THE EMIRATES FA CUP
THIRD ROUND REPLAY
WEDNESDAY 20TH JANUARY, 2016
LEICESTER CITY 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)
Son Heung-min, 39
Referee:- Anthony Taylor
Assistants:- Michael Salisbury and Harry Lennard
Fourth Official:- Graham Scott
Leicester (4-2-3-1):- Schmeichel (Capt.); Simpson (sub Albrighton, 63), Wasilewski, Benalouane, Chilwell; Inler, King; Dyer (sub Vardy, 74), Drinkwater (sub Okazaki, 46), Gray; Ulloa
Subs not used:- Schwarzer; Morgan; Kante, Mahrez
Booked:- Albrighton (foul on Alli)
Spurs (4-2-1-3):- Vorm; Walker (Capt.), Dier, Wimmer, Davies; Bentaleb, Carroll; Eriksen; Lamela (sub Kane, 60), Chadli (sub Onomah, 73), Son (sub Alli, 84)
(Kane took over the captain's armband)
Subs not used:- Lloris; Trippier, Vertonghen; Winks
Booked:- Davies (foul on Dyer)
Spurs can take the Fosse Way to Camulodunum (Colchester)
A great fuss was made by BBC Radio 5 after this game regarding Claudio Ranieri’s decision to change so many of his players (8) for this home FA Cup Third Round replay against Spurs. Ranieri, they said, was clearly setting his stall out to prioritise achievement in this season’s Premier League. However, Ranieri’s opposite number, Mauricio Pochettino, also made many changes from the team he had selected for last Saturday’s league game (also 8). Spurs’ squad, said the BBC, was much deeper than that of Leicester, and tonight’s team certainly won this tie comfortably, with Leicester on the back foot, playing like the away side for much of the game.
Cracking goals by Son Heung-min and Nacer Chadli (made by Son’s through ball) gave Spurs the spoils. The reward for the win is a trip down The Fosse Way to a famous old Roman town of Camulodunum – commonly known as Colchester. The game has already been fixed for a 12.45 kick off on Saturday 30th January.
There was a good turnout for tonight’s game, played on a cold but fair winter’s night. Spurs had taken a full contingent of 3,000 travelling fans, whereas there were a few empty seats in the home sections, despite the very attractive ticket prices. Once again goalkeeper Schmeichel captained the Leicester Cup side, with club captain Wes Morgan amongst the usual first teamers on the bench along with the likes of Mahrez, Vardy and Okazaki.
For Spurs Kyle Walker made his first club appearance of the season in a non Premier League game, and he also became the fifth player to captain Spurs this season. The back five was completely changed from that which had faced Sunderland, with Vorm in goal, Dier moving to centre back, and Wimmer and Davies to his left. Toby Alderweireld, who had missed only one previous game this season (the league cup game against Arsenal) was rested, as was Mousa Dembele. Trippier, Vertonghen, Alli and Kane stood by on the bench. Pochettino’s team lined up with Tom Carroll next to Bentaleb and Eriksen behind Lamela, Chadli and Son. As you would expect for the current Spurs team, there was plenty of fluidity about the formation.
Ranieri was clearly seeking to do an “Italian Job” on Spurs, with his team often resembling a 4-5-1, with ten men getting behind the ball and Ulloa alone at the top. Mind you, Spurs did dominate the early proceedings, without creating any real danger, or testing Schmeichel in goal. Spurs fans were in good voice and have a new song about a former centre-half, which I shall not repeat here. It doesn’t include bad language, but it does include severely bad taste. I wish our fans would focus on the positives about their team, rather than vent so much abuse about “he who shall not be named”, and their opponents. The “Hey Jude” song is getting plenty of airing currently.
Regarding the football, there was little early excitement in the early stages. After 13 minutes, Ben Davies sent Son away down the inside left, almost to the line. Son passed back to Eriksen, and his shot passed wide across the goal from that left side. Davies took an early booking from referee Anthony Taylor for a foul on Nathan Dyer. I felt this early flash of the card was harsh when the player had not even had a warning. Later in the game, when Spurs substitute Harry Kane was more cynically brought down in the Leicester half there was no card shown at all.
Kyle Walker was getting forward plenty of times, and combining with Eriksen won one of several Spurs corners. One such corner was taken from the right by Eriksen and reached Nabil Bentaleb, who I thought had a pretty impressive game. Bentaleb passed to Davies on his left, but the full back’s shot was well off target. Leicester were awarded a free kick after 26 minutes after a foul by Carroll on left back Chilwell, who had made a good run before cutting into the middle. The free kick was just outside the D, and was taken by Gokhan Inler, but held by Vorm, moving to his left.
Erik Lamela took another Spurs corner from the right hand side, and passed to Walker, who fed Davies. Once again Davies’ attempt on goal did not bother the keeper. Lamela had an attempted header go over the target from the back of the goal, having received a cross from Davies. Bentaleb claimed the ball in midfield and carried it forward, offering Tom Carroll a shot, which passed wide. Another great pass by Bentaleb to Walker on the right came to nought as Walker’s attempted cross was cleared. Then came the stunning opening goal by Son Heung-min. His shot was hit with great power and in a flash beat the keeper from the right of the area, after Carroll’s incisive pass. It was Son’s seventh Spurs goal.
Leicester came out of their shell and tried to get a response before the break. Ulloa hit a right footed shot over from the left side of the box, and a dangerous cross by Gray from the left was deflected and went out for a corner. Walker seemed to be hobbling briefly, but soon recovered. Just before the break, Eriksen fed the ball out to Walker, whose cross was just in front of Chadli.
Drinkwater, who had threatened so much in our home Premier League defeat last week, was replaced at half-time by Okazaki. Spurs were still on top, but without reward. Then after some uncertain midfield play by Spurs, Gray had a shot saved by Vorm, before Dyer fired wide. Spurs had a great chance to increase their lead after a defensive clearance reached Lamela who raced towards the Leicester goal with Eriksen to his right and Son on his left . Erik tried to thread a ball through the middle which was no good to either of his team-mates. Soon after that he was replaced by Harry Kane to great cheers from the away support, and abuse from the home crowd. Harry took over the main striker role with Son, Eriksen and Chadli behind him.
Kane was soon in action, forcing a save from Schmeichel with his shot on the right of the area, after good work by Chadli, Eriksen then Son. Albrighton replaced right back Simpson, but Spurs made it 2-0 with another good goal after a throw on the left. Son placed an excellent pass in front of Chadli who fired convincingly low past Schmeichel for his first goal since August. Kane had another shot saved after Spurs made a break from the back. The game was now inevitably opening out, with Leicester having nothing to lose in their quest for a goal.
We entered the last ten minutes of the game, and Eriksen sent a good ball for Son, who just over-hit it, allowing Schmeichel to pick up. Demarai Gray had a good effort for the home side, coming in from the left side before hitting a good shot just over the bar. Albrighton had a good shot well saved by Vorm after Chilwell’s cross. Albrighton then took the only Leicester booking of the game, as he chased and impeded Dele Alli unfairly as the Spurs substitute entered home territory. Another Leicester effort in added time (a header by Ulloa) was tipped over the bar by Vorm.
Spurs can look forward to their next FA Cup game against a side near the bottom of League One (Third tier) with great confidence, knowing they should succeed with a side of similar strength to today. They can also prepare with confidence for Saturday’s trip to Selhurst Park. Pochettino has “managed the minutes” well.
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