Coming off one of the team’s best wins of the season over Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur is embarrassingly poor in a 1-4 loss at Leicester City.
A big performance last weekend led to a big win for Tottenham. Alternatively, a lousy showing at King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon led to a terrible loss leaving Spurs in a poor position in the top-four race.
An early goal leads to a letdown from Tottenham and a turn in the match
The match started well enough for Spurs as both teams were feeling each other out. Following alternating yellow cards – for Rodrigo Bentancur for Tottenham and Wout Faes for Leicester – the game got going, with Spurs catching a bit of a break.
Tottenham had a corner following a free kick, and the cross was inadvertently squared back into the box by Victor Kristiansen. First to react at the back post was Bentancur, who stuck his leg out, knocking the ball into the goal for an early Spurs lead.
A lead on the road against a team on the rise was possibly the worst possible start for Spurs, as that goal reflected the high-water mark for Tottenham on the day. About 10 minutes after Spurs took the 0-1 lead, they were down 2-1, suffering a punch to the jaw they could never recover from.
Changes in the side and Dier’s inability to defend are costly to Spurs
There were three changes from the Tottenham team that beat Manchester City last weekend. Two changes were known: Hugo Lloris picked up an injury, and Cristian Romero picked up a red card.
Fraser Forster was the obvious – aka only – choice in goal, but Japhet Tanganga, who started over Davinson Sanchez, may or may not have been many fans’ first choice to replace Romero. We did not expect the third change, as new signing Pedro Porro got his first start over Emerson Royal, who was fantastic against Manchester City.
Those three changes and a dreadfully poor Eric Dier beside them left Spurs open most of the afternoon, and Leicester took advantage.
Following a world-class strike from Nampalys Mendy to score Leicester’s opener, Kelechi Iheanacho, James Maddison, and Harvey Barnes had their way with Tottenham.
Dier was caught in no man’s land with Iheanacho behind him on the first goal, allowing Maddison to get in behind Tanganga on the left for an easy goal. On the second goal just before halftime, Dier failed to get tight enough to Iheanacho, who was allowed to dribble from the sideline to the middle of the pitch and blast the ball past a helpless – truly helpless – Forster.
Down 3-1 heading into the second half, Tottenham was never really in the game in the final 45 minutes and was fortunate the final score was only 4-1, as Barnes had a goal ruled out by VAR for offsides. However, he was not to be denied, as again, Dier failed to close the space and near the edge of the box, and Barnes picked out the bottom corner past an again helpless Forster.
It was terrible defending all around for Tottenham, and the result was what it should have been for the performance. Dier takes the brunt of the flack, but no one in lily-white did themselves or the team any favors with a pitiful performance. Tottenham must pick themselves up because a trip home leads to a flight to Italy and AC Milan in the Champions League.