league clash with Leicester City this weekend and the Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund in midweek.

He told reporters ahead of the Wembley game against the Foxes on Sunday: "He's doing well, he's doing fantastic.

"We have to stop him every day, because he wants to be ahead of his recovery and he's very optimistic and his determination to play as soon as possible is unbelievable.

"If you see him, he's nearly ready to play, but we need to be realistic too. I think he's so close to come back again, not for Sunday and not for Wednesday, but we'll see after that."

Kane has scored 14 Premier League goals this season, the same number of Manchester City ace Sergio Aguero.

Only Arsenal frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (15) and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah (16) have more to their name.

Kane can be backed at 10/1 to be the leading scorer in the Premier League come the end of the season, with Salah priced at 1/1 and Aguero available at 3/1.

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Poch: Reds remain the favourites

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino believes that Liverpool remain 'clear favourites' to win the Premier League title this season.

The Reds were knocked off top spot on goal difference in midweek as Manchester City claimed a 2-0 victory at Everton, but the Merseysiders have a game in hand on the Citizens and Pochettino is still picking Liverpool as the team to beat.

Pochettino told reporters: "I think the competition is so tough, the Premier League is so difficult and still they are (near) the top of the table and are clear favourites to win the Premier League.

"I think there are a lot of circumstances that happen during a period of a ten-month competition. They are suffering a similar situation to us with some injuries and I know it's not easy to keep the same level.

"The period is going to be tough for everyone, for the teams that want to win the trophy at the end, but no doubt that for sure Liverpool is going to be there until the end.

"We are there, third in the table. It is our objective to be involved to the end, to be a realistic contender."

Tottenham play host to Leicester City on Sunday, with the Londoners currently five points adrift of both City and the Reds.

The meeting of Spurs and the Foxes at the King Power Stadium earlier this season ended in a 2-0 victory for the visitors, with Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli their goalscorers.

Tottenham can be backed at 7/10 to earn three points on Sunday, while they are 8/1 to claim a 2-0 victory, with Son priced at 6/5 to score at any time in the game.

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Premier League: Another Win for Ole as Red Devils Tame the Foxes

Leicester City 0-1 Manchester United

Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the game as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red revolution continues with his ninth win as Manchester United boss.

The Red Devils have now won five on the run away from home and sit fifth in the Premier League while the Foxes are down in 11th. After putting in such a great performance to take a point away from Liverpool in midweek, one of the big Premier league 2019 results so far, the hosts gave another North West giant a real game but couldn’t get the goal their play deserved.

Neither team features in the headline Premier League 2019 odds at the moment, but both have a clear aim, United to finish in the top four and Leicester to have a tilt at Europa league football. And after today’s result it’s the visitors who have made more progress.

Highlights of the game

We hoped for a high tempo start to the game and we got it with a good chance at either end in the first five minutes.

Leicester had the first attempt on goal when Wilfred Ndidi met a brilliant corner from James Maddison but he glanced his header just wide with David de Gea rooted to the spot. And then, on five minutes United should have scored when Luke Shaw swung over a deep cross which Marcus Rashford headed wide from just six yards.

But the young England striker made no mistake when he was presented with a clear run on goal; Paul Pogba lobbed a beautiful ball over the top of the Leicester defence and Rashford fired home to put the Red Devils ahead on nine minutes.

Marcus Rashford takes credit for Manchester United's good Premier league 2019 results this week

Marcus Rashford celebrates his ninth goal of the season and his sixth under Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Leicester have gone behind before, doing so before beating Manchester City in December, and they almost hit back immediately when Maddison latched onto a Jamie Vardy flick and fired towards goal, but Shaw got in a timely block. And former Red Devil Jonny Evans had a great chance from another corner but his header flew wide.

The Foxes almost threw any chance away just before the break when sloppy play let in Rashford, but this time his shot was safely gathered by Kasper Schmeichel. And then in first half injury time Ricardo Pereira hit a sweet volley but straight at De Gea.

The second period started as the first ended with Leicester on the attack, Harvey Barnes shooting across the face of goal before Maddison fired into the side netting. Then, after United weathered the storm Rashford took a shot from the edge of the penalty area but fired wide.

Then, on the hour, Leicester came so close to equalising when a Maddison free kick bounced high off the Red wall and Vardy hit a first time volley but De Gea gratefully gathered the ball.

And the United keeper made a great save when Rachid Ghezzal fired a wicked free-kick curling towards the top corner but De Gea leapt across to make a spectacular one handed stop. Minutes later Evans had a chance to level when Ghezzal swung another free-kick over but the centre back failed to connect with Harry Maguire’s flick on.

Solskjaer brought Romelu Lukaku on and the big Belgian had a chance to finish the game but he shot straight at Schmeichel when clean through. And the ball swept to the other end carried by Barnes and he centred to Vardy who, once again, shot straight at De Gea. And in an end to end finish United broke with speed and Anthony Martial shot at the Leicester keeper.

Maguire had one more effort for the Foxes but couldn’t hit the target as United held on for Ole’s ninth win in ten games.

Key statistics

us witnessed Rachid Ghezzal's goal being saved by David De Gea

Rachid Ghezzal forced a great save from De Gea but the Foxes couldn’t break through

Solskjaer’s stated intention has been to play attacking football in the pursuit of silverware and he’s certainly got the United fans smiling again, but they had a lot of defending to do in the second half as Leicester roared back.

It was a big win at us odds 2.14 and keeps United well in the top four race.

Rashford’s goal was his sixth in eight league games under OGS and he had only scored 20 in the 92 before that.

But Leicester needs to shake off the habit of conceding early goals, this was the 11th time they have conceded in the opening 15 minutes this season. And, despite their best efforts they are now without a win in three.

What’s next?

Next week the Foxes have another difficult test away to Spurs, who went second in the table after a 1-0 home win to Newcastle on Saturday, though Manchester City were still to play Arsenal.

The Red Devils are away to Fulham next week and that won’t be easy against Claudio Ranieri’s relegation strugglers. The Cottagers are in danger of being cut adrift and they’ll be fighting for their lives. They carry a serious attacking threat but leak goals for fun and United’s strikers will be licking their lips.

 

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Ton-up Rashford slays Foxes

Marcus Rashford marked his 100th Premier League appearance by scoring Manchester United's crucial goal in a 1-0 win over Leicester.

The England forward brilliantly controlled a lofted pass from Paul Pogba on nine minutes before slotting past Kasper Schmeichel to make the vital difference at the King Power Stadium.

That was to prove enough as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side made it seven Premier League wins in eight games under the caretaker boss.

Man United moved back to within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea with their win.

The Red Devils were strong early on and, though Leicester finished the game with purpose, David de Gea was on hand to make a vital saves in denying Jamie Vardy and Rachid Ghezzal.

Rashford has now scored 26 goals in 100 league games, with six of them coming in the eight games United have played under Solskjaer since Jose Mourinho was axed before Christmas.

The United match-winner is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and he says he tries hard to make a contribution to the team, as well as scoring goals.

"You know I don't think anyone grows up wanting to be just a striker nowadays, the game has changed and you want to be an all-round forward – to play on the left, right, No.10."

"What's happened in my career so far has enabled me to do that."

World Cup-winning midfielder Pogba was frozen out before Mourinho left, but Rashford has no doubt what he brings to the team.

"I think time and time again he provides opportunities for the team. That's what we want and if we can get him free as much as we can, he'll make those passes all day long. Getting the goal is good and we have to keep improving, keep doing it more and more," he added.

Man United are 8/13 to win away at Fulham on Saturday. The struggling Cottagers are 4/1 while the draw is 3/1.

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