Leicester City (Top six finish – 6/1) have been dealt a big blow after star striker Jamie Vardy was ruled out for up to eight weeks with a hamstring problem, while Tottenham Hotspur’s (Top four finish – 2/1) Son Heung-min is out until February with a calf issue.
Vardy, 34, suffered the injury during Leicester’s 1-0 win against Liverpool last month after being rested for their Boxing Day defeat at Manchester City.
He will not require surgery on the problem, but the injury is worse than first feared, meaning Vardy will miss a big chunk of games in the upcoming weeks.
Leicester’s defence of the FA Cup begins against Watford (Match betting – Leicester 7/10, Draw 11/4, Watford 18/5) on Saturday at the King Power Stadium before they travel to Everton on Tuesday in the Premier League.
Vardy has been used more sparingly this season as he approaches the back end of his career, but he has still been highly effective for the Foxes.
The Premier League winner from 2015-16 is the highest-scoring Englishman in the top flight with nine goals to date this season.
Boss Brendan Rodgers revealed the extent of Vardy’s injury at his pre-match press conference on Friday, saying: “Jamie will be out for a number of weeks. It’s been unfortunate for him but we’re looking at up to eight weeks. He’ll be out for a period of time.
“His is the higher end of his hamstring, you are looking into March for Jamie. He doesn’t need an operation and that was the only good news from it.”
Meanwhile, Spurs will be without Son until potentially February after he injured his calf during the first leg of Tuesday’s EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea (Tottenham 16/1 to win EFL Cup).
The South Korean will miss the second leg of that tie, as well as the North London derby against Arsenal on January 16.
“The day after Son felt a bit of pain in his muscle, in his leg and he had a scan,” said manager Antonio Conte. “Now we have to make the right evaluations from the doctors.”