Son-shine for Spurs: Leicester v Tottenham Match Review
Tottenham had the final say in a trilogy of games against high-flying Leicester that took place over the last 10 days. After a draw and a defeat against the Foxes, Spurs were looking to get their win back. And thanks to an inspired performance by South Korean forward Heung-Min Son the Lilywhites cruised to a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium.
There was much rotation for both sides, with Leicester leaving star men Vardy, Mahrez and Kante on the bench, whilst Spurs made eight changes to the side that routed Sunderland. Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Eric Dier who was shifted back into centre-half were the only survivors from the match against Sunderland. After a jittery opening in which Dier and the returning Bentaleb both lost possession cheaply, Spurs quickly calmed their nerves and set into a comfortable rhythm that set the tune for the majority of the match. Leicester had switched to a 4-3-3 with Leandro Ulloa has the lone front man. And without the twin threats of Vardy and Mahrez, the Foxes struggled to find any meaningful out-ball into the Spurs half leaving Tom Carroll and Nabil Bentaleb (who are arguably two of Spurs best at a technical level) to control the tempo of the game.
The first effort of the game came when Son, who seems to be getting better with each performance, pulled a ball back for the onrushing Eriksen who hacked his shot wide. Leicester man Gokhan Inler then squandered a free-kick in a good position by lofting the ball into deputy keeper Michel Vorm’s arms. Spurs again looked dangerous as Ben Davies deep cross was met by the leaping Erik Lamela who misjudged his header seeing it fly over the bar.
Spurs were in no mood however to see another match against Leicester slip away from them despite intense pressure. And it was the best player on the pitch Heung-Min Son, who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck on the 39th minute. Bentaleb won the ball before quick feet from Erik Lamela found Tom Carroll in space. Carroll popped off a first time pass into the path of Son, who took teenage full-back Ben Chilwell on the outside, before unleashing a right-footed drive from around 20 yards that threatened to rip Kasper Schemeichel’s net. The Dane had no chance of stop Son’s effort which was his 5th of the season.
In an attempt to replicate the result in the first leg, Claudio Ranieri introduced Shinji Okazaki at half-time. There was nearly a reply from Leicester when Bentaleb and Dier got in a tangle and winger Demarai Gray freed himself to test Michel Vorm’s goal. The Dutchman was equal to it however and parried to safety. This was arguably our No.2’s best performance in a Spurs shirt and went some way to easing the nerves many have when he stands in for the imperious Lloris.
Seeking to kill the game, Pochettino introduced Harry Kane for Erik Lamela, and this switch nearly paid dividends immediately has the England international saw an effort saved by Schmeichel moments after coming on. The Leicester keeper was left hopeless only moments later however after a slick Spurs move culminated in Son playing a perfectly weighted pass through the Leicester defence for Nacer Chadli to grab his first goal since the second game of the season against Stoke.
This proved to be game over, as Leicester made some effort to go forward, but in reality had their focus firmly on the next league fixture. Despite facing a lacklustre Leicester, this was an impressive display from the Spurs second-string who gave coach Pochettino much food for thought. Tottenham now go onto face League One strugglers Colchester in the 4th round in what will be the first time the clubs have met in their history. This was a slick and professional performance that shows Tottenham have real potential to go deep in this years competition.