With some rough play so far this season and coming off a loss to Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur needed a good result to regain confidence and solidify their place high up the Premier League table going into the international break (seriously, y tho). Leicester’s horrific form, especially away from home, combined with the aforementioned sluggish Spurs defeat in midweek meant it looked as if the time was ripe for Dr Tottenham to pay a visit. Thankfully, this wasn’t to be the case, as a Sonny a day keeps the doctor away!
Conte looked to make some changes after the aforementioned European tie. An unusual selection of Ivan Perisic at right wingback allowed Ryan Sessegnon to come into the XI on the left; Clement Lenglet returned to start at left centre back following an injury to Ben Davies; and Davinson Sanchez got a start as Cristian Romero was sat, presumably to aid his recent injury recovery. The big news though was the return of Dejan Kulusevski at the expense of Son Heung-Min. Son’s form had been extremely poor thus far this season, and Deki had probably been unlucky to see the bench on a number of occasions.
It was an extremely frenetic start to the match, with Tottenham putting a lot of pressure on Leicester’s shaky backline. But all that looked for naught when Davinson Sanchez, in his own moment of sheer shakiness, caught the heel of James Justin and conceded a penalty. Hugo Lloris saved from Tielemans’ spot kick, but VAR called for a retake as Hugo had not kept a foot on the goal line. Lloris could not stop the second attempt as Leicester went ahead.
But it wasn’t for long, as Dejan Kulusevski made his presence felt, curling the ball far post off a short corner routine. Harry Kane was there to nod home yet again against his seeming nemesis Leicester, and the scores were even once more. After a small period of Leicester possession, Richarlison then won a second corner for Spurs, smartly playing the ball off a Leicester defender. Spurs’ set piece success continued, as Perisic played the ball in near post and Eric Dier flicked the ball on to celebrate his England call-up with a goal. Tottenham went into the lead for the first time in the match.
Spurs had the ball in the net a third time, off yet another corner kick. Unfortunately, this time the referee stepped in and overturned the goal for a foul by Davinson Sanchez on Leicester keeper Danny Ward. VAR took a look just in case but was satisfied the on-field decision was the correct one.
Leicester once more settled into a spell of possession, but Spurs’ defence was compact and restricted the Leicester attack to mostly just pot shots, skewing wide or blocked by Tottenham players. Eventually, the mounting pressure told as Ryan Sessegnon misjudged a long ball over the top to Timothy Castagne. The once-Spurs-linked fullback won the ball wide and played the ball in to James Maddison who sliced an audacious finish into the goal, squaring the scoreline.
Another Tottenham set piece nearly resulted in another goal. Perisic played in the ball off a free kick and Davinson Sanchez’s header looked destined to nestle in the back of the net before Danny Ward stretched to tip the ball onto the bar. Leicester then looked to hit back as Maddison was found in acres of space to the right of the Tottenham goalbox, but Hugo Lloris made an excellent save. The half flew by, and the sides went into the break 2 apiece.
It was a fantastic start to the second half by Spurs. Wilfried Ndidi dawdled on the ball and Rodrigo Bentancur picked his pocket with a good tackle. Driving forward, Bentancur slotted past Ward for a rare collector’s item of a goal, putting Tottenham into the lead.
Some more good Spurs play resulted in a Kulusevski effort blazed over the bar, followed by another corner kick. Dier once more flicked on at the near post but this time the effort settled in the gloves of Danny Ward. Speaking of collector’s items, Conte then made an early substitution, with Emerson Royal entering the fray for Ivan Perisic.
Hugo Lloris then made another fantastic save on a Patson Daka header after Sanchez lost his man, before more subs were seen: Romero for Davinson Sanchez and Son for Richarlison. The changes didn’t quite click straight away though for Tottenham, with the match being played at breakneck speed as Leicester had another dangerous look at goal after breaking down the right-hand side. Tottenham then made their final set of changes at the 70 minute mark, opting to only use one of their two remaining substitutions. Yves Bissouma came on for Kulusevski, signalling a shift to a somewhat defensive 3-5-2 formation.
But the defensive shift did not mean a stop to Tottenham goals. Son drove forward after a Leicester turnover and arrowed a phenomenal strike top corner from outside the box to break his duck for the season and send both the crowd and technical area into wild celebrations.
There was nearly a fifth for Spurs after a neat little flick by Harry Kane freed him down the left. He looked for Son in the box but his pass was deflected; Bentancur making a late run looked to drive it home from the penalty spot but his connection was weak and Ward saved. It was all happening in the last 15 minutes as Romero of all people then missed a tap-in as Son squared it to him in the box. The offside flag saved Cuti his blushes, but Spurs were unfortunate not to be further ahead.
Sonny then decided to twist the knife. He received the ball outside the box from a Harry Kane pass, and sent a gorgeous left-footed strike from 20 yards past Danny Ward and into the goal. With the game opening up, there was acres of space in behind the Leicester defence, and Son made the most of that with a great run found by Hojbjerg. Into the box, he drove the ball under Danny Ward to send the Tottenham fans into raptures and secure a hat-trick in less than 15 minutes. There was a momentary pause to the celebrations as the linesman raised his flag for offside, but VAR confirmed the timing of Hojbjerg’s pass was inch-perfect, and the goal stood.
There could have been more goals, with a couple of long-range Leicester efforts and some more Tottenham breaks forward, but after 4 added minutes the full-time whistle blew and Spurs secured 3 points with a 6-2 win.
- Well, you can’t really start anywhere else but Sonny right? What a statement. He had something to prove, to himself as much as others, and did so in style.
- I thought Hugo Lloris had an outstanding match, with a number of really good saves. Dejan Kulusevski was also particularly good and looked very sharp upon his deserved return to the starting XI.
- This was quite an interesting match. Though Leicester were clearly more comfortable in possession than Spurs, both teams often looked to attack in transition, with fast breaks forward resulting in a number of frantic end-to-end situations. Thankfully, that played into Tottenham’s hands.
- It was a mixed performance though from Spurs, despite the scoreline. They weren’t great in the first half, but to their credit really turned up the dial in the second and came out strong with a more intense press resulting in an early goal.
- Speaking of mixed performances, Clement Lenglet had a strange match. He did some really nice things in possession, but out of possession was caught far too narrow in the box on a number of occasions, resulting in Leicester attackers having acres of space for shots. It was as if he forgot he was playing in a back 3!
- Less said about Davinson Sanchez’s performance, the better.
- Brendan Rodgers could find himself in a bit of trouble with the Leicester board after this match. Will be interesting to see if he keeps his job.
- Another 3 points! COYS!!!