SATURDAY 29th OCTOBER, 2016
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1) LEICESTER CITY 1(0)
Janssen (pen), 44
Referee:- Bobby Madley
Assistants:- M. Perry & C. Hatzidakis
Fourth official:- G. Scott
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Dier, Vertongen, Rose; Wanyama (sub Winks, 87), Dembele; Eriksen, Alli (sub Nkoudou, 83), Son; Janssen
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Davies; Onomah
Booked:- Rose (dissent after foul on Okazaki), Son (foul on Musa), Wanyama (foul on Okazaki)
Leicester (4-4-2):- Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan (Capt.), Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez (sub Albrighton, 72), King, Drinkwater, Musa (sub Schlupp, 68); Okazaki (sub Ulloa, 78), Vardy
Subs not used:- Zieler; Amartey, Hernandez; Gray
Booked:- Mahrez (foul on Rose), Musa (foul on Alli), Vardy (dissent), Simpson (foul on Son)
Spurs not clinical enough - or just unlucky?
Spurs might be unbeaten in their ten Premier League games, but it's five wins and five draws so far, and no win since the Man City game on 2nd October. While we were drawing with reigning Champions Leicester, Manchester City were thrashing West Brom 4-0 and Arsenal were on their way home from Sunderland after a 4-1 away win.
Leicester, who, to be honest, are not making much of a defence of their title win, did put an end to their run of four away defeats, the last three of which have been by three goals. Indeed Spurs could also have come away with a victory by three goals had it not been for Kasper Schemichel's crossbar which kept out two Spurs efforts on goal. Other efforts also went close.
Mauricio Pochettino's line-up was not quite as anticipated, with Erik Lamela absent even from the bench. Son was given a spot on the left of midfield, with Vincent Janssen given the task of leading the line. Janssen performed well too, scoring his third penalty goal of the season, and hitting one of the shots which had Schmeichel beaten, but not his goal.
The Leicester fans were crowing about their title win, and of course they are entitled to such gloating. Mimicking the chants of Spurs fans after their 4-0 win at Stoke in the Spring, the Leicester fans sang "We're coming/waiting for you", and of course "We're Champions of England, we know what we are"
Claudio Ranieri adopted an attacking line-up with King and Drinkwater the defensive midfielders, but both Mahrez and Musa given the flanks behind Okazaki and Vardy.
Spurs reverted to type somewhat, with Dembele playing beside Wanyama.
Leicester got men behind the ball, and closed us down in all areas successfully, but they were always a threat on the break. I wish our players could find the space that seemed to be available to "The Foxes" when a long ball was played forward, which so often did find a blue-shirted player.
Spurs did have some bright attacks, with Dele Alli undoubtedly the most clever of our forwards, whilst Janssen was strong against the big units of both Morgan and Huth in the middle of Leicester's defence.
Although it is still October, and Remembrance Day is two weeks away, Spurs paid their respects to those who have fallen and made sacrifices for their country, and there was a magnificent rendition of "The Last Post".
Leicester were immediately on the front foot, having kicked off towards The Paxton Road end and Spurs had to deal with a dangerous cross by Musa on the left. Kyle Walker won a corner at the other end, but Son hit the first defender with his disappointing kick. Eriksen proved adept at this trait too often too.
Spurs won another corner after 12 minutes, when referee Bobby Madley initially gave a goal kick. The kick was taken on the left and cleared as far as Dele Alli, who hit a good shot which was well saved by Schmeichel. A minute later Victor Wanyama took the ball forward and found Danny Rose on his left. Rose took a pop at goal, but Schmeichel saved again.
Leicester countered with the trio of Vardy, Okazak and Musa threatening. Spurs cleared from Musa on the left for Leicester.
Dele Alli appeared to be fouled just outside the box by Danny Simpson, but the referee was having none of it. After a foul which was given on Dele Alli, Eriksen took the kick, which passed just outside Schemichel's right-hand post. Alli was again the target for the Leicester defence when he met Danny Rose's cross from the left, and went to ground just inside the box, with his back to goal. Spurs had a penalty shout, but it was not successful.
A great ball by Eric Dier reached Rose again advancing down the left. He crossed, and Alli had an attempt at the back post, as did Son, who was blocked. Finally, Wanyama fired wide.
A similar ball to that of Dier to Rose was sent by Vertonghen to Kyle Walker, but Leicester blocked the advance and countered in dangerous fashion. A foul was given against Kyle Walker, and Mahrez's kick passed dangerously across the Spurs area, but an offside flag had been raised.
A Dembele midfield pass failed and Leicester had a chance, but Vardy failed to control the ball in the middle, outside the Spurs area. Mahrez hit a cross from the right and Okazaki headed over. Leicester had a move where they spread the play from left to right and Dembele failed to attack a ball that was there to be intercepted.
After 33 minutes, Eriksen had a second chance with a corner, having failed to beat the first man initially. He passed to Janssen on the near post, whose attempt on goal seemed to be intercepted by the hand of Danny Simpson. The referee said "No"!
A cynical foul by Wes Morgan on Dele Alli out on the left got no card from a referee who was showing lenience towards the visitors. Eriksen's free kick went straight to the welcoming arms of Schmeichel.
After a Leicester corner a Fuchs shot from 25 yards curled away from Lloris's left post. Lloris had not been required to make a save so far. This Leicester corner arose from an attack following a poor attempt at a clearance by Jan Vertonghen. Vertonghen redeemed himself with another great diagonal ball to Kyle Walker, who won a battle to take the ball forward. He passed inside to Alli, whose rasping shot hit the top of the crossbar.
Son got booked for a midfield foul on his opposite number 7 (Musa), which seemed harsh after some of the Leicester challenges which had not been carded. After a Spurs free kick with the ball floated into the area, Janssen went down (I think when challenged by Huth), and the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. Janssen chased the ball which was heading towards the dug-outs, and put it on the spot, firing home down the middle of the goal, with Schmeichel having already committed himself further to his left.
Sadly, Spurs failed to hold their lead for long. Early in the second half they had a couple of chances blocked in the Leicester area, one by Eriksen, and perhaps a handball shout or two, but Leicester were back on level terms too soon when an attempted header by Wanyama fell into the lap of Vardy, racing forward down the inside right position. Vardy crossed into the 6 yard area, beating Lloris, and Musa won the challenge against Walker, to score from close range. His momentum took him into the goal, where he needed treatment after scoring.
Son had a shot saved after Eriksen's pass from the right. Eriksen then had another free kick attempt after Alli had been fouled. The free kick was blocked and ran kindly to the keeper. A good ball by Vertonghen found Danny Rose down the left. Rose passed inside to Dele Alli, who teed up Eriksen for another shot which took a deflection and troubled the goalkeeper, who was able to make the save.
Another Eriksen free kick from deep on the left was met by Dier's header but pushed over for a Spurs corner. Danny Rose had a shot go way over the target after a Spurs throw on the right, and Janssen's final pass.
Dembele sent a good ball to Rose, who got to the bye-line and crossed, with Erksen's shot being deflected and Leicester ultimately clearing the danger.
Ranieri started to use his subs early (and he did use all three, unlike Pochettino) with Schlupp replacing Musa.
Dele Alli was fouled (yet again) on the right side, and Janssen took a quick free kick which beat Schmeichel, but hit the stanchion behind the goal. Now Mahrez was replaced by Albrighton. Both managers had to have half an eye on their mid-week Champions League games.
Janssen took a quick shot on the turn from Walker's cross, and the ball passed just the wrong side of the post. After a Leicester attack, Hugo Lloris quickly released the ball to Danny Rose. Danny fed Eriksen, who gave Janssen another chance, but Schmeichel was equal to the attempt.
Leicester made their third substitution, and Pochettino had not made his first, but then he didn't have many attacking options available to him. At last we did see a Spurs substitute, and it was Georges-Kevin Nkoudou for Dele Alli. Nkoudou, who had failed to impress on Tuesday night at Anfield, did have an impact here, often getting round the back of Simpson.
Spurs won a corner from an Nkoudou cross, and Eriksen pass, and a half-chance for Janssen, but after the corner, Leicester countered, and Dembele was required to perform sterling duties in our area, carrying the ball out of danger and sending it to Nkoudou for another advance.
Spurs hit the bar for a second time with a Vertonghen header from Wanyama's cross.
In the closing stages, Leicester offered more of a threat, and there was always the risk of a snatched win. Drinkwater took a free kick and Andy King met it beyond Lloris's left post, with the keeper making perhaps his first real save of the game.
Vertonghen had another chance at the other end, with Nkoudou again the provider of a cross which was cleared as far as Vertonghen, who hit a curling shot just outside Shcmeichel's left post. Another Leicester free kick was headed wide by substitute Ulloa. Nkoudou hit a powerful cross and Danny Rose's shot was saved in the last minute of added time.
The one point takes Spurs into fourth place tonight three points behind Man City, Arsenal, and Liverpool, all of whom won well away today. Chelsea play tomorrow and could go back above us. A league win is very much required, but that will be difficult next week at The Emirates. We desperately need Kane and Alderweireld back for that game!
Next up is our Wembley Champions League date with Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
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