Under Pressure Leicester City Boss Claude Puel Drops Jamie Vardy and Pays the Price

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring their 3rd goal with Harry Winks and Kyle Walker-Peters during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium on February 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Under pressure Leicester City boss Claude Puel headed into this game still feeling that pressure. His style of play has not been embraced by the Leicester fans despite some high-profile scalps. His opposite number, Mauricio Pochettino, brought Danny Rose in to start, with Toby Alderweireld dropping to the bench and Oliver Skipp making the starting 11. Pochettino will have had one eye on Wednesday’s first leg Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund.

Under Pressure Claude Puel Pays Price For Dropping Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy hasn’t shied away from saying that he doesn’t like Puel’s style of play. It was still, however, somewhat of a surprise that the manager dropped Jamie Vardy from his starting line up.

Lively Leicester Hit by Sucker Punch

Tottenham started the first five minutes on the front foot with Oliver Skipp having a shot blocked by the Leicester defence as did Kieran Trippier after some good play from Moussa Sissoko.

Teams have come to Wembley this season and put men behind the ball, notably Newcastle in the last home game for Spurs, but Leicester were intent on attacking. On eight minutes, Trippier, not for the first time this season, was caught napping and out of position. Harvey Barnes shifted the ball onto his right foot and should have done better but fired wide of Hugo Lloris’ right-hand post.

The 15th minute saw a controversial moment as Harry Maguire seemed to trip Heung Min-Son. The referee, Michael Oliver, deemed it as simulation and booked Son, much to the chagrin of the home crowd. Numerous replays showed the official had got it wrong and more calls for VAR will follow.

Rose then had a chance that Kasper Schmeichel was equal to. Leicester continued to counter-attack and Pochettino was visibly growing frustrated with how often his side were giving the ball away.

On 20 minutes James Maddison had a chance but he didn’t get hold of the ball and another chance went begging for the Midlands club. Rose and Jan Vertonghen both joined Son in the book for two innocuous tackles. Oliver seemed to be getting rather over exuberant with issuing yellow cards.

The lively Barnes had another chance but fluffed his lines before Spurs took the lead. Trippier took a corner to the edge of the box, Christian Eriksen floated over a lovely ball and Davidson Sanchez dived to head home. That was how it stayed until half time with Puel rightly feeling unlucky to be behind going into the break.

Eriksen Class Outshines Referee’s Desire For Attention

Leicester didn’t ring the changes at half time but started well again. Demarai Gray had a superb opportunity to level things in the 50th minute but he didn’t attack the ball and consequently headed tamely into the arms of Lloris.

Then in the 57th minute, Michael Oliver once again decided he wanted some fame. Maddison got into the box and was already falling over when he fell into Vertonghen. The referee pointed to the spot with Tottenham fans and players looking on in disbelief.

It looked as if Maddison would take the penalty but Gray was taken off and on came Vardy to take the kick. He hit it low to Lloris’ right but he got down low to pull off a great save.

Six minutes later, Eriksen got the ball on the edge of the box. He took one touch before firing home from 20 yards to give Spurs a 2-0 lead. It was a sublime finish.

Vardy Halves the Arrears

Finally, on 75 minutes, Jamie Vardy halved the arrears and Leicester looked buoyant and the more likely to score the next goal. New signing Youri Tielemans, on loan from Monaco, was giving a good account of himself and causing Tottenham problems whenever he got the ball.

Leicester do not look like a team who are not playing for the manager. They came and played to try and win, but this Tottenham side just never give up and their energy is almost superhuman when you consider the number of injuries they have to contend with.

Puel’s afternoon did get worse, though. Wilfred Ndidi slipped in midfield and Son powered forward and scored, placing the ball under Schmeichel. The three points went to North London.

Tottenham are now two points behind City and just five behind leaders Liverpool. Spurs may be the ‘quiet’ contenders but they are staying in this title race.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images



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