Christmas Number 2 Again

Spurs 0 Foxes 2

Match Report by Graham Tracey

Our crazy ‘no draws’ league season of inspiring away wins and uninspiring home defeats continued with an incredibly comfortable first victory at the new White Hart Lane. Vardy-based goals either side of the break gave us a cushion we never looked like wasting, and I would be surprised if we have ever beaten Arsenal, Spurs and Man City away in a single season before. We were superior in tactics, energy and desire, and so comprehensive was the outcome that it was strange that this was the first time Brendan Rodgers has outwitted Jose Mourinho.

We were able to welcome back Timothy Castagne at left wing-back, leaving us only two short of full strength (Ricardo and Soyuncu). Albrighton played right wing-back, with Justin in a three man defence – an indication that this would have been a match too far for Fuchs at this stage of his career. I was pleased to see Harvey Barnes in the starting line up.

With Spurs’ cagey style, we were not put under early pressure and so could settle into the game. Home crowds won’t now be happening in London for maybe the rest of the season, but I doubt a full house would tolerate Mourinho’s team sitting so deep and allowing the visitors’ possession. Barnes, Albrighton and Maddison were seeing plenty of the ball, while Ndidi showed he is still a cut above the praiseworthy Mendy, with his physicality and intercepting skills being crucial against Spurs’ midfield.

In the past three trips to Spurs (twice when they were based at Wembley) we have created plenty of chances, but been out-finished. This was a game of far fewer chances. The two scares for us in the first half came in predictable fashion, with Kane luckily not making the most of two clear headers from corners.

We had struggled to test Lloris, but received a huge bonus in stoppage time when Aurier barged through Fofana (who had been active in their area) in the corner of the box. The ref had been quick to give Spurs free kicks for nothing at every opportunity (possibly worried that he would be blamed by Mourinho if Leicester won), and so unsurprisingly was not interested until compelled to relent after a VAR monitor inspection. I am not a fan of penalties down the middle, especially for such a huge moment in our season, but luckily Lloris dived one way and we immediately trotted off down the tunnel in the lead.

Spurs made two attacking changes at and straight after the interval (one enforced), with Bale and Moura on. However, these attacking talents couldn’t turn the tide. Within minutes, Maddison superbly controlled James’ long ball and finished with ease. But what VAR had given with one hand, it took away with another. Madders’ shoulder was judged ahead of the defender’s foot, and a goal that no football fan would complain about had their side conceded it was chalked off.

I had a horrible feeling that this injustice would be the turning point of the game, but after an hour Albrighton shepherded the ball down the right and crossed for Vardy who was marked by two defenders. However, Jamie outjumped one, and played an incredible ‘in off’ (probably but not definitely inadvertently) against Alderweireld for the own goal.

Kasper has earned us so many points already this season that I could easily forgive him his mistake against Everton, and he was back to his best soon after to claw away a back post effort from Son, again from a corner. But that was as close as Spurs got, their desperation summed up by Bale shooting from a free kick from a distance close to Madrid.

When Castagne was substituted for fitness reasons, we were thankful to call on a fit again Amartey, and Dan showed again that his best position is in centre defence with an accomplished performance. I would have him in there as a back three and review once Soyuncu returns, so that JJ can play wing-back until Ricardo is fit again. Although Albrighton had an excellent game as well – we truly have an embarrassment of riches when everyone is fit for the first time in our history.

Tielemans could have sealed the victory earlier when blazing over when well placed, and the only worry was seeing Vardy be substituted late on after holding his groin. We certainly need him to try and recreate our away form on home turf against Manchester United on Boxing Day (rarely a good day for us). Another win then will raise hopes further that this season, again being second at Christmas, will climb more ladders than slide down some of the snakes as we did in the second half of last season.

LEICESTER: Schmeichel 8, Castagne 8 (Amartey 8), Evans 7, Fofana 8, Justin 8, Albrighton 8, Tielemans 7, Ndidi 9, Maddison 8, Barnes 7 (Praet), Vardy 9 (Iheanacho)

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