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 at the top, just two points behind second-place Manchester City who face Chelsea later on Sunday.
Tottenham primed to go the distance in title race
‘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.
More to follow.