Tottenham Hotspur beat Leicester City 3-1 at Wembley on Sunday keep them in contention in the Premier League title race.
The Foxes caused Mauricio Pochettino’s side all sorts of problems, with the likes of Harvey Barnes and Demarai Gray missing a number of chances, while Jamie Vardy also missed a penalty.
Vardy did manage to pull a goal back for Claude Puel’s side after Davinson Sanchez and Christian Eriksen had given the home side a 2-0 lead, but Heung-Min Son added a late goal to put the result beyond doubt.
But what did we learn from the game? Read on to find out.
1. Poch’s full-back dilemma
With a Champions League last-16 tie fast approaching this Wednesday, Pochettino will be seriously stressing over which full-back combination to go with.
Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier were the starters for the Argentine today and although both attacked well, Spurs were a shambles at the back.
The number of times the likes of Ben Chilwell, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans managed to slip balls inside Rose and Trippier was extremely alarming, with Harvey Barnes losing the England internationals at will.
Barnes, however, is still incredibly naive and wasted the many opportunities that came his way.
That, however, will not be the case when Spurs come up against Jadon Sancho on Wednesday, with the 19-year-old already scoring eight goals and providing 10 assists for Dortmund so far this season. He must be licking his lips.
2. Tielemans keeps Foxes ticking
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Claude Puel said new Leicester signing, Youri Tielemans, was “ready to bring his qualities” to the clash against Spurs, and the Belgian didn’t disappoint.
On what was an extremely promising debut, Tielemans left the pitch with a 91% pass success rate and had Pochettino looking extremely nervous with the number of times he split the Spurs back four open.
Barnes, in particular, was the beneficiary of Tieleman’s passing prowess, although the youngster showed his lack of experience, often squandering the chances laid on for him.
Regardless, Tielemans looks to be the perfect caveat to the tough-tackling Wilfried Ndidi in the Leicester engine room.
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3. Vardy gamble backfires
Puel’s decision to drop Vardy on Sunday was described as “odd” by Match of the Day presenter – and former Foxes striker – Gary Lineker.
This decision intensified speculation that the pair are in the middle of a feud right now, something which Puel was keen to dismiss.
“I would like to develop other options than Jamie,” Puel told Sky Sports when asked why he had dropped the former England striker.
Either way, his gamble backfired spectacularly. Leicester managed to conjure up nine shots on target compared to Spurs’ five at Wembley against a shambolic Spurs defence, but the likes of Barnes and Gray were like rabbits in the headlights when the chances came their way – chances that Vardy would have gobbled up for breakfast.
Things got even worse for Puel when he did finally introduce the 32-year-old to the action, with Vardy’s first touch coming in the form of a penalty that was parried wide by Hugo Lloris – three minutes later, Christian Eriksen had put Spurs 2-0 up and out of sight.
And in typical Vardy fashion, the former non-league striker proved a final point to Puel by getting on the end of Ricardo Pereira’s cross to pull a goal back for the Foxes – if only he had been on the end of the countless other chances Leicester created at Wembley.
4. Dead-eye Eriksen
Eriksen put Spurs 2-0 ahead on Sunday with a sublime finish from the edge of the area, giving the Lilywhites some vital breathing space against an incredibly dangerous Leicester side.
The goal was vintage Eriksen, the fourth consecutive goal the Dane has scored from outside the box and his seventh of the season in total.
The 26-year-old’s strike against Leicester was his 20th Premier League goal from outside the box since he made his debut in September 2013, symbolic of one of the division’s best midfielders right now.
Christian Eriksen has scored more goals from outside of the box this season than any other player in the Premier League (4).
Another peach. 👌 pic.twitter.com/GSO6aPXoN4
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5. Bottlers or battlers?
Prior to today’s win, Spurs had won their last three Premier League games against Newcastle, Watford and Fulham by a single goal.
The north Londoners may have prevailed 3-1 today, but they had to wait until second-half stoppage time for Son to add the third goal and were hanging on at times against an ambitious Leicester side.
Regardless of the performance, the win puts them back to within five points of the Premier League leaders and shows Pochettino’s side are sticking around for the title fight.
Sunday’s win was ugly, dogged and slightly fortuitous. But if Spurs can win every game this way, they will be well and truly in the title shake-up come the end of the season.