|DATE||Saturday 22nd August 2015|
|VENUE||King Power Stadium|
Tottenham travel to second placed Leicester City, who are "Under New
Management" with former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri now in the hot
seat. Nigel Pearson did well to keep the Foxes afloat at the
end of last season, but the ambitious owners were e not going to
hang around to bring in a big name manager ... or Claudio Ranieri.
To give him his credit, the side have been on their game at the start of this season after struggling for months last campaign. Their win over Sunderland might not look as special as it first seemed, as most teams might stick some goals past them unless they improve quickly and their win at West Ham United was slightly more impressive. They have brought in some decent signings, with the owners using their knowledge of the far and middle eastern markets to good effect. Gokhan Inler has been brought in to fill the gap left by Esteban Cambiasso and Japanese striker Shinji Oakazaki looking useful, while not possibly being the regular goal-scorer they need. However, they have Kramaric, Vardy and Ulloa in that department to help out. Vardy looks a dangerous player in more ways than one and he has been standing out for City so far.
In midfield, Riyad Mayhrez has been featuring highly on reporters' column inches. A wide midfielder who can score and create, he looks like continuing his good form from last season and Mark Albrighton has got a new lease of life in the midfield too. With Matt James out for a long period, Leicester need a strong midfield and Andy King adds to that, being a useful box to box player, who can finish too. Jefferey Schlupp gives width on the other side of the pitch and the full backs like to get beyond the midfielders, leaving Robert Huth and Wes Morgan to patrol the centre of the defence. Covering those holes might be where Spurs can find a weakness in their system. They need to protect Kasper Schmeichel in goal, as he is a good shot stopper, but is not the biggest and the lack of speed in the back four might expose them, if Tottenham can find some pace from somewhere. Clinton Njie perhaps ?? Wes Morgan and Robert Huth are good enough in the air, but there is not a great deal of height in the Spurs attack, so playing the ball on the ground could be the key to getting past their defence.
With confidence behind them with two wins, Leicester on their own patch will be a difficult opponent. Tottenham need to sharpen up their game and provide support quicker to avoid leaving Harry Kane bearing the brunt of the goal-scoring duties. He will be heavily marked this season, which should leave space for others to make inroads into the other team's defensive third. The new manager has got them playing to simple system, using the out ball through wide men to stretch the opposition and make space for either the forwards or men running through from midfield, so it is these runs that will have to be tracked and matched should Spurs want to break through at the other end.
The need to add speed to our
attack this season is imperative, with last season proving that we
could do much better in certain games. Winning the
corresponding match at the King Power Stadium last season means
anything less will see us drop behind the points total from the same
games and the way the two sides are performing, I think the outcome
may be a draw.
|PREDICTION||Leicester City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Andros Townsend misses the game with an ankle injury, after just getting over a shoulder injury. Clinton Njie has now received his work permit and can play in the match if selected.
LEICESTER CITY TEAM NEWS :
New signing Gokhan Inler might make his debut, with Christian FUchs fit again after suffering an illness. Matt James is the only long term injury in the Leicester camp.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
1 (0) Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday 22nd August 2015 Kick off 15:00
King Power Stadium
|Mahrez 81m 37s||Alli 80m 07s|
King (foul on Alli) 90+2
Dembele (foul on Albrighton) 29
Lamela (foul on Schlupp) 31
Dier (foul on Vardy) 60
Mason (foul on Okazaki) 83
|Crowd : 31,971||Weather : Sunny, warm; light rain in second half|
|Referee : Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Child; Mr. M. Mullarkey|
|Fourth Official : Lee Mason||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Spion Kop end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 6 minutes.|
|Leicester City :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
2 Richie de
Leonardo ULLOA 90+4)
9 Jamie VARDY
Tom CARROLL 77)
10 Harry KANE
|Manager : Claudio Ranieri||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : King Power||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Puma||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Mauricio Pochettino had to make a change before kick off and shuffle his players during the game, but kept Harry Kane on this time, but it only brought about the same outcome ... a lead and a draw at the final whistle. Not a bad result against a Leicester City team riding high on good form, but one that was less than convincing.
Missing Christian Eriksen looked a blow, as he is usually our most creative midfielder, but Lamela was given the chance to show what he could do from the middle of the attacking three. With Clinton Njie not included in the squad, it left Harry Kane to battle away up front on his lonesome.
Drinkwater took Mason out above the knee inside two minutes and Atkinson failed to deliver the expected yellow card and the game was untidy at the start, with Walker letting a pass escape him and go off for a throw-in and Mason putting a throw in to him straight back out past Davies. Vertonghen then played a pass straight off the pitch and then sliced a clearance straight up in the air in his own box (also looking as if he gave Vardy a shove) as Spurs failed to settle. When Tottenham went forward, the home side got plenty of men behind the ball, but when they went forward they were keen to go down under challenge to win free-kicks to put into the box.
Mahrez beat Davies and went past him again, only to be brought down for a free-kick on the right edge of the Spurs box. Davies made up for his error by heading the ball in away for a corner. As Leicester played the ball all the way back to Schmeichel, Kane closed him down and blocked his clearance, with the Foxes' keeper breathing a sigh of relief as the ball went wide for a goal-kick, when it could easily have gone anywhere. Dembele had hit Tottenham's first real effort at goal after about five minutes and Leicester had a shot when Albrighton cut in from their left and fired a shot over the bar in the 18th minute of the match.
Spurs were struggling with Kane on his own up front, as he was having trouble holding onto the ball against the strength of Morgan and it didn't help when Vertonghen kept passing the ball out of play. Trying to work our right wing, Schlupp was proving difficult to get past, with Walker and Dembele being tackled by him, but there was more space on our left, but Davies' cross after playing a one-two with Mason, was blocked out for a corner. Dier got under it and the ball sailed harmlessly over the top.
25 minutes in, the players all stopped for a drinks break, leaving most of the crowd a little confused. When play resumed, Spurs had a shot when he came inside from the right on his left foot and drove a low shot that Schmeichel had to dive to his left to palm away. Following a couple of soft bookings for Spurs compared to what had gone before, Leicester got eleven men back into their defensive third to make it hard for Tottenham to break through. So, when Dembele passed the ball behind Mason on the edge of the Leicester box, City broke out quickly and Vardy played a cross across the face of goal, with no blue shirt on hand to put it away. IN their next attack, three minutes before the break, Vertonghen looked to be pulling Mahrez's shirt when he turned in the box, but Atkinson gave nothing.
With seconds of the first half remaining, Lloris went route one and found Kane running into the home team's area. The striker was probably a little frustrated that he hadn't had a lot of supply, so hit a cross-shot from way out left and the ball went across the goal and away for a throw. Mason turned away from two City players 20 yards out and hit a shot that went over the top, then a neat one-two with Kane saw Ryan's shot blocked on the 18 yard line. Before you knew it, the play had moved to the other end and the same happened to Mahrez just before the whistle for half-time blew.
Dembele had been at the centre of much of Tottenham's play, but he needed to come in on his left foot a lot of the time and when he turned with a man in front of him, there were few options for him to lay the ball off. The first half had been scrappy and there was little pattern or flow to the play.
Leicester started the second half on the front foot, but it was Spurs who should have been making the keeper save, as a good string of passes freed Walker on the right and his ball inside the full back found Chadli getting onto it in the box, but he fired a shot wide of the target at the near post, when he might have been better firing it across goal. Lloris fielded a ball played beyond Vardy, while the striker's opposite number Kane was only able to run into defenders, as he lacked the support he needed. For once, he got past Huth, getting on the end of a long ball and he managed to pull a low ball back for Lamela to jab a shot at goal, getting in front of his marker at the near post. Erik couldn't get it on target though.
Spurs were happy to see Drinkwater's shot go wide of Lloris' post when he broke into the box and cut inside Mason, then Hugo had to hurry to clear a ball into the box when it had been nicked off Spurs, trying to play the ball out from the back. From that, Spurs broke and Walker's cross was headed at goal by Chadli, but it flicked off a defender for a corner, which produced another corner and then Chadli headed it over. Taking the goal-kick quickly, Lloris had to run out of his area and to the touch-line to head the ball out of play with Spurs caught out.
Chadli hit a shot over the bar when under little pressure, after he had nicked the ball off de Laet and Mason had returned it to him, but the game was changing ends quite quickly despite Spurs trying to calm it down by holding possession. That was the problem, as when it was lost, Leicester went direct for goal and Dier was lucky there were a couple of covering defenders when he blatantly tripped Vardy, midway into the Spurs half.
A couple of minutes after the hour, Kane was played in on the left corner of the area, wriggling past three defenders, he was stretching to get his shot away before Schlupp closed in and he ended up hitting it straight at Schmeichel with little power. Lamela soon made way for Dele Alli, with Spurs attacking from the restart and Walker having a bobbling low shot easily stopped by the Foxes' keeper. Hugo had a more difficult situation in the 69th minute, when Mahrez cut in from their right wing and struck a shot early to the keeper's near post, but the ball rebounded out off the foot of the post. The drinks time out followed soon after.
Out of the blue, Spurs broke as Kane turned away from two markers and played the ball left to Chadli. He looked up and put in a cross to the heart of the penalty area, where it was missed by Morgan and Kane, but Dele Alli was alert at the far post to run in and stoop to head the ball past Schmeichel from close range. It was a well taken goal and one that Spurs need to help out when Kane is running into a brick wall. so, 1-0 to Spurs with ten minutes left.
Could Spurs hold out ? What do you think ? Within 90 seconds it was 1-1, when Mahrez was allowed to run into the Spurs box on our left and Vertonghen allowed him to cut back and curl a shot past Lloris top level things up. It was a disappointing time to concede and showed a lack of concentration. They were lucky not to have gone a goal behind with two minutes left, as Mahrez was on the left and swung a cross in that Morgan met well with his head, but it hit Lloris in the chest from point blank range and Davies hacked the ball clear.
Right on 90 minutes, Kane and Chadli interchanged passes and when the defence dithered, Alli almost got onto the ball before Schmeichel finally reacted and fell on the ball. Spurs were getting into the final third in the four minutes of added time and Kane won a corner on the Spurs right, which came to Alderweireld at the far post and his volley was blocked for another corner. It was cleared but Tottenham kept the ball in the Leicester half until the final whistle.
Two good goals lit up the match, which was a bit of an untidy affair. Spurs looked shaky at the back, although picking up four bookings to Leicester's one was a reflection more of Martin Atkinson's performance than the ruthlessness of the Spurs players. Leicester had a couple of chances, which resulted in a goal and an instinctive stop from Lloris, but despite not having many opening ourselves, it was frustrating not being able to manage the game when ahead. Concentration was at fault and letting Mahrez go that far in the area was only asking for it.
Still lots to work on, but then still a lot of work to do off the pitch before next Tuesday.
Two points lost on last year's match at the KP, so the home win over Everton secured last season will have to be replicated next week to give us a chance of keeping up with last season's total. For that to happen, we need to switch on for all of the 90 minutes.
Leicester City were
originally called "The Hounds" and not "The Foxes", as the county is
well known for it's hunting heritage. They had previously
spurned the nickname "The Hares" as they were immaculately turned
out in those days.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Benny The Ball||
Those muppets on the American commentary make me realise why the
soccer fans in that country probably mis-understand what the game is
all about. Trevor Francis is biased against Spurs to such a
degree his nose has turned blue. And the other bloke (whoever
he was) said when Dele Alli scored, "There's the equaliser for
Jeez. These guys make US
Soccer Guy on Twitter look knowledgeable.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Crystal Palace||2||Aston Villa||1||Saturday|
|Manchester United||0||Newcastle United||0||Saturday|
|Norwich City||1||Stoke City||1||Saturday|
|West Ham United||3||Bournemouth||4||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||2||Chelsea||3||Sunday|
|11||West Ham United||3||1||0||2||6||4||3||0|
|20||West Bromwich Albion||3||0||1||2||2||6||1||-4|
Position before match :
Position after match : 15th
Position after the weekend : 16th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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