Son returns to form in style
For the home fans, sweet relief. The weight of watching an out-of-sorts talisman desperately trying to play themselves back into form can weigh heavily on the shoulders of both team and crowd, especially when that talisman is one of the most talented and likeable players in the league.
Son Heung-min was joint top-scorer in the Premier League last season with 23 goals but had been yet to score this term and was dropped by Antonio Conte here in favour of Dejan Kulusevski. Concern had been growing over such an uncharacteristically poor run, and the South Korean desperately needed a response when he emerged from the bench in the 59th minute.
Boy did he deliver.
Three trademark finishes later and the 30 year-old had blown away those early season cobwebs in just thirteen emphatic minutes, rattling in his third Premier League hat trick to depart White Hart Lane with both the match ball and Man of the Match award.
“All the frustration and what I had, disappointment and negative feeling just went,” Son said afterwards. “It made me really happy”.
There cannot have been many who had seriously doubted him, but for anyone who did, here was a reminder that form is temporary and class is permanent.
Flattering scoreline for Spurs
The theme of Tottenham’s season so far is picking up points in games they have not played well in. While it would be harsh to say they didn’t deserve this victory after racking up six goals, the scoreline does not tell the full story of a game in which Antonio Conte’s men were second best for much of the first hour.
Tottenham (2.25) 6-2 (1.68) Leicester— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) September 17, 2022
Spurs were certainly clinical in front of goal but they also looked shaky at the back with the performance of Davinson Sanchez, who gave away a clumsy penalty just five minutes in, a particular worry. They were fortunate to come up against profligate opponents who capitulated in the closing stages.
Tottenham are now level on points with Manchester City but the gap between the two remains wide and there is work to do for Conte if his side is to close it.
Rodgers under severe pressure
The statistics make grim reading for Leicester fans. Seven games in, their side is bottom the league with just a single point, having conceded eleven goals in their last two games. In total they have allowed 22 goals so far this campaign, more than any other side in Premier League history at this stage.
Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a phenomenal run in his first two full campaigns as Foxes boss, as they secured back-to-back fifth place finishes and won the FA Cup in 2021. However, there were signs last season that things had gone stale as they laboured to eighth in the league, and this campaign their form has nosedived dramatically, to the point that Rodgers’ position is now under intense scrutiny.
The manner of their collapse here in the last 15 minutes will have been particularly alarming for the Leicester board. While they played well for much of the match, by the end they looked a directionless rabble, and were probably lucky that Spurs stopped at six.
There is no doubting Rodgers’ quality as a coach or his achievements at Leicester, but all good things come to an end and the signs are now looking increasingly ominous for the Irishman.
Maddison quietly enjoying productive run
Amid the escalating chaos at the King Power stadium, one man that has been quietly putting together an impressive run of form is James Maddison. His equaliser yesterday was his seventh goal in his last ten league games, during which time he has also notched four assists.
James Maddison has been directly involved in 16 Premier League goals in 2022:— Squawka (@Squawka) September 17, 2022
◎ 23 games
◉ 10 goals
◎ 6 assists
Harry Kane and Ivan Toney are the only English players with more. 🧐 pic.twitter.com/dBWZc1Aupd
More than one direct goal contribution a game is an impressive return and with the World Cup now just two months away, Leicester’s reigning Player of the Season must be in with a shout for a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Despite notching 18 goals last season, the former Norwich man has not played for England since his sole cap in November 2019, and Southgate must have his reasons for continuing to omit him. Maddison will hope that his excellent form has not been too overshadowed by his side’s recent dire results.