After 4 away games across the past two weeks, Tottenham are finally back home to face Leicester City at White Hart Lane on Saturday. It is Spurs’ first appearance here since the second day of October, when they demolished Manchester City 2-0 in their best performance of the season thus far. It seemed like the only way was up from there, but nothing could be further from the truth as witnessed by three draws and a loss in the next four encounters. The major issue has been on the goal scoring front.
It is six weeks since Harry Kane’s ankle injury. Since then, Spurs have turned to both Heung-Min Son and Vincent Janssen to lead the line. Neither have convinced, Son’s initial bright patch being replaced by frustration and Janssen impressing with his hold-up play but looking increasingly unlikely to find the back of the net. Apart from via the penalty spot. Mauricio Pochettino would no doubt give anything to have Kane back, but must find a way through without him for another week at least.
Tottenham have managed just 2 goals from their past 4 matches, covering three different competitions, with Kane’s absence felt more and more in the passing of time. They need goals, and more threat from the likes of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, who have just one between them in the Premier League this season. This is an astonishing statistic for players of such quality, with Lamela’s opening day strike the only time either has appeared on the score sheet. Lamela may not start against Leicester after his appearance in the League cup mid-week, so Eriksen needs a big performance to offer an alternative threat to Son and Dele Alli.
Whilst the defence continues to hold up admirably despite Toby Aldereweireld’s absence, the same cannot be said of forays into attack. Spurs have at times appeared lost for ideas up front, dominating possession but wasteful and limited in the front half. Sideways passing and waiting for gaps to open up appears the order of the day on the edge of the final third. But there is simply too much waiting and not enough creating.
There is a lack of synergy between Vincent Janssen and his teammates, who do not play off him as well as they might. Spurs need to make the most of Janssen’s strengths; his own strength and power to hold off defenders, and look to run past him for scoring opportunities. Dele Alli does this well, but he cannot do it alone and can be covered when the only threat. This is where Eriksen needs to impact proceedings, as he has proven capable of in the past.
Both Janssen and Son have performed admirably, the latter though is not really a striker. Son is a left winger or attacking midfielder who is at his best cutting inside and fashioning chances with power and through use of angles, dribbling past defenders. His performance at Middlesborough on the left, with a brace and where Janssen played up front, is the perfect example. This may be the blueprint, or at least the starting point, for how Spurs line up against the Foxes.