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- 2nd Half
- 1st Half
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
Premier League - 10 February 2019
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That's an absolutely gigantic win for Spurs, who move two points behind Manchester City and five behind Liverpool. They're still the outsiders, but you cannot rule them out.
Full-time: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City
No one enjoyed that goal more than Mauricio Pochettino. His team haven't played well today, but their big players have found a way.
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City (Son) ...but look at this! Ndidi cuts back a cross, Sissoko turns it clear ... and puts Son away! He has half of the pitch to run, but you know exactly what's going to happen at the end of it. He holds off Evans, bursts into the box, and punches a sidefooter past Schmeichel to seal a crucial win! What a player he is!
There'll be four minutes of stoppage time...
...and he picks out Chilwell ... for a second this looks a real chance ... but he heads down onto Vertonghen, and Lloris falls on the ball.
Okazaki scavenges a corner, and Leicester are still at this as Maddison goes over to swing it out...
Change apiece: for Spurs, Walker-Peters replaces Rose, and for Leicester, Okazaki replaces Barnes.
The beauty of Twitter.
This has been a really good game.
Rose plays a lovely one-two with Son and eases into the box. He should shoot but, realising Maguire will probably block it, tries a chop instead. It works, in that he beats his man, but can't reach the ball and falls over hoping for penalty. None is forthcoming.
Sissoko barrels through midfield, arse swinging, so Tielemans brings him down and accepts the inevitable booking.
Leicester are really making Spurs fight for this. The decision to chuck the cups looks even more ludicrous when you consider how they've played today and how they played in the second half last week. They have the players and characters to bother any team.
Evans lofts a ball down the right for Iheanacho, who pulls inside Vertonghen then looks to use him as a screen, looking to pull a shit inside the near post ... but can only ruffle the side-netting.
Weird to think that Vardy has given Leicester a penalty-box threat.
Spurs dispose of a couple of minutes, but then Ricardo again raids down the right and clips a cross that sees Vardy pulling off his man! But on the half-turn and half-volley, he can only shoot high.
But here comes another move in that regard: Wanyama replaces Llorente. I guess I see that, but Llorente is also an out-ball - who's going to hold it up when it's cleared? Son can carry and chase, but he's not a target to hit.
Spurs have already adjusted their formation to try and hold on - I imagine they'll keep things as they are now, and trust their five defenders to see it out.
So what have Leicester got left? What have Spurs got left?
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Leicester City Or is it! A long passage of possession sees Ndidi move it wide to Ricardo, who plays a one-two off Tielemans - his gentle return is gorgeous, weighted to perfection - and the ensuing low cross is turned home by Vardy, ahead of Vertonghen. You can't keep a good mongrel down!
Leicester keep at it, but they know it's gone.
Tielemans has been much quieter this half, but there's a lot to like about a midfield with him and Maddison in it.
In the meantime, Spurs replaced Skipp with Alderweireld, and Leicester then brought on Iheanacho for Ghezzal.
Apologies, my system crashed again.
Dearie me, poor old Harvey. Again, he's in on goal - this time, put through by Vardy's lovely slide-rule pass. He's alone inside the box, and could finish in any manner of his choosing, but instead panics, opening his body to bang low and straight without even looking at Lloris, who reads his intention and saves with his studs.
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Leicester City (Eriksen) ... then they do now! Ricardo dawdles on the ball, Skipp does well to block his eventual clearance, and then Eriksen plays into Llorenet who's clever touch-off sets him for a shit, and he larrups low inside the near post from 20 yards! Is it on?!
If Spurs didn't think things were going for them before...
Anyway, Spurs clear the corner.
Zico, of course, came on in the Brazil-France quarter-final at Mexico 86, took a penalty with his first touch, and Joel Bats saved it. He did later score one in the shootout, but France went through in one of the greatest games ever played.
AHHHHHHH! VARDY GOES LOW AND HARD TO LLORIS' RIGHT .... AND LLORIS PLUNGES TO PUSH AROUND THE POST! DID VARDY LEARN NOTHING FROM ZICO?!
PENALTY TO LEICESTER! It looks dodgy to me, I must say ... very dodgy. A brilliant turn from Ndidi diddles Vertonghen on the left of the box, Winks slides in to move the loose ball, and then Vertonghen appears back on the scene to challenge Maddison who goes down. There's very little in this, but Michael Oliver points to the spot ... and on comes Vardy for Gray to take it!
Chilwell, who looks a real player, surges in off the touchline and makes for the middle. When no one comes to challenge, he quickly finds himself just outside the box, stretching into a low right-footer that Lloris fields comfortably enough.
But here he is now, taking a cut-back from Barnes after Chilwell lifts one over the top, swivelling to shoot straight at Lloris.
Bit of possession for Spurs now, who were really let off the hook there. The way Gray went up, it was as though he was wondering how he even came to be in that position.
But here's Gray now, making a run between Vertonghen and Sanchez ... and Ricardo's cross picks him out! But his jump is weak, as though he doesn't expect to score, and he does not, heading down and straight at Lloris. I wonder if Vardy does better there... no I don't of course he does.
Maddison moves it wide to Chilwell, who thunders a shot against Trippier. So far, this half looks like the first, with Leicester looking busier and more inventive.
Back to Gray, he may have potential as a centre-forward, but it's tricky to stick him there when the ball doesn't really stick with him and his team-mates aren't looking to play him in.
Sky show us a graphic illustrating that Demarai Gray isn't really playing centre-forward and in the meantime Trippier raids down the right, clipping back a cross that's slightly behind Llorente, and he forces a header over the top.
Off we go again.
Leicester will be extremely vex to be behind here - they've played very nicely, and Youri Tielemans has been the game's dominant figure, by far. But they've missed chances - again - and then succumbed to a sucker-punch set-piece. Still, there's plenty left in this for them.
Half-time: Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Leicester City
A bit of the pop has gone out of Leicester's passing here. But they needn't worry because Spurs are still not playing well. And here they come again, Tielemans taking an excellent hook down the left from Chilwell and striking across the ball from close to the corner flag, forcing Lloris to shovel it behind. The corner comes to nothing.
There'll be two added minutes.
Eriksen and Sissoko combine to find Trippier, again advanced down the right, but Maguire heads his cross away easily enough.
A quiet period.
Tell you what, Harvey Barnes could be a player. He lacks a bit of composure at key moments, but he's very quick and takes up good positions. A goal would do wonders for him.
Leicester have gone a little quiet since conceding.
Ok, it probably still won't matter, because they'd need to win the heads-to-head and both Liverpool and City seems to have their number in that aspect. But you never know.
Apologies, my system crashed. But as I was saying, Leicester finally start a game in proper manner, and still find themselves behind as we near half-time. Spurs, on the other hand, will be wondering if things are just going for them. If they can only hang on until Kane and Alli return...
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Leicester City (Sanchez) Sickener for Leicester! Trippier pulls the corner back to Eriksen, loitering outside the box, near side, and he whips a glorious cross into the middle for Sanchez to diving-head his first Spurs goal. Leicester plead for offside but replays show that it's just on, and even if it isn't, it's so close that the benefit of the doubt has to go to the attacker.
Eriksen lifts a ball into space down the side of the box for Son, and he lashes a shot into Maguire and behind.
How many chances are Leicester going to miss? Chilwell rinses Eriksen 25 yards from goal and then slides a fine pass inside Trippier for Barnes, who glides onto it, moves inside, and then when he should shoot takes another touch before pulling a shot wide of the near post. This is excellent from Leicester and abject from Spurs.
But but but but but he plays for Gareth Southgate's England?
Spurs clear the corner but only partially, and Chilwell collects a ball ahead of a sliding Vertonghen, collapsing under the inevitable foul. Vertonghen is booked, and then Chilwell bends in a lovely low free-kick which Ndidi pokes wide from three yards... he's relieved to see the flag go up.
Ndidi and Tielemans work it wide to Ghezzal and Vertonghen flicks a header behind....
I agree with this. Spurs have a serviceable midfield, but it lacks the kind of class we're seeing from Tielemans because Eriksen is having a quiet one.
And here comes Tielemans through midfield, so obviously Sissoko scissors in. He avoids a booking, but it's a fair summation of the game so far.
Bit of possession for Spurs. They really need to get closer to Tielemans, and that might entail a change of formation because 4-4-2, diamond or not, doesn't really allow for that kind of thing.
Another nice pass from Tielemans, who takes a pass, turns, and rolls Barnes in behind Trippier. The ensuing cut-back is decent too, but Maddison, who really needs to address his finishing, loops a sweep wide.
Ghezaal lays off and Rose takes the opportunity to leave one on him. It's not much but it's enough, and he's booked.
But here come Spurs! Trippier snaps a square ball into Eriksen, who plays into Llorente. Behind him, Son anticipates the hold-up touch and takes over, spreading to Rose down the left. He nips inside Ricardo, drives a low shot, and Schmeichel does well to repel it before the flag goes up against Llorente.
Tielemans is loving this, and sets Ghezaal away with another perceptive pass. Nothing comes of it, but he is easily the key figure in this game so far.
Son is back involved immediately, dashing down the left before Ricardo sees him into touch. Meanwhile, on the touchline, Rose accepts treatment.
Spurs have been listless so far. They need to get Eriksen on the ball ... and here he is, diddling Ndidi then sliding a pass through to Son that doesn't make it; Maguire intercepts, Son falls, and is booked for diving. He is not impressed, and that's even before he endures the shame of a lecture from Harrance Maguire.
Sissoko flights a pass out to Trippier - he really does, I promise! - and he aims a cross at Llorente ... but it's just too strong.
Spurs need to wake up here. We've seen over the last few weeks that Leicester are good enough to bother any side, but usually they've had to do so from behind. Here, they've started properly, and that could be a problem for the home side.
Leicester are into this! Tielemans slides a lovely pass inside Trippier and Barnes is onto it, but he can only lash across Lloris and wide. Not by much, but by enough.
Leicester win a free-kick on the right touchline and Maddison swings it to the back post, where Maguire has escaped the indolent Llorent. His traction-engine head gets there too, only to thump at Lloris, who tips over. Then, from the corner, Evans is up in the middle of the box, but can only direct his header over the top. Two good chances, wasted.
Nothing whatsoever to do with football ... except for the fact that it's brilliant.
Son hares forward, chops himself into space, and loses his footing.
Rose finds Llorente, who clips a luscious ball out wide to Trippier, but Evans heads his cross away. He and Maguire are developing into a very nice partnership.
Spurs move it quickly through midfield, Eriksen to Llorente, and the ball goes wide to Rose, whose looping cross falls for Trippier when Chilwell charges it like a child in the playground. His shot is deflected behind for a corner which comes to nothing.
On the bench, Vardy chews gum with significant aggression. I think he's offering us a morse code message.
Spurs set us away. They have three players lined up on one side of the centre-circle, but the long ball goes into touch.
The players do more hugging and that. All the difference.
Here they come!
The players are tunnelled and hugging.
This does seem like the beginnings of a him or me situation. I know who I'm going with if I'm a Leicester fan.
"Jamie, have a rest today. I'm worried about the pressure you're under."
"Sure thing gaffer, guvnor, boss. Thanks!"
Puel wants to 'develop different options" aside from Vardy and there's "too much pressure" on him. Ahahahaha. It sounds like Gray will play through the middle, and Puel thinks he has the attributes so to do.
Pochettino says sometimes you pick different players and different formations. Great stuff.
TEAM CHANGE: Mendy has injured himself in the warm-up, so Ndidi comes in.
I'm now wondering if Spurs will play a diamond, with Winks at its base, Eriksen at its tip, and Sissoko and Skipp at the sides.
At Carrow Road, it's Norwich 1-0 Ipswich, and Paul Lambert, the Norwich manager, has just been sent-off after some handbags for which I'm now desperately searching.
So what's going to happen today, I hear you ask. I reckon we'll see a tight game, which Spurs sneak 2-1.
Seriously, what is wrong with people.
Ledley King speaks really highly of Oliver Skipp, a "tremendous young player,", then compares him to the venerable Scott E. Parker. Now I don't know what to think.
Spurs have interesting recently, winning games in the dying stages. On the one hand, that reflects a team struggling to get it done; on the other, that reflects a team able to find a way.
As for Spurs, I'm looking forward to seeing how Oliver Skipp gets on. I love the faith Pochettino has in his young players, though Leicester might fancy themselves against a midfield with him and Winks at its centre.
But it ain't Tottenham
True say that my dad lived in Tottenham
In my crib, man can't chat about Arsenal
Man are real Spur, I'm chatting about Tottenham, yeah
Man are from Tottenham
True say that my dad lived in Tottenham
In my crib, man can't chat about Arsenal
Man are real Spur, I'm chatting about Tottenham, yeah
The other things with this Vardy change is that Ghezzal has done absolutely nothing to take his shirt off him.
On the plus side for Leicester, I really enjoyed watching Harvey Barnes last week. If he can get at Trippier, there's plenty of joy to be had. And I'm also looking forward to watching Youri Tielemans. I know Jardim doesn't like him, but he's looked good when I've seen him. I bet he'd enjoy someone making Vardy's runs ahead of him.
There's been plenty of chunter about Puel all the time he's been at Leicester, and a repeating theme is that his style doesn't suit Vardy - the ball takes too long to go forward, which compromises the scavenging runs and screaming pace. I know one thing: the people most happy to see this team sheet play centre-back for Spurs.
But what's this? Leicester go 4-5-1, with Tielemans coming in for his debut in place of Ndidi - I'm surprised he's the one to miss out - and Ghezzal replacing Vardy! If he didn't pass some expletives in Puel's direction last week, I'll bet he made up for it this week.
So Spurs bring in Rose for Alderweireld, Skipp for Lamela and Llorente for Lucas Moura. They'll move from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 - my guess is Mauricio Pochettino is expecting Leicester to play that way, and backs his players to be better.
Let's have some teams...
So, do we or do we not have a three-way title race? It's been a while - the last of the name was in 01-02, when Arsenal burned off Manchester United and Liverpool with a ludicrous 13-game winning run. And the last one that went down to the wire was 85-86, when Liverpool, Everton and West Ham all went into the final day with a chance of becoming champions.
Anyway, it's not entirely easy to see a way for Spurs, who aren't as good as Manchester City, don't have Liverpool's power, and also don't have a home ground. But for now they're there so must be treated accordingly, and absolutely must win this afternoon.
Ok, "Tottenham Hotspur". But here we go!
Afternoon all and welcome to Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City!