Having already played Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund twice each, it could strangely still be argued that we’re currently embarking on our most challenging period of the season thus far – there are 27 points at stake during the next 5 weeks.
The first test is tonight when we travel to the King Power. A repeat of last season’s absolute battering of the home team is unlikely, any sort of win would do in its stead to be honest. Leicester have had a different manager the last two times we’ve played them and there’s another new one on this occasion as well. After replacing Craig Shakespeare, Claude Puel won his first game in charge against Everton but since then they’ve drawn at Stoke and West Ham but lost at home to Man City, a game in which they played well and were a tad unfortunate against the Bank of Abu Dhabi All Stars. We should be warned.
As usual the threat from Leicester comes from the pace and determination of Vardy and Mahrez though Gray has also been getting some good write-ups of late. Ndidi and Iborra are trying to emulate Kante and Drinkwater in midfield whilst at the back, Morgan, Simpson and Fuchs attempt to turn back time under the leadership of England’s Harry Maguire.
On our side we can probably expect a swap of full backs, Rose and Aurier in, Davies and Trippier out whilst there are rumours that Winks is doubtful in the middle meaning that Sissoko may start. It’ll be interesting to see what Poch decides to do with Harry, Eriksen, Dele and Son. If only Llorente, NKoudou or Edwards was a viable alternative. We are missing Wanyama and a fully fit Dembele. It’ll be a bit of a muddle of a side possibly but needs must.
There is no doubt that Son excepted we were short of pace on Saturday. The change in full back personnel will help with that tonight but it must be at the front of Pochettino’s mind given the transfer window opening in just a few weeks.
The possibility of Lamela being available from the bench is an intriguing one – he will need much patience I’ve no doubt.
The great results against the European big boys have come at a cost in terms of injury and fatigue, both physical and mental. We all know how much emphasis Poch places on the latter quality, it’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to the disappointing result on Saturday.
Anthony Taylor is the referee.
Have something to tell us about this article?