Tottenham Hotspur 3:1 Leicester City
City were the better side against Tottenham in a 3-1 defeat at Wembley on Sunday, but failed to turn chances into goals…
Claude Puel starting XI saw Vardy relegated to the bench, and Tielemans in for Ndidi, though Mendy injured himself in the warm-up and Ndidi was reinstated.
The exclusion of Vardy fuelled the rumours that he had fallen out with Puel, but the Frenchman commented: “I would like to develop other options than Jamie.”
After some early Spurs pressure we got our first glimpse of Tielemans who played a fine ball through to Gray in the 7th minute, but the threat was extinguished by Sánchez.
A minute later Maguire got a firm header to a Maddison free-kick, but Lloris managed to guide it over the bar.
Another great ball from Teilemans sent set Barnes up for a chance, but he missed the target, going narrowly wide of the right hand post.
In the 16th minute there were loud calls for a penalty when Son went down under a challenge from Maguire on edge of the area, but referee Michael Oliver produced a yellow card for simulation.
Two minutes later Rose cut in from the left and fired in a shot but Schmeichel stood firm to block from close quarters.
As the game moved from end to end Maddison wasted a decent chance with a tame, off-target effort. Then Ndidi bodged an attempt from close in after a good Chilwell cross, but the linesman’s flag spared his blushes.
Chilwell then did well to recover a ball he’d lost before setting up Barnes with a golden chance. But he snatched at his shot and sent it wide of the left hand post.
After a good spell for City it was Spurs who took a 33rd minute lead. A superb cross from Eriksen found Sánchez, who got a yard ahead of Maguire to send a thumping header past Schmeichel, for his first goal for Spurs.
City pressed forward as half time approached, but a series of corners came to nothing. The best chance came from Tielemans who retrieved a ball from the dead ball line and delivered a swerving shot that almost caught out Lloris at his near post.
But a decent performance still saw City trailing at the break, with the number of chances missed suggesting that playing without a striker might not be the best idea.
However, City started the second half unchanged.
City created the first decent chance of the half when Ricardo curled in a cross, but Gray’s header went straight at Lloris. Five minutes later Gray turned and fired in a shot, but again it lacked the striker’s instinct, going straight at Lloris.
At last Vardy was standing ready to be brought on in the 57th minute, when City were awarded a penalty after Verthongen knocked Maddison over as he was shaping to shoot.
Vardy came on for Gray, Maddison gladly handed the ball over and Vardy was in the rare position of taking a penalty with his first touch. But he sent it too close to Lloris, who guessed right and tipped it round the left hand post.
To make matters worse, Spurs then doubled their lead in the 64th minute.
As City failed to clear a Tottenham attack, Eriksen was given time and space on the edge of the area to curl a shot just inside the left hand post.
City kept pressing forward and a nod from Vardy sent Barnes clear on goal, but he completed a hat trick of misses firing the ball at Lloris with the goal gaping.
Puel made his second change in the 72nd minute, bringing Iheanacho on for Ghezzal, as City were now dominating play. They pulled a goal back in the 76th minute after a long spell of passes that ended with Ricardo curling a cross in for Vardy to sweep home from close in.
Spurs were clinging to their lead now with City piling forward, and Vardy went close with a snapshot from a Ricardo ball that just beat the angle. Then Iheanacho found the side-netting with a low shot.
But with City pressing so hard they were vunerable to the counter and Spurs sealed the points in the 90th minute. A Chilwell ball into the area gave Sissoko an opportunity to launch a ball forward to Son, Ndidi lost his footing as he tried to intercept and Son hared towards goal before producing a neat finish to win the game.
It had been another baffling performance from City, who looked excellent at times and were the better side, but not having a striker on the field for an hour led to missed chances. And then when a striker came on, he missed a spot kick.
Claude Puel reflected:“It’s the same feeling after our game against United. Another time today, we made good collective performance, with good quality and good moves. We hurt them, without finding efficiency. It’s a big shame.”
Perhaps the most positive thing about the afternoon was the performance of Tielemans, who looked a class act and should give Vardy some bullets to fire. Assuming Puel will put Vardy back in the starting line-up…
Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Sánchez, Vertonghen, Rose (Walker-Peters 88), Winks, Sissoko, Skipp (Alderweireld 71), Eriksen, Llorente (Wanyama 80), Son Heung-Min.
Substitutes: Foyth, Gazzaniga, Aurier, Lucas Moura
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi, Ghezzal (Iheanacho 72), Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes (Okazaki 88), Gray (Vardy 59),
Substitutes: Simpson, Morgan, Ward, Choudhury.
Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 44,154.
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