Antonio Conte’s men have slipped in recent weeks, drawing 0-0 to Brentford and losing 1-0 to Brighton last time they were in N17. It means arch-rivals Arsenal – who also play later today – are two points clear right now.
Spurs can put the pressure back on the Gunners with a valuable three points against the Foxes, but it won’t be easy as the Europa Conference League semi-finalists always pose a big threat on their day, with players like James Maddison, Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans at Brenden Rodgers’ disposal.
This encounter could be won or lost on the flanks, where the Italian’s system is heavily reliant on the wing-backs contributing both offensively and defensively, and it is also an area of concern in recent matches, too.
Emerson Royal has struggled to adapt to English football for large parts of the 2021/22 campaign, since his move from FC Barcelona in the summer, and with Matt Doherty’s season over through injury, it’s hard to drop him.
But that is indeed what Conte must do, with up-and-coming U23 starlet Marcel Lavinier waiting in the wings. He is also able to utilise a Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn or Dejan Kulusevski in the role if need be.
The visiting Midlands outfit possess some strong players in the wide department too – 42% of their play comes down the Brazilian’s flank, so you can expect Harvey Barnes to be very involved, if not Ademola Lookman.
Over the course of the campaign, supporters have been left frustrated by Emerson’s performances with many describing him as a “liability“, whilst former Lilywhites and Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate once described the 23-year-old as “horrendous“.
The £25m-rated right-back is dribbled past an average of once per game, has been a part of only four clean sheets from 26 league appearances and only wins possession back 0.2 times per outing too, as per SofaScore, which only emphasises his weakness and up against Barnes and co, he could be badly exposed.
As such, the Italian head coach must make a bold and ruthless call to axe Emerson from his starting XI this afternoon. He’s short on options but it would be a telling sign of Emerson’s ability.
AND in other news, Conte drops Oliver Skipp injury update ahead of Foxes clash…