9/10 for Romero, Jr.; Tielemans mark 4

Cristian Romero and Son Heung-min got Tottenham Hotspur’s UEFA Champions League hopes back on track, helping them to a convincing 3-1 win over Leicester City.

Tottenham Hotspur put in an excellent performance to beat Leicester City 3-1 at home on Sunday. Spurs started slow but got comfortable and then took control of the game. Harry Kane put the home side ahead in the 22nd minute before a second-half Son Heung-min brace ended the tie.

Kelechi Iheanacho collected one for the Foxes in stoppage time, but it was nothing more than a consolation. The victory put Tottenham back in contention for a place in the top four. With Chelsea also dropping points, anything is possible in the final weeks of the campaign.

With Liverpool on the sidelines, Tottenham cannot afford to travel to Anfield unprepared. As long as they show the quality and hunger they did on Sunday, they could give Jurgen Klopp’s four-time chasers a game. Leicester, meanwhile, appeared to have their eye on their next UEFA Conference League semi-final. Winning the competition remains the Foxes’ only chance to secure European football for next season.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were noticeably second best for long stretches of the game and something will have to be done soon. All eyes will now be on their clash against AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. For now, The Hard Tackle takes a look at how the Tottenham and Leicester stars fared on Sunday.

Tottenham Hotspur

Hugo Lloris (8/10)

The veteran was a reliable last line of defense and made some excellent saves which kept the momentum going in Tottenham’s favour. His save from Patson Daka early in the first half was particularly important as he prevented Leicester from taking the initiative. He also stopped Iheanacho from scoring in the second half but couldn’t do anything against the Nigerian’s consolation in stoppage time.

Christian Romero (9/10)

A dominant performance from the Argentine colossus who came close to perfection that day. Romero issued a series of crucial challenges and even swept away his defensive teammates when needed. It was the closest to a perfect performance since joining the club last summer. His role, particularly in Spurs’ second goal, should be a case study for modern defenders.

Eric Dier (7/10)

The Englishman gave up some cheap fouls but was largely reliable. His no-frills defensive style would have received more attention if not for Romero’s masterclass.

David Davies (6/10)

The Welshman offered more in attack than in defence. He was notably bailed out by Romero after giving up the ball cheaply in the Spurs box.

Emerson Royal (6/10)

He was arguably the poorest of Tottenham’s defensive stars. Emerson struggled for the majority of the first half and was suspicious at times. He gained confidence as the game progressed. He can and should do much better.

Rodrigue Bentancur (8/10)

The former Juventus player received a yellow card but that was the only drag on what was a sensational performance in midfield. He found himself cornered when needed and was a physical barrier that Leicester failed to overcome. Bentancur earned a standing ovation when he came off in the second half.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (6/10)

The Dane’s performance lacked any particularly standout moments. However, he used his athleticism to good effect and was a constant threat to the opposition in the middle of the park.

Ryan Sessegnon (7/10)

The youngster appears to be back in his element and was defensively solid. Leicester preferred to attack on their side and he came back well to support Davies. Sessegnon also proved to be a great option going forward and offered more than Emerson on the other flank.

Lucas Moura (4/10)

Moura was Tottenham’s worst player that day and didn’t seem to be on the same page as his teammates. He was also poor in possession and lost the ball several times. It’s no surprise that he was replaced early in the second half by Dejan Kulusevski.

Harry Kane (6/10)

The England skipper was mediocre in the early stages but redeemed himself by scoring his side’s first goal. Kane was not at his electric best but nearly grabbed a second goal, only to be disallowed by Kasper Schmeichel.

Son Heung-min (9/10)

Two goals and an assist from the South Korean who made the show in attack. It was almost impossible to defend himself and took full advantage of all of Leicester’s mistakes. Son was the best forward on the pitch on Sunday.

Substitutes

Dejan Kulusevski (8/10)

A marked improvement over Moura, he was electric on the right and got both assists for Son’s brace. It will be interesting to see how he fares against Andy Robertson next week.

Steven Bergwijn (North America)

He entered with eight minutes to play. Barely had time to take effect.

Harry winks (North America)

He too arrived late and should have done better to prevent Leicester’s consolation goal.

Leicester city

Kasper Schmeichel (5/10)

The veteran was sharpened as usual but also inflated his lines by coming to recover a corner. He had little to no chance of stopping any of Tottenham’s three goals.

Timothy Castagne (6/10)

He was the Foxes’ best defender that day and made several crucial interceptions. Castagne also advanced when he could and gave his best in what was a collectively poor outing.

Daniel Amartey (5/10)

The Ghanaian watched Kane closely for most of the match, limiting the Englishman’s impact. Sadly, the only time he lost the Spurs ace was Tottenham opening their scoring on the night.

Caglar Soyuncu (6/10)

The Turkey international used his physique wisely and was especially solid at the back. He also made several precise long passes as Leicester looked to hit Tottenham on the break. Soyuncu was however beaten by Romero who started the move for Tottenham’s second goal of the game.

Marc Albrighton (5/10)

The English winger started badly and conceded the ball several times. He grew in the game as he progressed and even did a few dart runs in tight spaces. Unfortunately, it was as good as it gets for him.

Grandpa Mendy (5.5/10)

He almost played Kane and had to rely on Schmeichel to bail him out. Mendy was otherwise smart and won a plethora of fouls for his team. This proved decisive at times when Tottenham’s pressure and momentum threatened to overwhelm Leicester.

Boubakary Soumare (5/10)

The summer signing had a mixed game where he didn’t use his strengths to the benefit of the team. He created a good chance for Daka but was far too flippant when it came to going back and defending.

Luke Thomas (5/10)

He had some joy against Moura but struggled in the second half after Kulusevski was introduced. Thomas had an unforgettable match where he came out second best in most duels.

Ayoze Perez (6/10)

Leicester’s best player for the first 45 minutes, he contributed at both ends of the field. Perez, however, slumped in the second half and was extremely poor when given the ball. It was disappointing, to say the least.

Kelechi Iheanacho (5/10)

The Nigerian can be frustrating at times and sublime otherwise. He showcased both traits in a performance where he killed several of Leicester’s promising forwards. Iheanacho, however, scored the visitors’ only goal of the game, giving the scoreline some decency.

Patson Daka (6/10)

Daka had a golden opportunity to open the scoring but found no way past Lloris. Although he finished the game with a blank, he gave it his all and was ready to help his team in any way he could. Like his teammates, Daka also fell into oblivion in the second half.

Substitutes

Lewis Brunt (5/10)

It was a baptism of fire for the club’s Under-23 skipper who made his Premier League debut. He found it hard to initially accept the speed of the game, but got comfortable as he went.

Jamie Vardy (5/10)

Introducing the veteran has definitely added more bite to Leicester’s attack. However, he was limited to a single late header.

Youri Tielemans (4/10)

The Belgian was far too distant for Tottenham’s third goal and had limited interaction with the ball after coming on for Perez in the 76th minute.

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