After a frantic first 45 minutes left the sides level, the hosts raced out of sight in the second half as substitute Son’s sublime treble ensured a big victory that delighted the home fans.
The result will pile more pressure on beleaguered Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers, whose side sit bottom of the table after seven games, having conceded eleven goals in their last two.
Story of the match
For different reasons, both these sides would have been feeling a bit unsure of themselves going into this one. Both are packed with talent but have flattered to deceive so far; Spurs have accumulated points without playing well and were coming off a late defeat in the Champions League, while Leicester found themselves bottom of the league despite scoring more goals than most other sides in the division.
Perhaps no surprise, then, that this mutual unsureness led to a chaotic, crazily open first half which ended 2-2 but could easily have been 4-4.
Spurs, still reeling from those two late goals in Lisbon in midweek, made the worst possible start. Davinson Sanchez’s needless lunge brought down James Justin just inside the box, gifting the Foxes a penalty after only five minutes. Hugo Lloris saved Youri Tielemans’ first effort, but having stepped off his line prematurely, had to face him again. This time the Belgian found the corner and for the second consecutive game, Leicester had an early lead.
Just like the Foxes’ previous outing at Brighton, it didn’t last very long. Barely two minutes later, a short corner made its’ way back to taker Dejan Kulusevski, whose perfect whipped cross was converted at the back post by Kane.
The two early goals brought a giddiness to proceedings, as the game thundered from end-to-end. Ivan Perisic had a shot blocked, then Wilfried Ndidi wasted a glorious chance to put James Maddison through, opting instead to shoot from 40 yards.
In the 21st minute, dogged play by Richarlison won the home side a corner out of nothing. Perisic’s delivery found Eric Dier at the near post, who glanced the home side into the lead. This, the 25th goal Leicester have conceded from a set play since the start of 2020/21, felt horribly familiar. They were even lucky to escape conceding a third from yet another corner after Davinson Sanchez was adjudged to have fouled Danny Ward.
Spurs have made a habit of getting results this season when on the back foot, and they looked shaky here once they went in front. After Dewsbury-Hall and Harvey Barnes put presentable chances over the bar, the away side drew level. James Maddison’s looped effort into the far corner punished a weak attempted header by Sessegnon that will not have pleased Conte.
Then, just before half time Ward’s fingertip prevented another set piece goal as he tipped Sanchez’s header onto the bar from a free kick, before Maddison put another effort straight at Lloris when well-placed.
Less than two minutes into the second half, and Spurs were back in front. Rodrigo Bentancaur robbed the dawdling Wilfried Ndidi and raced through to slot home via the post.
Spurs fans must have mixed feelings about their side scoring goals, such is the difference in their approach when they are in the lead. Having torn into Leicester in the opening moments of the half, they retreated into a low-block once in front, opting to attack only when opportunities to counter presented themselves. Hugo Lloris’s stupendous save from Patson Daka’s header felt like a let-off for a side who had taken their foot off the gas.
Any anxieties among the home faithful, though, would have been put to bed by the hugely welcome sight of a goal for Son. All on his own on the edge of the box from one of those counter attacks, there seemed to be few options for the substitute, who had been left out of the starting line-up after failing to score a single goal this season. But a quick shift of the ball took the ball away from Wout Faes, before a whip of the right foot found the top corner from 25 yards to make it 4-2 in the 73rd minute.
Now, you sensed, the game was up for Leicester. The comfort of a two-goal lead relieved the burden on the hosts, and they quickly missed opportunities to make it five through Bentancur and Christian Romero, before another sumptuous strike from Son. This time on his left foot, and left with far too much time, another trademark curling finish from 25 yards made it five.
Things got worse still for the visitors with 5 minutes to play. In acres of space after being played in by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Son slotted home to complete his hattrick, via the linesman’s flag and a VAR reprieve.
This was a timely message from the Korean to his manager. He could not have wished for a better response to being left out and Conte suddenly appears to have an embarrassment of riches on his hands in attacking positions, with Kane, Richarlison, Kulusevski and now, finally, Son all contributing this year. Competition is stiff but on this evidence you would be brave to bet against Spurs making the Champions League again this term.
For the away side, a dismal second-half display will do little to change the minds of those who think Rodger’s tenure has run its course. Though they created plenty of good chances in a frenetic first half, their vulnerability on set pieces is becoming a joke, and their capitulation after conceding the fourth was alarming.
After six consecutive defeats, one wonders whether the board may act sooner rather than later to make Rodgers the third managerial casualty of the season.
Player of the match - Son Heung-Min
The relief at White Hart Lane was palpable as one of their two golden sons finally ended his goal drought in style with a sensational hat trick. A virtuoso performance from the substitute, who will surely not remain on the bench for too long.