The Warmdown: Spurs end horror week with lifeless Leicester performance
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur reacts after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 20, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur were awful. Right, let’s move on, shall we?  

To put it simply, everything went wrong against Leicester City.

It was on par with the Everton game at the start of the season for being the most uninspiring and disjointed showing so far. 

In all honestly, it’s been a horrid week for Spurs, and this was just the icing on the cake that no one wanted. 

From the Crystal Palace and Liverpool games, you could claim the positives from the performances to rest the soul. 

But there was nothing against Leicester. No positives, and just negatives from the moment 2:15 struck.

From Serge Aurier’s reckless return, to Gareth Bale’s dull impact, and also Harry Kane and Son-Heung-Min's rare no show  – it was just a day where everything went wrong for Mourinho.


With the defensive triumph in achieving the seven points against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, it appeared that Spurs had found their identity.

Deep low-block, restrict space, and hit teams on counter-attack transitions with the magic of Kane and Son’s magic combination. 

But, especially against Palace and Leicester, the plan seems to have come undone. 

In the first-half, Spurs did restrict them to barely any chances. But they looked blunt going forward and never showed much intent to come of their shell to play any sort of expansive football. 

Spurs half-time XG was 0.26, which felt particularly generous, to be honest. Although Jamie Vardy’s penalty was a complete gift; it was almost deserved, as the game plan was poorly executed.

The second half saw Leicester checkmate with Spurs, allowing them the ball. Break us down, was the call from Brendan Rodgers

The reply from Tottenham? Nothing.

The Foxes’ counterattack was already more effective within five minutes. James Maddison, who took a great high ball from James Justin in his stride, fizzed a low shot into the far corner.

But VAR gave Spurs a gift in ruling it out for a marginal offside; how did they respond to the lifeline?

Again, nothing. The ball was all in Tottenham’s grasp, but the lack of penetration and tempo was ghastly. 

Leicester finally gave Spurs the sucker punch they deserved, when Marc Albrighton’s looping cross was met by Vardy, who should never have beaten Moussa Sissoko to a header, who powered it into Toby Alderweireld for an own goal.

Spurs’ response again? Yeah, you guessed it. 

They were crying out for some creativity, and almost none of their play was in dangerous areas within the lines. 

Spurs have a problem. When they find themselves 1-0 down, they seem to get stuck and lose any sort of purpose. 

Do we defend? Do we take the initiative? Mourinho needs to find the answers.


The concentration lapses, the penalties conceded, the fact he wasn’t Kyle Walker all cemented the view of Aurier as an accident waiting to happen. 

But, of recent times, the right-back has had some sort of renaissance. It appeared he had removed that reckless nature of his game.

However, on the stroke of half-time, a moment of madness put Aurier straight back to stage one. 

A rush of blood barge on Wesley Fofana was not seen in real-time, but VAR called it back and gave the obvious penalty. 

 “I am afraid of you as a marker,” Mourinho said in the Amazon All or Nothing documentary. “Because you are capable of doing a s**t penalty with VAR.” 

Many thought Aurier had fully changed, but this silly mistake is a keen reminder that he has a long way to go. 


Bale came on for Tanguy Ndombele at half-time, and it felt like the perfect time for the Welshman to give Spurs the spark that they had loaned him back for. 

But as is the case so far, he has looked a ghost of the Bale we know and love. Before sounding ridiculous, it is important to give context. 

The 31-year-old has no pre-season and barely featured for Real Madrid last season. As a result of this, it was always going to take him a while to get up to speed.

Spurs have slowly built up his fitness through the Europa League, but after many appearances in the group stage, and the fact it is now December – is it about time we stop making excuses for him? 

His one Premier League goal was an important one, but he needs to start showing Jose Mourinho that he is the man to play alongside Son and Kane. 

But to be honest, there is nothing based on his performances that makes him deserve that.

He was too safe in possession against Leicester. Too often he would come deep for the ball and play the safe pass.

That is all well and good, but as a forward winger when your team is chasing the game – you have to make something happen with a dribble or just a bit of energy. 

Bale didn’t show any sign of this, and he has to start making it a happy return with his obvious talent to make sure it isn’t a reunion to forget. 


Kane and Son have been remarkable this season, but today was a rare game in which they couldn’t mark themselves on the affair at all. 

This proves that the duo are indeed human, but this represented a bigger problem for Spurs.

Is the reliance on Kane and Son sustainable? 

There isn’t another source of goals at the club – the next top scorer below them is on one goal. 

When they aren’t quite firing, or have been nullified by an opponent – where will the goal come from?

It is a problem that needs fixing. You look to Giovanni Lo Celso, Ndombele, Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn, Carlos Vinicius, and even Bale. 

These sort of attacking-minded players have to step up and take the burden off the dynamic duo.

Kane and Son are only human, after all.