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Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 1 Leicester City: Spurs maintain third place after gritty performance

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That was a wild one!

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

A track meet broke out at Wembley Stadium today as Tottenham Hotspur outlasted a feisty Leicester City squad, beating the Foxes by a final score of 3-1.

The match started brightly for Spurs as they controlled the first several minutes of play but couldn’t get a decent shot off that wasn’t in traffic. Leicester had the first chance after weathering the storm on a set piece to center back Harry Maguire, but his headed effort was flipped over the crossbar by Hugo Lloris. Spurs turned the ball over not long after that, giving Harvey Barnes a chance on net, but his curled effort went wide of the net out to touch.

Spurs had a big penalty shout in the 16th minute as Heung-Min Son received a pass from Eriksen and tried to come back to the attack. Maguire stuck his leg out and might have clipped the ball but his leg took out Sonny’s. Inexplicably, Michael Oliver gave a yellow card to Son for diving. That seemed to fire up the attack as they came right back on a counter. Danny Rose took the initial shot in the attack, which was saved by Kasper Schmeichel. A bit of miscommunication between Fernando Llorente and Christian Eriksen resulted in a half-hearted attempt that ended up going out to touch.

The breakthrough in the match came for Spurs in the 33rd minute of a corner kick. Kieran Trippier opted to play it back towards midfield to an open Eriksen. The Danish International then played a gorgeous ball into the box, finding the head of Davinson Sanchez who drove it home into the net. Leicester called for offside, but replays showed the Colombian was on and Spurs had the lead.

Spurs held possession for most of the remainder, though Leicester pushed up late. A wild shot from the corner by Youri Tielemans, who made his debut for the Foxes today, curled toward the net and forced Hugo to make an awkward save where the French Captain almost impaled himself on the woodwork. The half came to end shortly after that, with Spurs maintaining their 1-0 lead.

Second Half

Leicester started the second half out on the stronger foot, making a few pushes into the penalty area but getting snuffed out by Spurs’ defense. Their best opportunity came on a headed effort just a few years out from goal, but the shot was right at Hugo, who caught it in his stomach to end the chance. The chance essentially repeated itself in the 55th minute as Demarai Gray got an effort off but shot it right at Hugo again.

Leicester City’s continued push into the penalty area seemed to pay off initially in the 59th minute. After the ridiculous booking on Son in the first half for diving, Michael Oliver gave a penalty to the Foxes for Vertonghen’s challenge on James Maddison. Replay showed it was marginal at best, but the call was made. Leicester subbed on Jamie Vardy to take the penalty, but Hugo was up to the challenge and made a massive save to his right, sending the ball out to touch and preserve his clean sheet.

Spurs made the penalty miss hurt in the worst possible way. Finally breaking free on attack in the 64th minute, Spurs forced a turnover. Llorente played a cool pass outside of the penalty area to Eriksen, who ripped a shot between four players and past Schmeichel, making it 2-0.

Leicester tried to answer back almost immediately in the 66th minute as Barnes came free on the wing, one on one with Hugo. His shot was low and powerful, but Hugo was not to be beaten as he made a kick save to deny the Foxes yet again.

The Foxes turned up the press to try and force the issue. It eventually paid off for the Foxes as Tielemans fed Ricardo Pereira out to the wing, who played a low cross in for Vardy. He played a quick one time shot that managed to just slip by Hugo, making it 2-1.

The final fifteen minutes started just as nervy as the prior run with Leicester constantly pressuring the back line of Tottenham, getting some chances that included a one-time effort by Jamie Vardy that ended up high over the crossbar but forced the Spurs faithful at Wembley to collectively hold their breath and gasp.

Spurs somehow weathered the storm and put the dagger in the heart in the 91st minute. Moussa Sissoko cleared a cross out beautifully to a streaking Sonny, who made the full run on his own past the Leicester defenders. One on one with Schmeichel and just the slightest of head fakes to send him the wrong way, Sonny curled it into the net to make it 3-1. That’s how the match ended as Spurs held serve to stay five back of Liverpool.

Thoughts on the Match

  • I’m getting this out of the way now: Michael Oliver was awful today. Absolutely terrible. I have no idea what he was looking at on both of the penalty shouts, but Sonny should have been given a penalty and Maddison should not have. I’ll die on this hill.
  • That being said, Hugo was absolutely immense today. There was little he could do about Vardy’s one-timer but he stood on his head today. Eight saves for our beautiful captain.
  • I’ll continue singing the praises of one Moussa Sissoko. His battery never seems to run out and he was solid today.
  • Nothing makes me happier than seeing Sonny sliding on his knees after a goal. What a wonderful player.
  • Llorente providing that lovely touch to Eriksen made it worth him being up top. He was kind of anonymous but a lot of it wasn’t his fault. Service was tough to come by in the first half, but that assist came at the perfect time.
  • Trippier had a weird one today. He was incredibly high up the pitch a lot of time and when he came back on defense, he was so-so at best. Sissoko was basically filling it at right back for a long stretch of the second half.
  • Spurs hold serve on a weekend they needed to. They remain five back of Liverpool and will either gain ground on City in second place or will be ten points up on fifth place with twelve matches to play.
  • WE. DO. NOT. DRAW.