Another Gameweek, another laboured victory for Spurs, whose win over Leicester was much more than a 3-1 scoreline suggests.
The home side were certainly clinical at Wembley Stadium but had to dig deep to hold off a Foxes onslaught, especially in the second half.
The game that featured Gameweek 26’s most popular player in the transfer market is the focus of this latest Scout Notes article.
Spurs 3-1 Leicester
Goals: Davison Sánchez (£5.8m), Christian Eriksen (£9.3m), Son Heung-min (£8.8m) | Jamie Vardy (£8.8m)
Assists: Eriksen, Fernando Llorente (£5.7m), Moussa Sissoko (£4.9m)
Son Heung-min (£8.8m) left it late but still managed to reward his large number of new owners with a goal against Leicester on Sunday afternoon. The South Korean was the most transferred-in player ahead of Gameweek 26 with over 550,000 managers signing him up. The game itself was frustrating viewing for his 21% ownership as he was unable to have as much impact on proceedings as he would have liked.
Son was top of the charts for goal attempts in the game, but only one of them was in the box and just one was on target. That was his stoppage-time goal which would have been perhaps harder to miss than to score as he had the freedom of the Wembley pitch to bear down on goal and slot past Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m). Outside of that, the FPL midfielder had few clear cut chances, and it would be easy to argue that he was fortunate to score yet again. However, the player himself would tell you his late goal was just desserts after he was brought down in the box by Harry Maguire (£5.4m) in the first half but was booked for diving instead.
“It was a clear penalty. It was the same referee but now I don’t know how he has measured the situation. It is so difficult. I am a person that always accepts the mistake but I think it was so strange the situation today. It was so clear the position today with Sonny, the action, but it wasn’t clear the position of Maddison when he was on the floor. I think it is unbelievable.” – Mauricio Pochettino
The star performer from a Fantasy perspective was Christian Eriksen (£9.3m) who got himself a goal and an assist against Leicester. He made up for a particularly poor performance against Newcastle, in which he did not create a single chance, by offering a spread of Fantasy potential this time around. He played two key passes and had two efforts on goal, combining for his first double-figure haul since Gameweek 19. With ongoing talks about his future at the club, it was a timely display from Eriksen.
“We’ve spoken a lot about that, now we need to keep going, for him to continue performing in his best and of course I told you before he’s such an important player for us. We’ll see what happens. I think I’ve used a few metaphors in the past about Christian, remember related with my family and my dog. He needs to feel the freedom to take his decisions. I think keeping going, so happy with him and we’ll see what happens in the end.” – Mauricio Pochettino
However, as already mentioned, it was a game that was not fully reflected in the scoreline. Spurs did not warrant a 3-1 victory while Leicester really should have scored more than they did. The visitors finished the match with an expected goals (xG) score of 3.12 to their hosts’ 1.08. Spurs had more of the possession (53% to 47%), but the Foxes were considerably more purposeful with the ball. They had more than triple the shots in the box and twice as many big chances as Spurs.
Harvey Barnes (£5.5m) has excited since coming back to Leicester following a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion but he was missing the clinical edge at Wembley. No player who started the match had more efforts in the box than him, but only one of his three shots there was on target. At the opposite end of the experience-scale was Jamie Vardy (£8.8m) who was surprisingly benched for the encounter but was introduced in the 59th minute. He was being lined up to come on before James Maddison (£6.6m) won a penalty, but was rushed on once it was there to be taken. With his first touch of the match, the 32-year-old had his effort saved by Hugo Lloris (£5.4m), who proved one of the key performers for Spurs given Leicester’s spirited display. To Vardy’s credit, he managed to finish the match joint-top with Barnes for shots in the box, despite playing just 31 minutes.
“I think we are talking about one of the best keepers in the world, with a lot of experience and having played a lot of games here at Tottenham. I think he’s showing his value and of course, in the decisive moments like today, I think it was so important to help the team achieve the three points. Of course, his quality is there and we cannot doubt that.” – Mauricio Pochettino
“I could have waited (to make the change). He was ready to come on and I gave him the opportunity to shoot the penalty. I said to him if he felt up to it he can take it, but it is not just the penalty, the whole game we have had all the possibilities to lead this game or get back into the game. We don’t know. Perhaps it was not a good thing or a good thing, we don’t know. Yes, normally Jamie is the penalty taker. I gave him the opportunity to take this penalty.” – Claude Puel
Aside from the penalty, Maddison was at the heart of much of Leicester’s play. He created more chances than any other player on the Wembley pitch, and was, in fact, the top creator for the whole of Gameweek 26, no other player beating his total of seven key passes.
Ricardo Pereira (£5.3m) was also useful as he pushed on from his right-back position. Maddison was the only one to manage more created chances than the Portuguese in Sunday’s lunch-time kick-off.
There certainly seems to be enough potential shown by Leicester in recent performances to suggest that once the fixtures ease up they could be the source of some shrewd investments. Pereira especially has been targetted by many as someone to purchase from Gameweek 27 onwards as it’s Crystal Palace (home), Brighton (home), Watford (away), Fulham (home), Burnley (away) and Bournemouth (home) up next for the Foxes.
“It’s the same feeling after our game against United. Another time today, we made good collective performance, with good quality and good moves. We hurt them, without finding efficiency. It’s a big shame. It was not a fair result, but it’s our fault because we have had a lot of chances since the kick-off. It’s a mixed feeling with the thought that we showed a lot of quality. It’s encouraging. We should have led this game, we should have got back in this game. “We need results to give us good balance.” – Claude Puel
Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-3-1-2): Lloris; Rose (Walker-Peters 88′), Vertonghen, Sánchez, Trippier; Skipp (Alderweireld 71′), Winks, Sissoko; Eriksen; Llorente (Wanyama 80′), Son.
Chelsea XI (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Chilwell, Maguire, Evans, R Pereira; Ndidi; Barnes (Okazaki 88′), Maddison, Tieleman, Ghezzal (Iheanacho 72′); D Gray (Vardy 59′).