clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Premier League Match Report: Leicester City 2 - 4 Tottenham Hotspur

New, comments

Foxes squander two leads and miss out on final Champions League spot

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Mike Egerton - Pool/Getty Images

Leicester City fell to Tottenham Hotspur by a score of 4-2 at the King Power in the final match of the 2020/21 campaign. Jamie Vardy penalties in both halves gave the Foxes 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but City lost Wesley Fofana early and the defense never recovered. Goals from Harry Kane, Harry Winks, Gareth Bale, and a Kasper Schmeichel own goal saw Leicester come up just short of reaching the Champions League for the second straight season.


There were no surprises in Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI: Captain Kasper Schmeichel started in goal behind a back three of Timoty Castagne, Wesley Fofana, and Çağlar Söyüncü. Marc Albrighton and Luke Thomas manned the flanks outside of midfield partnership of Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi. James Maddison sat in the hole behind strikers Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy.

Yours truly has the Leicester match on the big screen, the Chelsea match on a laptop, and the Liverpool one on the phone, so...there’s a lot going on at once right now. Bear with me.

Urged on by those beautiful, beautiful Leicester supporters, the Foxes started the match well on top. City bossed possession in the Spurs’ half. No huge chances were carved out, but Leicester looked comfortable and full of energy and purpose.

The purpose paid off on the quarter hour mark. A ball over the top saw Vardy scamper behind the visitors’ defense. Toby Alderweireld cynically stuck out a boot and tripped the former Fleetwood Town man as he was shaping to shoot. Referee Anthony Taylor was unimpressed, but VAR called him over to the monitor to see if he might want to revise that impression. He did, as it was an obvious penalty. Vardy blasted it past Hugo Lloris to give the Foxes an early lead.

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Alderweirald knew exactly what he was doing.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

AS IT STANDS:
3. Leicester 69
4. Chelsea 68
5. Liverpool 67

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Foxes, though, as fate struck a major blow just moments later. Defending a corner, Fofana went down and immediately signaled to the bench that he would be unable to carry on. As the French defender walked off under his own power but in tears, Rodgers introduced Nampalys Mendy, who took up the defensive midfielder role and Ndidi dropped back into central defense for the first time since last fall.

Meanwhile, Sadio Mane has scored for Liverpool:

AS IT STANDS:
3. Liverpool 69
4. Leicester 69
5. Chelsea 68

On 40’ minutes, it all went pear-shaped at the King Power. A Spurs corner was cleared only as far as Matt Doherty. His drive might have beaten Schmeichel, but it caught Ndidi square in the face. It ballooned into the air, pinballed around the box, and fell to Harry Kane on the edge of the six yard box. He wasn’t going to miss from there, and there was too much power on it for Schmeichel to even move.

Bertrand Traore scored for Aston Villa at Villa Park, which doesn’t change the table, but it both gives Leicester some more hope and makes me very, very happy.

AS IT STANDS:
3. Liverpool 69
4. Chelsea 67
5. Leicester 67

That was it for the half. The Foxes started well, but the defense did not look comfortable after Fofana’s departure. All to play for the in the second half then.


The same XI that finished the first half emerged from the tunnel to start the second. The Foxes started the brighter, winning a couple of early corners and even seeing a long range effort from Mendy on target. Tottenham were struggling to get out of their half and very nervous at the back.

It took only seven minutes for the Foxes to restore their advantage. A clever reverse ball from Madders allowed Vardy to get the wrong side of Davinson Sanchez. There was, let us be generous here, minimal contact and the former Stocksbridge Park Steels man made the most of it. Taylor blew for the penalty and VAR didn’t see enough to reverse the call. Vardy buried the penalty and put the Foxes back in front.

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Someday, we won’t have Vardy and that will be one of the worst days of my life.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

El Ghazi scored a penalty at Villa Park, giving the Villans a 2-0 lead against Chelsea.

AS IT STANDS:

3. Liverpool 69
4. Leicester 69
5. Chelsea 67

With a half hour to play, Rodgers made his second substitution, removing Madders in favor of Ricardo Pereira, making the formation a...you know, I have no idea. We had 11 players on the pitch giving their all and their exact location seemed a bit beside the point.

Meanwhile, Timo Werner pulled on back for Chelsea, but, like almost all Timo Werner goals, this one was called back for offside. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

The next ten minutes were nervy. Spurs brought on Gareth Bale and Lucas Moura but the Foxes defense was coping admirably given the circumstances. Söyüncü was literally everywhere, popping up in midfield and clearing pretty much everything. But, there was nothing he could do on 75’ when a Spurs corner was whipped in to Schmeichel turned it into his own goal, levelling the score at a very, very bad time indeed.

In the meantime, Ben Chilwell scored for Chelsea and Sadio Mane added a second for Liverpool.

AS IT STANDS:

3. Liverpool: 69
4. Chelsea: 67
5. Leicester 66

With ten minutes to play, Rodgers made his last throw of the dice, introducing Ayoze Perez for Albrighton. Leicester were sending bodies forward in search of an winner. Spurs were currently out of Europe so they two were driving forward as well so the game resembled one of those basketball games that Rodgers is so fond of.

With five minutes to play, Spurs had the ball in the back of the net. Harry Kane somehow failed to score from close range, but he held it up, literally, with his hand, and then passed it back to Harry Winks who scored. VAR took a look and decided that it was OK for attacking players to handle the ball when the attacking player is Harry Kane and the goal was given.

Leicester won a corner on 90’ and looked to have leveled. Unfortunately, the ball did not cross the line. Also, Iheanacho was offside. But, other than that, it was encouraging. At the very death, with City throwing everything forward, Bale got away from the defense hit the ball off the post, and then scored on the rebound. It

That, as they say, that. Full-time: Leicester City 2-4 Tottenham Hotspur

No additional scoring to report, but Cesar Azpilicueta finally got that red card he was trying to get last match. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

AS IT ENDED:

3. Liverpool: 69
4. Chelsea: 67
5. Leicester 66


Welp, that was awful and there was an awful feeling of deja vu when Fofana went off. The curious decision to stick with a back three with one central defender will be debated at length, but that was the turning point of the match. Leicester never looked like they could stop Spurs with Mendy in midfield and Ndidi at the back.

That’s not fair, but when you finish this close to your goal without reaching it, every tiny thing will be scrutinized. Failing to beat Newcastle, Alisson’s post-injury time winner for Liverpool, Mike Dean’s bizarre performance at Stamford Bridge, drawing against 10-man Southampton...all of it. We’ll recap later, I’m sure, but I can’t help but pick at all the little moments that might have turned this season into a glorious one as opposed to a good one.

That’s it for 2020/21. Speaking of deja vu, we finish 5th again after spending the entire season in the top four. I’m bitterly, bitterly disappointed, especially since Chelsea choked and lost their final match. Thanks for sticking with us this year. We’ll keep you posted on events all summer.

Cheers!

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images