Tottenham win 3-1 t0 make it four league wins in a row and still chasing the top two thanks to a plethora of missed opportunities from the away side, including a missed penalty by Jamie Vardy.
Leicester were the team that put most of the pressure on throughout the entirety of the match, but it was Spurs who found the net first after a corner routine linked Christian Eriksen and Davinson Sanchez, and the Colombian headed in his first goal for Tottenham.
Around 15 minutes into the second half, Leicester were awarded a penalty and a route back into the game for a clumsy challenge by Jan Vertonghen. James Maddison looked set to take it but Vardy jogged on from the bench to try and convert with his first kick of the match. His poor placement into the bottom-left corner saw Hugo Lloris guess correctly to push the ball behind and keep the hosts in front.
Three minutes later, Oliver Skipp blocked a clearance (which could have been an unintentional handball), and Fernando Llorente tapped the ball to Eriksen, who struck into the bottom corner from outside the box.
Leicester were given a lifeline when Ricardo Pereira sent in a low cross towards Vardy, who should not have missed from so close in. However, against the run of play once again, Tottenham secured the win in stoppage time when Leicester sent every man forward to try and grab an equaliser. Heung-Min Son was put through on goal and ran the entire length of the opposition’s half to calmly slide the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.
A result to defy the stats
For the entirety of the game Leicester looked the better team, and certainly had the better of the chances. It’s a telling statement that the penalty wasn’t the best opportunity that the Foxes had on the day. One wasted chance that sticks in the mind was when Harvey Barnes was given the freedom of the entire left side of the box, had the whole goal to aim at, but somehow managed to hit his shot far too close to the keeper.
Leicester had a total of 20 shots putting nine on target, while Spurs had twelve, and you can’t say that Spurs’ defending was the cause of the lack of Leicester goals. If they had have converted the golden opportunities they had, they almost certainly would have won the match.
The last two results have been slightly unfortunate from Leicester’s point of view – the Foxes had more shots than Manchester United last week but failed to score and lost 1-0. Claude Puel, who has been under pressure this season, should ideally be safe from being sacked if his team continue to play like they did on Sunday – after all, there’s not a lot a manager can do to stop his players missing golden opportunities like they did. A lack of clinical finishing often leads to results going against you. Especially against one of the best sides in the league.
An important victory for Tottenham
With an extremely difficult Champions League tie just a couple of games away, Mauricio Pochettino will be relieved to have claimed three points to keep themselves in the title race ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s visit to Wembley.
With Liverpool emphatically picking up three points on Saturday, anything but a win for Spurs would have realistically put a halt to their title ambitions and forced their attention on the top four. The home team were not at their best but got the job done against a team with a good record against top-six opposition.
In fact, Spurs have not played phenomenally in their last four league games but have won the lot, which is supposedly the sign of a good team. After the Champions League and FA Cup break, Liverpool face a Manchester United team in viscous form – if Tottenham beat Burnley on Sunday they will be two points behind both Liverpool and Manchester City ahead of the clash of the Reds the day after.
Son thwarted for ninety minutes
Heung-min Son has been such a valuable asset for Spurs over the last few games, but had an uncharacteristic afternoon on Sunday, that is until his stoppage-time goal went in when ten Leicester players were practically up the other side of the pitch.
Son failed to create much when he found himself on the ball, and was handled well by Harry Maguire and the rest of the Leicester defence. The South Korean didn’t help himself much by straying offside four or five times throughout the game.
Tottenham will hope that this is a special circumstance for Son and that Leicester simply set up to target the 26-year-old. With Kane and Alli remaining out until March, Son’s form is crucial going into an important run of fixtures for Spurs.
An impressive debut for Youri Tielemans
The Belgian prospect has recently arrived in Leicester on loan from Monaco and had a debut to be proud of. He orchestrated many of Leicester’s numerous attacks and practically covered every blade of grass in the central third.
Although he may be disheartened by the fact that his teammates couldn’t convert some of the chances he helped create, Leicester as a whole should be buoyed by this performance from their deadline day signing.
Roberto Martinez took Tielemans to the World Cup over the summer and at 21 years old, he could be another Belgian player to keep a keen eye on this season.
Lloris still one of the best in the league?
In the last month there have been some inspired goalkeeping performances across the Premier League – Ben Foster keeping a string of clean sheets for Watford and David De Gea back to being the brick wall in the United net are two examples that spring to mind.
In amongst these performances, Spurs’ Hugo Lloris has been making some impressive saves and has possibly had one of his most consistent seasons in North London. On Sunday he made some potentially game saving stops – one of them a penalty save.
At a riper age of 32, Spurs are fortunate that they have a decent backup keeper in the form of Gazzaniga to potentially take his place in the future. But goalkeepers can play way into their thirties, as Ben Foster has proven, and it would be no overstatement to say that Lloris remains an invaluable player at Tottenham.
Man of the Match – Christian Eriksen
Perhaps giving a Leicester player such as Ricardo Pereira man of the match wouldn’t be wholly unjustified, but Eriksen stood out in a slightly incoherent Spurs side, and his goal was slotted home as accurately as you would expect from the Dane as well as his assist that opened the scoring.