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Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leicester City: Spurs thrash free-falling Foxes to move to sixth

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Kane brace? A clean sheet? What is this madness!?!

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa League chances are alive and well after a resounding 3-0 victory over Leicester City Sunday afternoon at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs stuck with their lineup from the last two matches, intent on challenging Leicester’s patchwork back line. The Foxes were forced to go with a 3-4-3 due to the suspensions and injuries facing them.

Spurs took advantage of that weakened back line in the sixth minute. Kane floated a gorgeous long pass to Heung-Min Son on the left flank, then bolted down the pitch as Son charged into the penalty area. Son opted to take it himself and try a curling effort. His ball was deflected by James Justin into the net as Kasper Schmeichel dove away from it to make it 1-0.

Leicester settled into the match and held possession after the goal for long stretches, forcing Tottenham to try and press them in spots to loosen up the defense. The Foxes had a huge opportunity in the 20th minute on a corner kick as Wes Morgan had a headed effort get hung up by Jamie Vardy, who then attempted a backheel that was blocked by Hugo Lloris. Leicester were threatening but Spurs were up to the challenge so far.

Leicester continued their push after the drink break. In the 25th minute, Spurs defense switched off a bit and allowed a cross into the box that found Ayoze Perez, who chested it down and ripped a shot that looked headed for the corner. Hugo made an incredible diving save to deflect the ball just wide of the net and preserve the lead.

Spurs got a chance to answer in the 30th minute. Harry Winks made a brilliant pass over the top to Sonny to put him in on net. Sonny opted to go high, but Schmeichel made a brilliant leaping save to deny the Korean International a second goal.

While Spurs supporters were still coming down from their celebration, the home side added to the jubilation. Lucas absolutely ruined Harvey Barnes to start the attack again. He fed Kane, who carried it just outside the penalty area and took two touches to his right, ripping a curler past Schmeichel and clanking it off the post into the net. 3-0, just like that, and that’s how the first half ended.

Second Half

Leicester were forced to revert to a back four to start the second half due to the deficit, bringing on Demarai Gray for Ryan Bennett. Spurs made no changes to their lineup or formation.

The Foxes controlled the action to start but didn’t have much to show for it outside of a couple of half-chances. Their best opportunity was in the 57th minute on a free kick that Hugo made a great leaping save to deny the visitors. Spurs were defending well and forcing Leicester to push further up into attack. Brendan Rodgers eventually pulled Ayoze Perez and brought on Kelechi Iheanacho just before the 60th minute in hopes of sparking their attack.

Spurs continued their defensive bunker, frustrating Leicester as they pushed forward. Jonny Evans and Harry Kane got tangled up in the 76th minute while fighting for a ball. Evans, in the battle, backhanded Kane in what looked like a punch. Confusion ensued as Taylor brandished a yellow card, but never showed it to Evans, putting it back. It would have been his second yellow and, thus, a sending off. It also appeared that VAR never actually reviewed the play for violent conduct. An absolutely ridiculous series of events that ended with no punishment to Evans.

Leicester couldn’t string together an attack and were forced to take pot shots. Iheanacho had a great curling effort denied yet again by Hugo in the 87th minute. The Frenchman made a dive to his right to preserve his clean sheet.

Thoughts on the match

  • This was a masterclass in Mourinho-ball: Defend well, hit on the counter, bury chances.
  • Hugo was top class today. He made a few amazing saves and deserved the clean sheet.
  • Rumors of Kane’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Both of those goals today were vintage Harry.
  • You’re welcome, Manchester United.
  • Anthony Taylor sucks. Jonny Evans should have been sent off with his smack to Kane’s face, but Taylor inexplicably didn’t show a card. Then he should have been sent off for his challenge on Lamela at the end.
  • Tip of the hat to the back line today, especially Ben Davies. They defended so well and turned every set piece and corner kick into nothing.
  • I thought Sissoko was a bit off the pace today. A tad unusual from him given how good he’s been, but I don’t think he was terrible by any stretch.
  • Shout out to Serge. The man lost his brother in the most tragic of ways, yet he hasn’t missed a match.
  • Spurs move into sixth place for the time being. Root for Palace tomorrow against Wolves.
  • Final match of the season is next Sunday against Crystal Palace, who are well safe from relegation and may be on the beach.