Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City
I said if this Premier League encounter ended goalless that I’d eat my hat!
Now I don’t actually have a hat us fans but I meant what I said simply because these two are attacking-minded sides.
Even without the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and, surprisingly Jamie Vardy – kept on the bench for a reason yet to be made public – it was hard to see a stalemate, especially as there’s only been one goalless draw in the 97 league fixtures between Spurs and Leicester. That came in the second tier of English football in March 1948.
Highlights of the game
As well as the absence of Vardy, there was another unexpected change for the Foxes when Papy Mendy sustained an injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Wilfred Ndidi.
The late disruption didn’t seem to affect them as they created two early chances with Harry Maguire forcing Hugo Lloris to tip the ball over the bar before promising youngster Harvey Barnes fired narrowly wide after being played in by debutant Youri Tielemans.
It was Maguire who had helped earn Leicester a point 11 days earlier at Anfield and Spurs would have been well aware that they have taken points off many of the established big six so far this season.
As far as Premier League 2019 betting odds are concerned, Spurs are distinct outsiders in the title race but want to be in a position to pounce should the top two slip up.
Twenty minutes in and Kasper Schmeichel, a real talent in the mould of his father – recently voted the Premier League’s greatest ever goalkeeper – produced a top-drawer save to deny Danny Rose.
Schmeichel was powerless to prevent the deadlock being broken in the 33rd minute, however, when Christian Eriksen delivered the ball into the danger zone and Davinson Sanchez powered home a header.
It was his first goal for the club following his 2017 summer move from Ajax.
Into the second period and Leicester went close to an equaliser.
Demarai Gray, playing the lone frontman, headed straight at Lloris after a good ball from Ricardo Pereira and then shot at the keeper after good work from Ben Chilwell.
As promising as Gray is and, as enterprising as the likes of Chilwell and James Maddison are, visiting fans must have wondered what if Vardy had been on the pitch.
Moments later he was, just as Jan Vertonghen bundled over Maddison.
The scene seemed set but it must always be difficult to come onto the pitch and be thrust under the spotlight.
He entered the fray and saw the resulting spot-kick, his first touch, parried away by Lloris.
It was to prove a pivotal moment.
Within minutes, Leicester had surrendered possession and the ball made its way to Eriksen who produced a long-range trademark special from 20 yards which left Schmeichel with no chance.
Vardy was desperate to make amends and played in Barnes, who tested Lloris, before he reduced the arrears himself, expertly converting a pinpoint Pereira cross.
The Foxes deserved their goal and were pressing for an equaliser when Spurs sealed the contest in stoppage time.
Moussa Sissoko cleared a Leicester corner and, with the Foxes committed to attack, Son Heung-Min raced clear half the length of the pitch to despatch the third.
For the third game in a row, Son had provided another of the Premier League 2019 news stories and was the Spurs hero.
The last five Premier League meetings between these teams have produced 25 goals.
Spurs are without a draw in a Premier League record 30 matches.
They have scored six goals in the last 10 minutes of their past four league games.
Son has scored 10 goals in his past 11 league and cup appearances for Spurs and has scored four goals and set up two in his last three Premier League starts against Leicester.
Fernando Llorente has been involved in 11 goals in his past eight starts for Tottenham in all competitions (nine goals, two assists).
Leicester have lost four of their last five league games.
Over the last seven matches, only bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield have earned fewer points than their tally of four.
Leicester have won just one of their last 16 matches on a Sunday in all competitions (drawn four, lost 11). That solitary victory came against Everton in Claude Puel’s first game in October 2017.
Vardy has been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight league appearances against Tottenham, with five goals and three assists.
147 different players have scored for Spurs in the Premier League (level with West Ham).
Eriksen has assisted 57 Premier League goals since his debut in 2013.
Spurs welcome Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to Wembley in midweek as the Champions League knockout stages resume.
They then have 10 days off before a trip to Turf Moor to take on Burnley on February 23.
That is before a massive week with league doubles against arch rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.
It’s nearly a fortnight before Leicester play again.
It’s two home games in four days then for the Foxes who entertain Crystal Palace (February 23) before welcoming Brighton to town (February 26).
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