It is a Leicester and Spurs triple header and we sent our Fan Reporter Scott Davies down to White Hart Lane on Wednesday 13th January to bring you the view from the stands with his Fan Report….
City visited White Heart Lane for the second time in 3 days, reverting back to the usual line up which included Jamie Vardy following his groin operation. 9 changes were made in total for the Foxes, however Spurs also had the return of some key figures, in particular Dele Alli and former City loanee, Harry Kane.
In a battle of 2nd v 4th, this was always going to be a hotly contested match with chances for both teams coming thick and fast, coupled with the added spice of Sunday’s FA Cup tie still fresh in the memory, where City will feel harshly done by with Kane’s late penalty.
Tottenham came out of the blocks the fastest as City were a little sloppy in the opening exchanges. Spurs went close on 10 minutes as a Toby Alderweireld header skimmed up off the wet surface toward the top left corner. Kasper Schmeichel did brilliantly to dive full stretch and tip the header over the bar for a corner.
As City grew into the match, their passing got better and they started to create their own chances. Okazaki was busy and he looks to be getting better with each match, pestering the back line and linking up well with Vardy. He had a shot on 17 minutes which went wide of the post, but it was the sign of a blooming partnership as Vardy assisted with the chance.
On 22 Kante broke down the right wing and into the box, he set up Okazaki who couldn’t quite get enough on the ball to aim a shot goalwards, but managed to bundle it back to Kante who blasted over when he should have hit the target.
Drinkwater then tested Lloris on 25 with a brilliant volley from 20 yards after Okazaki teed him up with a flick on. The ball was curling wickedly to the right had side of the goal, but it was a nice height for Lloris to get across and palm it wide.
Spurs had a string of corners and despite some excellent deliveries, City defended in numbers with Vardy and Okazaki assisting in keeping Tottenham out.
The Foxes were getting exposed on the wings, in particular the right side when Mahrez was failing to stick to his man. Ranieri switched Mahrez and Albrighton and utilised Vardy and Okazaki in a wider role when City didn’t have the ball. This plugged the gaps and the spoils were shared at 0-0 going into the break.
Ranieri was comfortable with the set up of the team and began the second half exactly the same. The Foxes started the second half well and had a string of corners in a 2 minute period.
On 61 Schmeichel was called into action as Kane broke free and struck his shot to the right of Schmeichel. City’s stopper got his right hand to the ball and managed to keep it out with the help of the crossbar, slightly fortunate, but he kept it out nonetheless.
Vardy lasted until the 70th minute before Ulloa came on to replace him. Moussa Dembele came on to replace Eriksen for Spurs. On 75 City were knocking on the door and went close as Mahrez, Drinkwater and Ulloa all had shots blocked in quick succession as the ball pinged around in the Spurs penalty area.
King came on for Okazaki as Ranieri looked content to see the match out with a point, leaving Ulloa as a lone striker and matching Spurs in the middle man for man.
On 78 Schmeichel had to be alert again as Alli hit a rasping shot to his left, which Schmeichel palmed away to safety.
Despite seemingly being content with a hard fought point, City broke forward and won a corner on 82. The ever impressive Fuchs delivered a peach of a cross which found Huth in acres of space. He planted his feet, arched his back and smashed a bullet header into the top corner leaving Lloris rooted to the spot, ending a run of 374 minutes without a Premier League goal.
The superb City support went wild as the Spurs fans starting to leave, fearing their team weren’t going to break down a stubborn Foxes rearguard. They were right, as City saw the match out comfortably earning them their first league win at White Heart Lane since October 1999.
Ranieri has never lost a Premier League match to Spurs, winning 7 and drawing 3.
City travel to struggling Villa on Saturday as Tottenham host fellow strugglers Sunderland before the teams come head to head again on Wednesday 20th for the third match in the trilogy in a 10 day period, fighting for a place in the fourth round as Colchester await the winners.
Man of the Match – Danny Drinkwater