Tottenham 3-1 Leicester: Spurs prevail as Foxes rue poor day in front of goal
Photo: Getty Images - Marc Atkins

Tottenham 3-1 Leicester: Spurs prevail as Foxes rue poor day in front of goal

Leicester missed a host of chances as Spurs prevailed at Wembley. 

Matt Dawson

Tottenham and Leicester played host to a thriller at Wembley as the Lilywhites reduced the gap between them and Liverpool at the top of the table to five points.

Goals from Davinson Sanchez, Christian Eriksen and Heung-min Son sealed all three points but it was far from straightforward for Spurs despite the 3-1 scoreline. 

They conceded a succession of chances to the Foxes attack as Harvey Barnes, in particular, was made to rue a woeful day in front of goal. 

Jamie Vardy missed a penalty but eventually scored to set up a thrilling finish but it was Spurs who claimed victory on a frustrating day for the visitors. 

Story of the match

After the two teams played out a 5-4 thriller in this fixture last season it was going to take something special to live up to it. There may not have been the nine goals we saw the last time Leicester travelled to Wembley but it was still a fantastic game of end to end football.

The tone for a lively affair was set early on in the game with chances for either side. In the opening exchanges, Kieran Trippier had a shot blocked well after a looping cross to the back post from his opposite full-back Danny Rose

Rose was then at the heart of another attack, finding himself unfortunate not to score after cutting inside and firing a fierce effort towards goal which Kasper Schmeichel was equal to. 

Leicester would have chances of their own and really should have been ahead as Barnes spurned two fantastic opportunities in the first half. He was first fed through by Foxes debutant Youri Tielemans but dragged wide, then should have done better with an attempt just after the half-hour mark, cutting inside and firing off target once more.

They were two chances you'd have expected the youngster to take after scoring nine times earlier in the season on loan at West Brom

Claude Puel's men were made to pay for those missed chances as Sanchez headed Spurs in front with 33 minutes gone. A short corner was worked out to Eriksen who was afforded far too much time and space to pick out a cross from the edge of the area. 

His delivery was inch-perfect as he found Sanchez in close proximity to the goal and he nodded home for his first strike in Tottenham colours.

A highly entertaining first period also saw two penalty appeals waved away. Firstly Son was booked for simulation after trying to fool referee Michael Oliver and then Leicester were unlucky not to have one awarded after Jonny Evans was manhandled in the area by Sanchez as he looked to get his head on a corner. 

The game continued to deliver in the second 45 minutes and after a whirlwind ten minute period Leicester somehow found themselves two goals behind. 

It started and finished with heroics from Hugo Lloris. On 58 minutes the visitors were awarded a penalty after James Maddison had been brought down in the area and in response, Vardy was introduced as a substitute. But with his first touch of the game, he saw his kick from 12 yards saved by Lloris. 

Moments later Spurs extended their advantage as Fernando Llorente laid the ball into the path of Eriksen after the ball was given away and the Dane rifled an effort home from the edge of the box for 2-0.

Lloris was then called upon again, somehow denying Barnes when it looked harder to miss than score. Vardy played the 21-year-old through on goal but from a matter of yards out failed to score. On another day he could have had a hat-trick. 

But Leicester did fight back as they finally managed to take one of their chances. Tielemans and Ricardo Pereira exchanged a nice one-two before the latter fizzed a ball across goal for Vardy to tap home with less than 15 minutes to go. There was no mistake this time from the Foxes top scorer. 

The away side came close to grabbing an equaliser as Vardy fired over and Kalechi Iheanacho found the side netting but the game was put beyond all doubt in injury time. Son raced clear of the Leicester defence and then slotted past Schmeichel with a measured finished. 


Eriksen dazzles

In Eriksen, Spurs have a star. Without Harry Kane, they've needed someone to step up and on a day where the ball didn't quite fall for the in-form Son for the majority of the match, the Dane stood up above all other Spurs players. He claimed the assist with a lovely ball for his team's opener and then scored a brilliant second. 

Skipp demonstrates potential

Mauricio Pochettino's decision to start both Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp against a Leicester side who were going to look to get at Spurs on the counter was potentially quite brave. But Skipp showed a level of competence above his experience, demonstrating a good range of passing and composure on the ball. 

Vardy conundrum 

Ever since Vardy revealed that Puel's style of play doesn't suit him there's been an ongoing saga between the two and that is sure to continue after this match. Leicester created plenty of chances and opened up space on several occasions in the channels but with Vardy not starting they lacked cutting edge. In rather comical fashion he missed a penalty after being sent on to take it before then scoring to set up a frantic finish to the match. 

Tielemans debut shows promise

Leicester's move for Belgian wonderkid Tielemans raised eyebrows when he arrived on loan from Monaco. It was rather surprising to see him let go, especially considering the Ligue 1 team's relegation-threatened place in France's top tier. But their loss is Monaco's gain as he showed signs of what he can bring to Puel's side. He didn't get on the ball as much in the second half but showed glimpses of his creativity in the first 45 minutes. 

Man of the match

Lloris - The Spurs stopper has been a little inconsistent at times but without him, the game would have had a very different feel to it. His penalty save with Spurs only a goal up was crucial and the way he denied Barnes with his feet shortly after Tottenham had scored their second was first class.