José Mourinho’s lineup had two changes from the midweek match against Liverpool. Sergio Reguilon started at left fullback for Ben Davies while Tanguy Ndombele slotted into the lineup for Steven Bergwijn. It would mean both Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso were in the starting XI in a league match, something we’ve all been waiting for.
Spurs and Leicester spent the first twenty minutes of the match trading possession, though Leicester seemed happy to let the home side take the lion’s share and attempt to break on the counter. There weren’t any big chances outside of a good one for Spurs that came on a turnover deep in Leicester’s side, resulting in Heung-Min Son opting to play a low cross in front of the net for Ndombele instead of shooting, but the midfielder couldn’t get on the end of it.
After going half an hour without a shot on target, Spurs earned a free kick about 25 yards away from net. Harry Kane drilled the kick into the wall, with a shout for a hand ball, and forced Kasper Schmeichel into a diving save. VAR did not review the possible penalty as play continued. Kane had another chance on a set piece a few minutes later that was a much better chance, but the attempt was over the crossbar.
While Spurs controlled the match for much of the half, an awful decision by Serge Aurier in stoppage time to plow through Wesley Fofana inside the penalty area resulted in a VAR check. Craig Pawson went to the monitor and, after a quick confirmation, gave the penalty to Leicester. Jamie Vardy went down the middle past a diving Hugo Lloris to give Leicester City a 1-0 going into halftime.
Mourinho made one change for the second half, opting to bring Gareth Bale on for Ndombele to try and freshen up the attack. Just a couple of minutes in, that proved to be a mistake as Giovani Lo Celso had to be subbed off due to injury as Lucas Moura replaced him. The bigger story at that time was Leicester seemingly getting a second goal as James Maddison split the Spurs defense. A VAR check came not long after the goal and found Maddison to be just offside to nullify the goal.
Ultimately, all VAR did was delay the inevitable. Spurs couldn’t crack Leicester’s defense and the Foxes found ways to get forward. Eventually, a long ball to Jamie Vardy that looked like it would be nothing was headed to Toby Alderweireld, who tried to block it from going anywhere. Unfortunately, he sent it into the net as Hugo was diving to stop it. Own Goal, 2-0 Leicester.
Spurs had a huge chance in the 71st minute on a corner kick. The initial ball in was flicked on to the back post and found Sonny, who seemed to scuff it a bit but still made decent contact. Somehow, Schmeichel got a flailing hand on the ball to deny Sonny a goal and keeping his clean sheet in tact. While Spurs had a couple of half chances after that save, Leicester managed to keep the home side far away enough from goal without much in the way of stress.
Thoughts on the Match:
- Painful, painful match. There were some chances, but that match was awful to watch.
- Aurier’s mistake was abysmal. There was no reason to plow through Fofana and it changed the course of this match.
- Subbing out Ndombele for Bale when Sissoko couldn’t complete a pass will be the biggest head scratcher for me. Gio’s injury shortly after handcuffed the midfield.
- While there’s an argument to make that Spurs played well at Liverpool, I can’t make that same argument today. Spurs were just not good.
- Spurs drop to fourth in the league with today’s result. They’ll have two days to clear their heads before heading to Stoke for the quarterfinal of the Carabao Cup.