Leicester City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs’ winless start to the season continued at the KP Stadium, and the game contained all the hallmarks of a typical Tottenham display of as far back as you can remember, decent possession, nice football, no cutting edge, and soft underbelly.
The game was a lively an exciting encounter between two sides who both like to play good football with the ball on the floor and was exactly the type of away game that Spurs would have prevailed in last season. Saturday though, Tottenham took to the field without talisman Christian Eriksen, the guy who dug Spurs out of so many holes last campaign and ultimately that may have proved the difference between 1 point & 3 for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Tottenham as you might expect enjoyed the lions’ share of the possession playing some cultured football in the middle of the park, and Leicester broke regularly with pace & directness. Jamie Vardy often stretching the Spurs back line and the impressive livewire Riyad Mahrez constantly causing problems, particularly for Ben Davies at Left back who has rarely impressed since joining the club last summer and should be making way for Danny Rose as soon as the latter has returned to full fitness.
Leicester felt rightly aggrieved to have a strong penalty appeal turned down before half time when Mahrez jinked his way across the box only to be hauled down by the sluggish Jan Vertonghen. Atkinson waved the appeals away from less than 5 yards away, even the most rose tinted spurs fan would struggle to argue that the spot kick should have been given.
Harry Kane was instrumental in spurs taking the lead dropping deep to pick up the ball and driving at the Leicester defence, freeing Chadli to pick Dele Alli unmarked at the back post to head in his first Premier League goal. At just 19, he looks a real talent and at Tottenham should get the chance to flourish the season. Harry Kane has worked well this season so far and despite extending his goalless start to the campaign, put in another good performance. His tendency to drop deeper and wider to pick up the ball in the gaps vacated by the injured Eriksen highlights the lack of depth the Tottenham squad is suffering from this season. With Kane having to provide creativity, his presence in the box has been more infrequent than last season, and left him yet to get off the mark. The mumblings already about his goalless start are only going to add to the pressure, and despite some good displays, the unfair question marks over his start to the season will only become more prominent until that elusive first goal comes.
Having taken the lead though, most top sides would see the game out for the remaining 9 minutes. Tottenham lasted 20 seconds. Straight from kick off a high ball found its way to the feet of Mahrez who jinked into the box before curling a lovely left footed finish beyond Lloris into the far corner. A Spurs fan could be critical of the defending but in fairness it was a well taken goal and no less than Mahrez’ display deserved. Leicester could even have stolen all the points at the end when a point blank header hit Lloris when either side of him meant zero points coming back to White Hart Lane. Leicester were well worth their point in the end, and have been impressive so far this season, picking up from where they left off after their ‘great escape’ with Ranieri proving a few sections of the media wrong. Early days of course.
The situation of the team collectively conceding straight from kick off will be of bigger concern for Tottenham than the individual defensive failings in the build up to the equaliser. A strong character needs to be found in the next 7 days of transfer activity, if such a player exists within Tottenham’s tight budget. There is one game to be played between now and then though, a home evening kick off against an Everton side who performed impressively on their most recent away trip, dismantling Southampton 0-3. Last season at home to Everton was one of Spurs’ most impressive displays of the season in a 2-1. Even Roberto Soldado scored in open play which goes to show anything is possible, no matter how bad the form may appear
It’s sure to be another tight encounter which will be settled I’m sure by the odd goal. Spurs dare not lose this as confidence will sink even more and the season will threaten to run away from them before it’s even begun. Spurs will need to play better in that final 3rd to start turning some of their good performances into all important wins.
Prediction for next week
: Tottenham 1-1 Everton