Two-goal win at Leicester
Leicester City 0-2 Spurs
Sat 08 December 2018, 21:41|Tottenham Hotspur
A rare Saturday night outing saw us take maximum points thanks to a Dele Alli-inspired display at Leicester City.
The England international was at the centre of almost everything we produced attack-wise at the King Power Stadium, capping his evening with a mirror image of his first Premier League goal on the very same ground back in August, 2015.
That came shortly before the hour mark as we pressed home the advantage following a cracker from Heung-Min Son on the stroke of half-time, securing a comfortable 2-0 victory.
The pre-match discussion centred around both teams starting without their talismanic strikers - Jamie Vardy out injured for the hosts and Harry Kane rotated to the bench for us - but it was another forward, Son, who gave us the lead right at the end of a first half that offered little in the way of clear chances for either side. Indeed, the goal was the first shot on target. Moussa Sissoko burst onto the ball in the right channel, possession eventually came to Serge Aurier tight to the touchline and Son came short to collect it before advancing in-field and bending a left-footer into the top corner with aplomb from 20 yards out.
The Foxes had enjoyed more of the possession in the first 10 minutes but we soon began to impose ourselves on the game, with Dele instrumental to our best play as we sought to break down a packed defence. He sent Son clean through on goal but the attacker's sublime first touch was deemed immaterial as the off-side flag sprung up, while the England midfielder's stylish play around the edge of the area was a constant thorn in Leicester's side.
Dele almost worked a shooting chance after a give-and-go with Son in the tightest of spaces inside the box just before the break, only to be robbed at the last second by Wes Morgan, but it was Son's shot from range that undid the Foxes in first-half added time.
James Maddison had pinged some useful balls over the top for Leicester but they couldn't take advantage. The hosts did manage to test Hugo Lloris a couple of times in the second half, but the captain saved from Demarai Gray and Rachid Ghezzal twice.
We doubled our lead on 58 minutes as Dele brought up his 50th Spurs goal with shades of his very first on the exact same ground. Son crossed from the left side of the box, Dele came in with a diving back-post header and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was left sprawling in his net as the ball flew in. Kane, Christian Eriksen and Academy product Kyle Walker-Peters - on for his first Premier League appearance since facing the same opponents on the final day of last season - were subsequently introduced as we saw out the game comfortably, reclaiming the third place we'd held at the start of the day and moving within six points of top spot.
Clear shooting chances were tough to fashion in the first half, but we managed to find the breakthrough on the stroke of half-time.
It needed something special from Son to do it as he curled beyond Schmeichel from 20 yards, but it meant we went in ahead at the break and gave us the platform to push on and complete the victory in the second half.
"It was key because it was at the end of the first half and that provided the belief to go on and the possibility to win the game," said Mauricio Pochettino.
Manager Mauricio was pleased with the contributions of all the players as we emerged victorious having rotated the side with five changes from the midweek win over Southampton.
"The performance was solid, I’m so happy about that, so pleased and that helps us prepare for the game at Barcelona (on Tuesday)," he said.
"It’s always a difficult place to play. Leicester are a very good team and to show the character and that solid performance is an amazing thing. After all the players involved in the last few weeks, playing and rotating, that says a lot about the squad."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Leicester City 0-2 Spurs
Leicester City (4-3-3): Schmeichel, Ricardo, Morgan (c), Evans, Chilwell, Mendy (Okazaki 79), Ndidi, Iborra (Albrighton 56), Gray, Iheanacho (Ghezzal 56), Maddison. Substitutes (not used): Ward, Fuchs, Maguire, Choudhury.
Spurs (4-3-1-2): Lloris (c), Aurier (Walker-Peters 77), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Dier, Sissoko, Dele, Lucas (Eriksen 66), Son (Kane 74). Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Rose, Skipp, Nkoudou.
Goals: Spurs - Son 45+1, Dele 58.
Yellow cards: Leicester - Mendy 16, Albrighton 64, Gray 81; Spurs - Dier 9.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Venue: King Power Stadium, Leicester.
Weather: Fresh, eight degrees.