It’s all or nothing for Mauricio Pochettino

When Tottenham Hotspur travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City Tuesday, it’s three points or nothing for Mauricio Pochettino.

Following their turgid 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, the North Londoners must take all three points. That is, if they don’t want to see their title challenge disappear with Santa.

Tottenham have had success on the road. At the start, moreso than at home. The one nil loss at Old Traffford and again at the Emirates, spoiled an otherwise excellent start away from temporary home Wembley.

With key players like Eriksen and Dele Alli looking tired and spiritless on Saturday, it’s unclear which formation Mauricio Pochettino will be bringing to the King Power Stadium.

Mousa a must for Spurs

Harry Kane will no doubt start the game alongside Heung-Min Son, who was the outstanding player from the dull draw at Wembley. With midfield kingpin Mousa Dembele still not a hundred percent fit, it will probably fall to Harry Winks again, to hold the ball midfield.

Though young Winks has been outstanding for his club, there’s no doubt  Dembele makes a huge difference to Spurs’ control and possession midfield. Mauricio Pochettino may be hoping he’ll play the first forty five, hoping to control any early Leicester attack.

Fans may see Moussa Sissoko reintroduced if Eriksen is rested for the game. He looked fatigued and idealess in Saturday’s tie with West Brom. It could be argued the result may have been different had he been replaced.

A Sissoko start?

Sissoko’s stature enables him to shrug off a defender. Perhaps he may have been more able to barge his way past the West Brom bus, than a tired Eriksen.

Tottenham’s dazzling performances in Champion’s League have somewhat  distracted fans from inconsistent league results. Saturdays dire draw with West Brom however, has put paid to that.

With nemesis Arsenal now just above them, fans will be baying for blood. Particularly after losing the first North London Derby. A win for Spurs will see the psychological advantage regained, albeit temporarily.

With excellent performances against the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, its easy to see why frustrated fans will accept no less than a win.

Their biggest injury concern for Pochettino remains Toby Alderweireld, whose absence is obvious in the defence. Perhaps a factor in recent games. Whilst new signing Davinson Sanchez is his usual calm and consistent self playing more centrally, Spurs would favour the old formation.

They still have the options of either Danny Rose or Ben Davies, its unclear yet who will start. Rose controversially was left out again at the weekend by Pochettino.

A return for long lost Erik Lamela?

Travelling Spurs fans could see the surprise return of Erik Lamela. He was absent from the bench where he was expected on Saturday. The news that he became a father soon broke. Immediately prompting jokes regarding his injured hips on Social Media.

In a press conference held today, Mauricio Pochettino told Football.London’s @AlasdairGold when asked about Lamela’s was availabilty replied;

“It’s very good news because he is in contention for tomorrow. It’s because after training today he felt good and said: ‘Ok, I am ready to move on and be available if you want.”

Lamela was once a target of derision from some Spurs followers. He took a long time to settle following his move from Roma. His goal tally was also less than impressive. Prone to a silly challenge and booking or two, he failed to win over the White Hart Lane faithful.

However, his long absence perhaps made hearts grow fonder. His creativity, undoubted work rate, and effective corners, were attributes overlooked by the doubters. There have been times when his effectiveness from the bench would’ve been readily employed by Spurs.

With confirmation that he is travelling with the squad, club and fans will be intruiged as to how will merge into the altered line up. He hasn’t pulled on the shirt for over a year now, and will be playing alongside new faces.

A change of system for Leicester?

Leicester, sporting new manager Claude Puel, will of course be looking for the home win. Over the last few games, there have been signs that the Foxes are perhaps getting back on track.

Shock Premiership Champions two seasons ago, the East Midlanders have languished in the middle of the table. Times have been tough. Firstly the controversial sacking of Claudio Ranieri, then successor Craig Shakespeare. Leicester have failed to regain form that once led them to glory.

The Foxes faithful and club will be relying on Puel to deliver. The board at the King Power are not known for patience with managers that aren’t achieving targets.

It seems Claude Puel then has decided it is time for a change of system. Without the brilliance of N’golo Kante, who left for Chelsea, the old way was simply not working.

Instead of playing the ball quickly from back to front, usually finding Jamie Vardy, that method now is replaced by finding space for Vincent Iborra.

Iborra appears to have become playmaker, dropping deep to get on the ball. Carving a space through, with accurate passing to forwards. It was evident in the recent draw with West Ham that changes were afoot.

There is a still long way to go before Leicester near the devastating form shown in their title-winning season. With both sides desperate to win, it will be an inviting clash, that could be pivotal in Spurs’ title hopes.

Leicester City v Spurs, in the English Premier League, kicks off at 19.45 at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.

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