Signs of improvement?

Spurs 3 City 1

Report by Kate Thompson

All the talk before the game started was the dropping of Vardy to the bench.  Puel’s reason seemed a little thin and one couldn’t help thinking that the apparent spat between the two of them after the Manchester United game was a factor. 

I find it hard to believe that Vardy could be so petty as to object to his manager talking to a fellow Frenchman, even if he played for the opposition, but like so many things in football, we shall never know the truth.

The omission of Vardy was not the only surprise in the team, with Ghezzal starting the match, but I was pleased to see Tielemans make his debut. 

For the first half hour or so, City were the better team and if they had taken the lead during this period, only the most diehard Spurs fan would have begrudged them it. 

As it was, Spurs scored first when Sanchez hit the net with his first goal for the club from a diving header.  It really came out of the blue and was certainly against the run of play.  At half-time, the score remained at 1-0 to Spurs, but the second half was a lively affair.

City were awarded a penalty on the hour mark, and Maddison looked poised to take it despite missing his previous two attempts.  Cue further excitement when Vardy, waiting to come on in place of Gray, was handed the ball by Maddison (This all happened in front of the Leicester fans, so we could all clearly see Maddison give the ball to Vardy, not Vardy snatch it from him as reported in some quarters). but Lloris got a hand to it and it was saved. 

The Spurs fans felt this was recompense for Song being booked for diving in the first half when they felt it should have been a penalty.  In truth, this was the second occasion when Song had flung himself to the ground, so perhaps the yellow card for diving was a culmination of the two incidents. 

The second Spurs goal came about when two defenders dallied too near the box and Eriksen (who else) drove an unstoppable volley past his fellow Dane. 

This did not kill off the game, though, and Vardy scored a scruffy, but well-worked goal in the 75h minute. 

After this, City pressed for an equaliser but sadly this led to Song being left with all the time in the world to score a third in time added on at the end of the game. 

For the record, Ghezzal was replaced by Iheanacho in the 72nd minute and Barnes by Okazaki in the 88th.  Iheanacho was originally not even in the squad and we were puzzled why Mendy wasn’t playing and Ndidi started the game, but it transpired that Mendy had felt some tightness in his groin during the warm-up.  For his sake, I hope it is not serious, he has had more than his fair share of injuries.

This felt like a game of missed opportunities, and I can’t help but feel Vardy starting the game would have led to a different conclusion.  I am not one calling for Puel’s head, but some of his decisions seem baffling. 

Having said this, there were some promising signs and if Barnes had been a bit more clinical he could have had a hat trick.  The most pleasing aspect was the range of passing demonstrated by Tielemans; we thought he would supply the offensive midfield role done so well in the past by Drinkwater, and so it proved.  It is to be hoped that if he continues to do well, the club will be able to sign him permanently. 

As for the rest of the team, nobody had a bad game – we just need the rub of the green a bit more.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose (Walker-Peters), Winks, Skipp (Alderweireld), Sissoko, Eriksen, Son, Llorente (Wanyama)

Leicester City XI: Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira, Maguire, Evans, Chilwell, Ndidi, Tielemans, Ghezzal (Iheanacho), Maddison, Barnes (Okazaki), Gray (Vardy)

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation