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The Malevolent God of Banter: Previewing ​Spurs vs. Leicester

While Leicester have taken the 38-game-open-top-bus-tour approach to this season, Spurs are fighting at the top once more. But after a brace of draws, they badly need a win against the champions this weekend.
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13 January 2016: it is the 83rd minute of Spurs vs. Leicester at White Hart Lane. With the match heading towards a 0-0 draw, Christian Fuchs delivers an out-swinging corner up into the January night sky. The flight of the ball deceives everyone – except for Robert Huth. The German crouches and, from a completely standing start, plants a glorious header past Hugo Lloris to take Leicester joint-top of the league, and prompt a collective "fuck, could they actually do this?" from an entire nation.


Fond memories, then, for the Foxes as they travel to White Hart Lane – and in truth that might well be all they have on Saturday afternoon, and over the course of the domestic season. That's because Claudio Ranieri has launched his own personal Against Modern Football campaign, deciding to sack off the lucrative business of finishing as high as possible in the Premier League so as to focus on European success.

And who can honestly say that, given last season's exploits, they'd have the heart to bring Jamie, Riyad and co. in for extra training after hammerings at Anfield, Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford? Defending a title is very difficult at the best of times, let alone when you're Leicester City, so why not take the 38-game-open-top-bus-tour approach to things? In the age of heat maps and hyper-scrutiny, brazenly not giving a shit is pretty much the most subversive thing you can do – and it must be applauded.

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Spurs, meanwhile, are trying to go one better than last season, when they forced their way into genuine title contention only to finally be denied in the Spursiest circumstances imaginable at Stamford Bridge. After successive league draws against West Brom and Bournemouth, Mauricio Pochettino lamented the lack of depth in his squad – but wasn't that meant to be the problem last season? The short answer is yes, but the tacit admission that Spurs are still overly reliant on Harry Kane to put the ball in the net shouldn't come as too much of a concern just yet.

Traditionally slow starters, Tottenham are still undefeated. Their defensive record is comfortably the division's best, meaning that they're still just a point off the top despite a small dip in form.

And yet – after dropping points in a match that saw Jack Wilshere complete 90 minutes for the first time in 771 days – you do start to wonder whether there might be a God after all. Not in any conventional religious sense, but a malevolent God of banter who really, really hates Tottenham. Despite a transformation from talented-but-flimsy-Harry-Redknapp-boys-club into actually-quite-good-European-outfit, you get a sense that the 'lads, it's Tottenham' essence is still at least partially embedded in their psyche. Fail to beat an undercooked Leicester City side and Sir Alex Ferguson's words will ring true once more.