Spurs’ two two draw with Leicester in the third round of the F.A. Cup means the teams will now face each other three times in a week and a half.
Two cups, one league.
Just what Spurs needed, yet another game, though of course both teams didn’t field their go to guys in their starting line ups for this third round tie. The difference being Spurs had to go to theirs while Leicester went to their understudies to change things.
It was a pretty typical game against Leicester, as Spurs had all the ball, while the visitors tried quick long ball breaks. And that as worked for Claudio Ranieri’s men most of the season so far, taking them to the top of the league. But that was with Vardy up front, who is ever so faster than Ulloa who was playing in his place here.
Which all played into Spurs’ hand. That’s if they could have done something with the ball after that opener in the 8th minute by Eriksen. Some nice build, starting with Carroll and his through ball to Onomah and his nice pass to Chadli, whose shot was parried to Eriksen to slot it in the far corner.
There was some good stuff, nice through balls especially from Wimmer, more often than not to Rose who was in acres of space. There was also some good first time crosses from Trippier. But there was no end product. Son doing his best but being crowded out, Chadli running into trouble trying to do it all himself and without Alli very little presence in the box from deep.
And of course while it was just the one goal lead Spurs were vulnerable to the sucker-punch, which duly came a little over ten minutes after that opener. Oh, look a big lump scoring from a corner. Wasilewski, who quite frankly could have been off with two yellow cards before he scored the equaliser.
Leicester may have been lucky to go in at the break level, they weren’t at the very start of the second half as Ranieri sent the media into raptures by “tinkering” with his team. I said at the time Okazaki would make a world of difference. Toby and Wimmer were having it on easy street with Ulloa, the Japanese forward is a different kettle of fish. Speedy little player who gives up on nothing.
And so three minutes after the restart it was no surprise when he ran through the Spurs defence to score at the second try.
Leicester a different beast now, while Spurs still lacking that end product. So Pochettino had to turn to his go to guys. Kane and Alli. Kane came first along with unfortunately Bentaleb. Alli arrived shortly after, was I the only one wishing the board would show that Bentaleb was being replaced after just five minutes? Hopefully this was a January transfer shop window appearance. Quite frankly he’s not going to replace Dier in that holding role, he hasn’t got the ability, and if Dier is to miss games then Wimmer can undoubtedly do the job, which would keep the German interested in staying at the club, while the price they could get for Bentaleb might have dropped from last season there might be some mug club out there.
So Bentaleb passed the ball back and sideways and gave it away, pretty much standard fare, except for one of his shots – the other was complete rubbish – which tested Schmeichel, while Harry was little seen where it really mattered, in the box.
He was involved just before the 90 minutes were up as he converted the penalty for the equaliser that brought that extra, unwanted, game. Penalty or not? Well Dyer handled the ball but was it intentional. Who knows, but what we do know is that Dyer handled the ball because he was intentionally trying to foul Rose in the area. The reason Dyer’s hand was there to flick the ball was because he was sticking his arm out to obstruct Rose’s path to the ball, so it was two fouls for the price of one.
So two games against Leicester so far this season and two draws. What hope for the league meeting on Wednesday and then the replay…