Tottenham stumbled to a second defeat in as many games as Leicester City continued their brilliant away form in the Premier League with a 2-0 win on Sunday.
Tottenham faced consecutive defeats for the first time this season, as Jose Mourinho’s side was tactically outclassed by Brendan Rodgers’s Leicester. Jamie Vardy scored from the penalty spot on the cusp of half-time and forced an own goal at the hour mark. Leicester ended the game as comfortable victors with a score of 2-0.
Tottenham started very poorly and found it very hard to come back into the game from then on. Mourinho changed things up a little as he started Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele together for the first time in the Premier League, an experiment that did not quite work. Key players Son Heung-min and Harry Kane also saw very little of the ball in a dismal display.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 20, 2020
Leicester, meanwhile, were tactically astute. They defended with aplomb, won all the second balls in the midfield and found Jamie Vardy running the channels. Youri Tielemans did a fantastic job to thwart Harry Kane when he dropped deep, which was key to Leicester’s success. Overall, a deserved victory for the Foxes. Here’s how the Hard Tackle rated both the sets of players.
Hugo Lloris: 6/10
Could not do much about either of the goals conceded. Made some decent stops too. Perhaps, Lloris could have done well to collect the cross for the second goal.
Serge Aurier: 3/10
One has to feel for Aurier, who always seems to find himself in these kinds of situations. After a good run of performances, Aurier had a brain-fade moment as he carelessly nudged Wesley Fofana at the edge of the box to concede a penalty just ahead of half-time. Hooked at the break by Mourinho.
Toby Alderweireld: 6/10
Despite scoring the own goal that doubled Leicester’s lead, Alderweireld was not the worst Spurs player on the pitch. The Belgian could have probably adjusted his body to prevent the own goal, but very little can be said to him for Sissoko was the one in shambles. Alderweireld did well to contain Leicester from open play otherwise, tracking runners well.
Eric Dier: 5/10
A poor performance from Dier by his standards. Poor positioning and careless in possession. Almost conceded a chance to Youri Tielemans at the end of the game.
Sergio Reguilon: 5/10
Reguilon has been a phenomenal asset to this Tottenham side in recent weeks, mainly for the extra outlet he provides to Spurs while going forward. However, Reguilon was unable to get forward, with Justin and Albrighton causing him all sorts of problems. Ultimately defended well, although should have closed down Albrighton for the cross for the second goal.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 5/10
Even Hojbjerg couldn’t sway the tide and get his side back in the game. Lost the midfield battle terribly versus the imposing Ndidi and Tielemans.
Moussa Sissoko: 4/10
Shifted from central midfield to right-back in the second half and was unaware of his surroundings for the second conceded goal. It was poor marking from Sissoko. Looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet throughout.
Giovani Lo Celso: 6/10
Started the game as an unorthodox right-winger, but failed to provide adequate width to Tottenham. Slowly grew into the game, making some nice passes. Picked up an injury early in the second half and had to be substituted. Concerning.
Tanguy Ndombele: 4/10
Had no impact whatsoever, and has been the case in the past few games. Was eventually axed at half-time for a new attacking outlet in Gareth Bale.
Son Heung-min: 6/10
Ran the channels very hard. Was the furthest man in Tottenham’s press and also tracked back to help his full-back. Came close to scoring towards the end from close range but was thwarted by Kasper Schmeichel. Son did not see the ball as much as he would have liked to.
Harry Kane: 4/10
Often this season, Kane has dropped deep to pick up the ball and find runners. However, to Brendan Rodgers and Tielemans’s credit, Kane was unable to do any of that versus Leicester. The star striker even missed a glaring chance from a corner for the second game running. Worrying signs.
Gareth Bale: 5/10
Looked rather anonymous and stiff with his movement. His brightest moment was when he got past Ndidi only to be brought down. Wasted the consequent free-kick.
Lucas Moura: 5/10
Had enough time to make an impact but failed to do so. Lost the ball several times, and just looked out of place.
Harry Winks: 6/10
Got a lot more control in Tottenham’s midfield as Sissoko dropped back and Winks played alongside Hojbjerg. Winks has not enjoyed a lot of football this season, but his impact if noticed by the boss, should do him well.
Kasper Schmeichel: 7/10
Was barely threatened throughout the game, thanks to the strong defensive and midfield displays in front of him. Schmeichel did, however, make a key stop when called upon as he thwarted a close effort from Son towards the end of the game.
Timothy Castagne: 7/10
A big boost for Leicester as Castagne returned to the team. The Foxes lined up with four at the back, with two quality full-backs bringing the best out of the team, especially both wingers. Was good in the air.
Wesley Fofana: 8/10
Won the penalty that brought Leicester the lead at half-time and was extremely solid defensively. Kept the likes of Son and Kane quiet, dealing with all the long balls with aplomb.
Jonny Evans: 7/10
Returned to the squad after suspension and showed his importance. Leicester kept yet another clean sheet, and Evans was commanding as ever.
James Justin: 8/10
Justin has got a lot of chances in the early days of the season and the youngster has taken them by the throat. He has been one of Leicester’s best players this season and was one against Tottenham too. Defended very well, got forward with good effect and played some brilliant passes – especially the one to Maddison for the goal that did not stand.
Wilfred Ndidi: 9/10
The best player on the pitch, Ndidi returned to Leicester’s midfield and outshone Hojbjerg, who has been terrific this season. Ndidi was all over the pitch, winning second balls and ground duels. An imposing performance by one of Leicester’s most important players.
Wilfred Ndidi made 19 (NINETEEN) recoveries against Tottenham, the most any player has made in a single Premier League in over a year.
An incredible performance. 👏 pic.twitter.com/gDdu0vNSok
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 20, 2020
Youri Tielemans: 8/10
Did a tidy job in midfield with the ball, playing 8 successful long balls. His biggest contribution was man-marking Harry Kane when he dropped deep and Tielemans did it fantastically. Did not give Kane any space to breathe, even fouling him if necessary. A masterclass from the underrated Belgian, who is now on the radars of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Marc Albrighton: 6/10
Albrighton was one of the most hard-working Leicester players as he made life difficult for Reguilon. Delivered the cross for the second goal. Despite a fantastic performance, Albrighton has got a low rating as he should not have been on the pitch after a horror challenge on Harry Kane in the first half.
James Maddison: 8/10
Simply stellar from Leicester’s most creative and flamboyant player. Maddison was much-improved from his performance versus Everton, and a lot of the credit goes to Ndidi, who allowed Maddison to play his best game as a no. 10. Maddison took several shots and took on defenders. Scored a wonder goal, that was unfortunately ruled out by the slightest margins.
James Maddison created 5 chances against Spurs, more than any other player on the pitch.
Unlucky not to have a goal too. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/1GQt0EhQr0
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 20, 2020
Harvey Barnes: 7/10
His ability to run at Spurs’ players pinned the hosts back from the very start. Barnes did the hard-running but lacked end-product in his game. Was eventually subbed off for Dennis Praet for more defensive cover.
Jamie Vardy: 8/10
Ran the channels very hard and played a crucial role in both goals. He slotted home the detrimental spot-kick at half time and forced an own goal in the second. It was yet another classy performance from the veteran striker, who is showing no signs of stopping.
Jamie Vardy is the first player to score away goals against the same team on three different grounds in the #PL, having notched at White Hart Lane, Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium@LCFC | #TOTLEI pic.twitter.com/GzUS47jc8e
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 20, 2020
Daniel Amartey: 7/10
Came on for Castagne in the second half and dealt with the pressure very well, nullifying Son’s effect to a large extent.
Dennis Praet: 6/10
Came on in the 85th minute, and did the hard running in the defensive third to defend Leicester’s lead.
Kelechi Iheanacho: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.