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Leicester v Spurs, 26.12.14


Leicester scorer:-
Ulloa, 48

Spurs scorers:-
Kane, 1
Eriksen, 71

Attendance:- 31,870

Referee:- Neil Swarbrick
Assistants:- D. Cann & R. West
Fourth official:- G. Eltringham

Leicester (4-4-2):- Hamer; Simpson, Wasilewski, Morgan (Capt.), Konchesky (sub Knockaert, 83); Mahrez, King (sub James, 45), Drinkwater, Schlupp; Nugent (sub Vardy, 75), Ulloa

Subs not used:- Smith; De Laet; Hammond, Cambiasso

Booked:- Vardy (foul on Lloris)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Fazio, Vertonghen, Rose; Stambouli (sub Mason, 46), Bentaleb; Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli (sub Soldado, 63); Kane (sub Paulinho, 84)

Subs not used:- Vorm; Chiriches, Davies; Townsend

Booked:- Walker (foul on Schlupp), Vertonghen (foul on Vardy)

Kane and Eriksen – Three point snatchers strike again!

Spurs gained their third consecutive Premier League win; their fifth away win; and their third consecutive away league win by a margin of 2-1, with the goal-scorers in each case being Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. The result must have been a bookies’ nightmare, because it was the most predictable result, with that scoreline being so popular for Spurs, who are unbeaten on Boxing Day since2003. However, the fact that it was so predictable does not mean that Leicester did not deserve something out of the game. They hit the woodwork twice, and peppered Hugo Lloris’s goal. The Spurs custodian was, as usual, in top form, making plenty of saves. However, The “Foxes” also have to bear some of the blame for ineptitude in front of goal, with a couple of air shots or passes, and screwed attempts on goal.

Mauricio Pochettino didn’t change much in his team, making just two changes, with Danny Rose at left back, and Benjamin Stambouli making his first Premier League start in place of Ryan Mason, who was on the bench, and who did re-claim his place after the interval. Stambouli made just too many passing errors for comfort, and Danny Rose’s place will surely be in danger for tomorrow’s game against Manchester United, as he allowed far too much space in his zone of the field, as is his habit.

Spurs were wearing a bright kit (all yellow), and made a bright start, but that soon fizzled out as the home side put us under loads of pressure. That bright start was cemented by the blessing of an early goal after just 58 seconds. Bentaleb had fed the ball from his own half to Lamela down the inside right channel. Lamela sent a quick ball to Chadli on the left, and his cross was converted by that man Harry Kane, who has a) scored in his (and our) last four game, b) now scored 5 Premier League goals, and c) taken his tally this season in all competitions to no less than 15 goals. You gotta love Harry!

It wasn’t long before Leicester were on the attack, with Wasilewski’s free kick blocked. Then, for the first time I heard the chant of “Pochettino’s blue and white army”, and that was repeated later in the game, after Eriksen’s goal.

Leicester made a dangerous break, after a Spurs attack broke down. Mahrez made a great run down the right, before crossing to Ulloa, whose shot had to be tipped over by Lloris. King got the better of Bentaleb, getting inside the box, but Fazio made a good defensive block to prevent the danger. Fazio is settling in very nicely, in my view, winning plenty of aerial challenges. His control was very occasional wayward though.

A shot by Chadli after 22 minutes was parried by Hamer. Spurs had two or three follow-up attempts, each of which was blocked, and finally Eriksen’s effort was cleared. Hamer, who is filling in for the injured Kasper Schmeichel, was looking uncertain, and there for the taking, I felt. Overall, Spurs failed to put him under enough pressure, although he does have to take some blame over Eriksen’s winner. Eriksen, Rose and Kane were involved in a left-side move which ended in another Eriksen effort, cleared by Leicester.

After a stumble by Stambouli, Danny Drinkwater had a clear run and chance at goal, but he fired wide, when he should have at least hit the target. On the plus side, Stambouli fed a good ball to Bentaleb, who made a run down the middle, but in his effort to find a shooting chance he showed too much of the ball to the Leicester defence.

Lloris did well to get down a shot by Schlupp, which had passed through two pairs of Tottenham legs. Hugo held the ball. It was his 28th birthday, and of course he was regaled by suitable chants from the visiting fans.

Kyle Walker was one of the Spurs players not at his best today. Putting himself under unnecessary pressure, he ended up fouling Schlupp, and got into the referee’s book. Lloris had to save from Mahrez, who had made another good run into the Spurs area. Simpson crossed from the right, and Ulloa was unlucky to see his header bounce across goal and clear off Lloris’s left-hand post. Leicester had their tails up, and quite fairly sensed a goal, but in the added time at the end of the first half, Kane headed wide from a Lamela free kick

Both sides made a change at the interval, with James replacing King for Leicester. David Nugent hit a shot which dipped too late and passed over Lloris’s bar, but Leicester were rewarded, and fairly so too, when Mahrez got almost to the bye-line, and crossed for Ulloa to score at the near post. The Spurs left flank had been exposed again. After 52 minutes, Leicester won a free kick about 25 yards out. Drinkwater shaped to take it, but it was Mahrez, who hit a left foot shot, which rebounded off the bar. To say that Spurs were riding their luck was a great under-statement.

Spurs did have a sniff at goal after Lamela was fouled on the left side. Eriksen floated in a free kick which was just cleared off Harry Kane’s head. Kane went down, and the Spurs fans thought there might have been a penalty, but the referee was giving nothing. Good play by Lamela, this time on the right, gave Kane another chance which was defended well, Danny Rose tried a long range effort, but that was well over the bar. Chadli was replaced by Soldado, and Kane fell back.

There were chances at both ends, as Eriksen had a good shot just outside the post, after Kane’s cross, but then Lloris was called into action to save low from Schlupp, who had been fed by Nugent. Lloris was happy to concede a corner, and Leicester won plenty of those in the second half.

The Spurs winner came against the run of play, and well ahead of the usual last minute schedule of our previous away league wins. Kane was fouled out on the left. Lamela ran over the free kick, and Eriksen hit it with his right foot, squeezing the ball just inside Hamer’s right post. Hamer was there and looked as if he got a touch too, but the ball hit the back of the net. Soon after that Kane tried a shot from distance, which passed just outside the post.

Drinkwater had a shot go just wide, before Nugent was replaced by Vardy. Spurs were under increasing pressure, and Vertonghen also saw yellow. Spurs managed to see out the four minutes of added time, which was extended due to an injury to Lloris, caused by Vardy, who was booked for his challenge. Hugo recovered, and I am sure he will be playing tomorrow. Spurs are now on 30 points. A win tomorrow against United would, of course be welcome, but on this form, will be difficult to achieve.

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