Premier League
Tottenham3Leicester1

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City: Spurs maintain title hopes with Wembley win

Son Heung-min
Only Harry Kane (20) has scored more Premier League goals for Spurs at Wembley than Son Heung-min (16).

Tottenham ensured they remain in contention in the Premier League title race as Mauricio Pochettino's side earned victory against Leicester at Wembley.

Spurs had to weather a late Foxes fightback to remain third in the table after 26 games, but reduced the deficit to leaders Liverpool - who beat Bournemouth on Saturday - to five points.

Christian Eriksen provided a pin-point cross to set up Davinson Sanchez's first Tottenham goal after 33 minutes, before producing a moment of quality to double the hosts' advantage from the edge of the area in the second half.

The Dane's strike came just three minutes after omitted Leicester striker Jamie Vardy emerged from the bench in dramatic fashion to take a penalty on the hour mark - only to be denied by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Vardy made a demonstrable difference to Leicester's attack and converted from Ricardo Pereira's low cross to set up a tense finish, before the in-form Son Heung-min made sure of a home win in stoppage time.

It's a fourth consecutive league win for Tottenham who remain in touch with Liverpool and Manchester City at the summit with 12 league games remaining.

Tottenham primed to go the distance in title race

Media playback is not supported on this device

Pochettino ‘upset’ by Spurs fixture congestion

'Under the radar.' 'Doing enough.' 'Finding a way.'

Such phrases are quickly becoming synonymous with Tottenham's title bid and, despite the final scoreline, this entertaining battle certainly fit the trend.

Perhaps understatedly, Mauricio Pochettino described Sunday's meeting with Leicester as "key" as the title race hurtles towards its conclusion - trailing Liverpool by eight points, this fixture was firmly in the 'must win' category for Spurs.

Having produced several gritty late shows in recent weeks, Spurs appeared second best in the opening half hour but edged ahead - somewhat against the run of play - as Eriksen took his time to judge the smart run of Sanchez into the six-yard box.

But Tottenham struggled to shake off their visitors and were left frustrated as Son's penalty claims received a yellow card for simulation under Harry Maguire's tackle.

The game was ultimately decided in a period of three second-half minutes, as Lloris denied Vardy from the spot before Eriksen's excellent finish to Schmeichel's right swung the game away from Leicester.

Pochettino's side were once again forced to call upon the resilience that has kept them snapping at the heels of Liverpool and Manchester City, and Wembley breathed a sigh of relief as the lively Son scored for a third consecutive match.

It's well documented that Tottenham's charge has come in the absence of key figures - with Harry Kane and Dele Alli now close to returns - and Spurs' current run in the face of such circumstances suggest they are primed to go the distance.

Pochettino unhappy despite victory for "innocent" Spurs

The Argentine's side may have picked up another crucial three points, but Pochettino was not short of complaints at the full-time whistle as Son became the fourth Spurs player to be booked for diving this season.

The 46-year-old described the decision of referee Michael Oliver to book the South Korean for simulation as "unbelievable" after he fell to the ground under pressure from Harry Maguire.

"I am more relaxed now because we won the game, but so disappointed with the situation because everyone wants to talk about different clubs or players, but do you think we are a team that is trying to cheat the referee?" said Pochettino.

"Come on, we are the most innocent people on the pitch.

"Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. I am a person that always accepts the mistake but I think it was so strange the situation today."

And the Tottenham manager once more voiced his objection to the Premier League schedule, as Spurs now face a quick turnaround before facing Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

The Bundesliga leaders played their fixture against Hoffenheim on Saturday.

"There are no complaints if Dortmund play today but they played yesterday and today they start to prepare while we play. It upset me a lot," added Pochettino.

"It's difficult but I am going to show I'm upset to schedule such an important game like this."

Vardy call backfires on wasteful Leicester

Media playback is not supported on this device

Tottenham 3-1 Leicester: Claude Puel had no qualms over Jamie Vardy taking penalty

The Foxes have proved difficult customers for 'big six' sides this season - a reputation that was reinforced against Manchester United last weekend despite ultimately falling to defeat.

However, questions over Claude Puel's position - a persistent shadow over Leicester's season - once again surfaced prior to kick-off as the Leicester manager excluded talisman Jamie Vardy from his starting line-up.

A positive approach from Puel's side caused Tottenham consistent problems, but Vardy's absence was telling as Leicester's bright but wasteful start amplified the 32-year-old's importance to the Foxes.

Harvey Barnes twice lacked the composure to beat Lloris after racing into the penalty area, while Maguire also fired a powerful header which was tipped over by Lloris.

The eventual, dramatic introduction of Leicester's top scorer after Jan Vertonghen was judged to have fouled James Maddison failed to pay-off, and Vardy's miss from the spot was punished by Eriksen's brilliance.

Vardy did make amends with 15 minutes remaining - racing in between Sanchez and Kieran Trippier to halve the deficit - but chasing a deserved point Son delivered a late final blow.

A positive for Leicester was promising 21-year-old Youri Tielemans, taking his debut following a deadline day loan move from Monaco. The Belgian impressed with an energetic midfield performance that saw him cover more ground than any team-mate.

Beginning alongside Wilfred Ndidi in the centre of midfield, after Nampalys Mendy was taken ill in the warm-up, he was a source of incisive passes throughout but could not help prevent Leicester extending their winless run to six matches, stretching back to New Year's Day.

"We had the feeling we can score, we had a lot of chances and opportunities to get back into the game and it's a big disappointment in the end. We played a good collective performance and it's difficult to accept," said Puel.

On Vardy, Puel added: "I told him if you feel you can take the penalty you can take it - it's not a problem."

Man of the match - Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)

Christian Eriksen
The quality of Tottenham’s tireless Christian Eriksen proved crucial at Wembley, as the 26-year-old produced two moments of quality to provide a goal and an assist at important stages of the match.

Never a dull game - the stats

  • Tottenham Hotspur against Leicester City has joined the Sheffield derby as the most played top-flight fixture without ever recording a goalless draw (84 meetings).
  • Tottenham Hotspur have won 20 league games this season - only in their top-flight title winning campaign of 1960-61 have they ever won more after their first 26 matches of a season (22).
  • Leicester City are now winless in their last five Premier League matches (D1 L4), their longest run in the division since May last year (also five).
  • Christian Eriksen has scored 20 Premier League goals from outside the box - more than any other player since his debut in September 2013.
  • Leicester City's Demarai Gray (22 years and 226 days) made his 100th Premier League appearance in this match against Spurs - only Emile Heskey (21 years and 114 days) played his 100th game for the Foxes in the competition at a younger age.
  • Spurs have received four bookings for simulation in the Premier League this season, the joint-most in the competition alongside North London rivals Arsenal.

What's next?

Tottenham host Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday (20:00 GMT).

Leicester welcome Crystal Palace to the King Power Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday (17:30 GMT), and Spurs return to league duties against Burnley earlier that day (12:30 GMT).

Line-ups

Tottenham

  • 1Lloris
  • 2Trippier
  • 6D Sánchez
  • 5VertonghenBooked at 28mins
  • 3RoseBooked at 20minsSubstituted forWalker-Petersat 88'minutes
  • 8Winks
  • 17Sissoko
  • 52SkippSubstituted forAlderweireldat 71'minutes
  • 23Eriksen
  • 18LlorenteSubstituted forWanyamaat 80'minutes
  • 7Son Heung-MinBooked at 15mins

Substitutes

  • 4Alderweireld
  • 12Wanyama
  • 16Walker-Peters
  • 21Foyth
  • 22Gazzaniga
  • 24Aurier
  • 27Lucas Moura

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 14Ricardo Pereira
  • 6Evans
  • 15Maguire
  • 3Chilwell
  • 25Ndidi
  • 31GhezzalSubstituted forIheanachoat 72'minutes
  • 21TielemansBooked at 85mins
  • 10Maddison
  • 19BarnesSubstituted forOkazakiat 88'minutes
  • 7GraySubstituted forVardyat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Simpson
  • 5Morgan
  • 8Iheanacho
  • 9Vardy
  • 12Ward
  • 20Okazaki
  • 38Choudhury
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
44,154

Match Stats

Home TeamTottenhamAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home12
Away20
Shots on Target
Home5
Away9
Corners
Home2
Away9
Fouls
Home11
Away4

Live Text

Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leicester City 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leicester City 1.

Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Kyle Walker-Peters tries a through ball, but Harry Winks is caught offside.

Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jonny Evans (Leicester City).

Attempt saved. Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by James Maddison with a cross.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Davinson Sánchez.

Goal!

Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leicester City 1. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko following a fast break.

Attempt missed. Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by James Maddison with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Kyle Walker-Peters.

Substitution

Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Kyle Walker-Peters replaces Danny Rose.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Shinji Okazaki replaces Harvey Barnes.

Booking

Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Youri Tielemans (Leicester City).

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Davinson Sánchez.

Attempt missed. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jonny Evans.

Attempt missed. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Ricardo Pereira.

Hand ball by Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur).

Substitution

Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Victor Wanyama replaces Fernando Llorente.

Offside, Leicester City. Wilfred Ndidi tries a through ball, but Harvey Barnes is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ricardo Pereira.

Goal!

Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 2, Leicester City 1. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ricardo Pereira with a cross.

Offside, Leicester City. Ben Chilwell tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.

Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Danny Rose tries a through ball, but Son Heung-Min is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Rachid Ghezzal.

Substitution

Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Toby Alderweireld replaces Oliver Skipp.

Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Danny Rose tries a through ball, but Son Heung-Min is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jamie Vardy.

Goal!

Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 2, Leicester City 0. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Fernando Llorente.

Foul by Fernando Llorente (Tottenham Hotspur).

Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Hugo Lloris.

Penalty saved! Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Jamie Vardy replaces Demarai Gray.

Penalty conceded by Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty Leicester City. James Maddison draws a foul in the penalty area.

Attempt saved. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Attempt saved. Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Rachid Ghezzal.

Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham26200654252960
4Man Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolves2511593332138
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Cardiff2674152447-2325
17Newcastle2566132133-1224
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield2625191448-3411
View full Premier League table

Top Stories