SUNDAY 1ST MAY, 2022
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(1) LEICESTER CITY 1(0)
Referee:- Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- Marc Perry, Timothy Wood
Fourth official:- Graham Scott
VAR:- Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR:- Gary Beswick.
Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson Royal, Bentancur (sub Winks, 82), Hojbjerg, Sessegnon; Lucas Moura (sub Kulusevski, 55), Kane, Son (sub Bergwijn, 82)
Subs not used:- Gollini; Sanchez, Rodon; White, Matthew Craig; Scarlett
Booked:- Davies (foul on Daka), Bentancur (foul on Mendy)
Leicester (3-4-3):- Schmeichel (Capt.); Castagne, Amartey, Soyuncu; Albrighton, Soumare (sub Brunt, 67), Mendy, Thomas; Daka (sub Vardy, 67), Iheanacho, Perez (sub Tielemans, 76)
Subs not used:- Ward; Justin, Fofana; Barnes, Choudhury; Lookman
Booked:- Albrighton (foul on Bentancur), Amartey (foul on Kane), Thomas (foul on Kulusevski)
Sonny is chasing Salah!
Sealing a vital win with his 18th and 19th Premier league goals of the season, Spurs star Heung-min Son is chasing down Liverpool’s Mo Salah for the Premier League golden boot award. Son is just three goals behind the Liverpool front man and next week they (and their respective teams) go head to head as Spurs seek a place in next season’s Champions League. “Sonny”’s goals, both of which were teed up by super sub Dejan Kulusevski sealed a win which put Spurs into fourth place until Arsenal beat West Ham at The London Stadium to regain that place.
Both West Ham and Leicester’s focus was clearly on their respective European semi-finals. Brendan Rodgers left regulars James Maddison and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall at home and held back the likes of Vardy, Tielemans, Fofana, Barnes and Lookman on the bench. No matter. The chosen Leicester side gave Spurs plenty of food for thought, hitting the woodwork and forcing an excellent fingertip save from Lloris before Spurs could say the three points were in the bag.
The one surprise in Conte’s selection was to replace Kulusevski with Lucas Moura on the right wing. Lucas did not make the most of his opportunity and the refreshed and fired-up “Kulu” warrior had a great impact on the game when he came on after 55 minutes.
Leicester kicked off and played towards the South Stand, but Spurs soon won a corner when Bentancur picked up the ball in midfield and sent a pass to Emerson who won a corner with his attempted cross. Following the corner Eric Dier picked up the ball outside the Leicester area and tried a pass to Romero which just failed. Spurs had started the game with more attacking intent than shown in their two disappointing games against Brighton and Brentford.
Ayoze Perez hit the side netting with a shot from the left of goal after a Leicester corner. After a cross from the right by Mendy, Daka hit Lloris’s left post and the ball rebounded across goal and clear. Lloris might have got a fingertip to this shot too. After an error by Ben Davies, Albrighton crossed into the danger zone for Daka, but Cristian Romero made a vital interception to clear the ball. Romero gave another masterclass, both at the heart of our defence and when going forward, not least when winning crunch tackles in the middle to send Kulusevski away for one of our second half goals. He’s gone six games without a booking now too!
There were ironic cheers from the Spurs crowd after 19 minutes when referee Jon Moss awarded Spurs a free kick when Emerson was fouled. The 59,000+ crowd (most of them anyway) roared their team on with a hearty “Come on you Spurs!”. Kane was also fouled out on the right side and following the free kick a shot by Ben Davies was deflected and Spurs had a corner. This was taken by Son from the right and met perfectly by Harry Kane who directed his header inside Schmeichel’s left post. It was Harry’s first goal in six games, but he has a great record against Leicester and this was his seventeenth Premier League goal against “The Foxes”. He has scored 19 in 18 games including cup competitions against the East Midlands side.
The referee had “words” with both number 33s at a corner situation (Thomas and Davies), but it was Ben Davies who subsequently went in the book for a foul on Daka in our half. Harry Kane pushed a ball to Son on the left whose cross was intended for Lucas Moura but was cleared by Soyuncu. Kane found Emerson on the right with an excellent ball, but the right wing-back failed to take advantage. Schmeichel presented Kane with a chance after a loose clearance, but then recovered to block Harry’s shot.
Leicester had a chance when Daka crossed from the right across the Spurs area, but Iheanacho pulled his attempt wide. After some good work on the left by Sessegnon and a pass to Lucas Moura in the middle, Leicester took advantage of Lucas’s poor touch. Dier deflected a Perez shot and Daka just failed to make contact at the far post.
There was a nice touch by Son in midfield and a ball to Kane who in turn found Sessegnon. His shot/cross was intercepted and half-cleared to Kane whose shot landed on top of the net. Davies hit a good long ball down the left for Sessegnon whose cross was met with a Lucas Moura header, but that was cleared.
Romero found Hojbjerg with a good pass and Hojbjerg was in a good place towards the left of the Leicester box. However, he panicked a bit and didn’t manage his intended pass to Lucas Moura. Another Romero pass reached Lucas Moura who went to the floor but got no foul. Lucas was soon replaced by Kulusevski, who was cheered onto the pitch. With almost his first look at the ball, Kulusevski picked up a pass and raced into the Leicester area, getting close to the bye-line, but then lost his footing.
It wasn’t long though before Kulu had his first assist. This one followed two strong challenges in the middle by Romero, who sent the ball to Kulusevski with his second winning tackle. Kulusevski passed the ball back into the Leicester area for Son, who turned and scored with a reversed left-footed shot.
Amartey was booked for a rough tackle on Kane who took a while to get back to his feet, without treatment. Thankfully he was okay. Harry soon had a shot on target, but this was held by Schmeichel. Schmeichel also held another shot by Son after more skill down the right by Kulusevski and a deep cross to Hojbjerg who put the ball back into the centre.
Hojbjerg led a Spurs break out from a Leicester corner. The move continued through Kulusevski and Emerson and resulted in a corner at the other end. Schmeichel easily collected a header by Dier. Hugo had to race out to the edge of his area to push the ball awa from the feet of Iheanacho.
I had encountered a few Leicester fans as I made my way to the stadium, who were gloating about the fact they were in Europe. I responded that they wouldn’t be there next season. Now (with their young memories) they chanted “Have you ever seen Tottenham win the league?”, which in fairness I don’t suppose many have, but Spurs shut them up with a great goal by Son. “Sonny” took another pass from Kulusevski to his right. Son was positioned just outside the area, but scored with a wonderful curling left-footer which hit Schmeichel’s top-right corner. It will be a Spurs goal of the season contender. Son has been with us for nearly seven years now and has now amassed 89 Premier League goals in 228 league appearances. His total return in all competitions is now 127 goals in 321 appearances. He is one of our all-time top ten scorers!
Romero swept up after substitute Vardy had put Iheanacho into a good shooting position, and Vardy had a chance with a header passing wide across the Spurs goal. Iheanacho was allowed a consolation added time goal for Leicester with a left foot effort that beat Lloris inside his left post to at least give the remaining away supporters something to cheer.
The last piece of action saw Romero and Hojbjerg break forward before Kane hit a right foot shot onto the top of the Leicester goal. Spurs had done their bit. It’s just a shame that West Ham couldn’t manage to take anything from Arsenal. Technically, Champions League football is within our grasp, but that entails winning all four remaining games, the first of which is a trip to Anfield next Saturday night. As Gerry Marsden once sang, “I’ll be there!”
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