Leicester City closed out the 2017/18 season with a thrilling, but ultimately frustrating, defeat away to Tottenham Hotspur. City led 3-1 early in the second half but were let down by shoddy defending and, in all fairness, an inspired Spurs attack. It was an entertaining match for the neutrals to be sure, but we’re anything but neutral here, so it was a disappointing way to end a difficult season.
I see what #lcfc fans mean about Puel's football being boring, only the 9 goals today.— Jacob Nixon (@JN81000) May 13, 2018
I think he would have preferred a slightly more boring match this time, Jacob.
The Foxes took the lead on only 3’ when Demarai Gray won a free kick on the left side of the box. Riyad Mahrez’ cross found an unmarked (?!?) Jamie Vardy who glanced the ball into the far corner. Setting the tone for the rest of the match, the lead lasted only 4 minutes as a Danny Simpson passed the ball of of Lucas Moura’s shins and directly into the path of the through-on-goal Harry Kane. The England striker outpaced the City defense and slotted home past the stranded Eldin Jakupovic.
The lead was restored on only 16 minutes when Victor Wanayama gave the ball away deep in his own half. Leicester worked the ball along the edge of the box, from Kelechi Iheanacho to Adrien Silva to Vardy, who was well tackled, but the ball fell directly to Mahrez’ favoured left foot. The former Le Havre man made no mistake, rifling home an unstoppable shot past Hugo Lloris.
At this point, the commentators remarked that “there was no chance the match would end 2-1”, and thus, there was no more scoring for the remainder of the half. The commentators had a point, though; both sides looked capable of scoring every time down the pitch.
The Foxes opened a two-goal lead after only 2’ of the second period. Iheancho shrugged off a challenge outside the area, steadied himself, and unleashed a cannon of a shot that flew into the top of the net. It took Spurs only 2 more minutes to drag one back. A well worked passing moving found Eric Lamela on the end of a low Kyle Walker-Peters cross for a simple tap in to reduce the lead to one.
The hosts were level on the 53rd minute through a bit of unfortunate defending on City’s part. Danny Rose crossed in low from the left and, after a bit of pinball, the ball fell to Lamela. The Argentine’s shot was going wide, but it bounced off of the knee of Christian Fuchs and into the net.
Spurs took their first lead of the match on the hour mark. Demarai Gray intercepted a long cross but chested it directly in the path of the impressive Walker-Peters, who sent yet another low cross in behind the defense for Lamela to slam home. On the plus side, Lamela took the chance from an obviously-chagrined Harry Kane, so at least we had that.
Leicester poured forward in search of an equaliser and were rewarded on 73 minutes. A simple through ball by Mahrez let Vardy in. The former Fleetwood Town hitman still had a lot to do, but his left-footed shot was perfect and left Lloris no chance.
You probably know what comes next: We were on even terms for only 3 minutes as Harry Kane faked a shot, causing makeshift right back Hamza Choudhury, on for the struggling Simpson, to leap in an attempt to block. The former Leicester loanee pulled the ball back, stepped forward, and curled in his second goal of the day.
And so we end this season as it began: An away loss to a top six side where we lost a lead and Vardy bagged a brace. There’s no such thing as a good loss, but I enjoyed the attacking spirit, something we’ve seldom seen of late. But, there may be no better advertisement for manager Claude Puel’s desire to play with more care in possession. Two massive defensive errors and an own goal were our undoing in a match that was there for the taking.
Leicester City finish the season 9th on the table with 47 points. Whether that is good enough to save the manager’s job is up to the board, but I’m certain it will be the subject of much discussion over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!