Tottenham Hotspur 3 Leicester City 1
Where would Tottenham be without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min? It's a question that Spurs supporters must hope they never have to answer after watching the deadly duo ensure Antonio Conte's side maintained their push for a top-four finish despite a less than vintage performance against Leicester's B-team.
Kane's 13th Premier League goal of the season – courtesy of an assist from Son, of course – set Spurs on their way in the first half, before Dejan Kulusevki, on as a substitute, got in on the act to set up Son for both his 18th and then a spectacular 19th. Nonetheless, Conte will be the first to acknowledge that his team must improve considerably if they are to achieve their targets.
At this rate, the north London derby on May 11th will certainly not be for the faint-hearted. The last time these sides met in January, two stoppage-time goals from Steven Bergwijn snatched a dramatic victory for Tottenham that Conte said "highlighted the spirit and commitment" of his players.
But with Spurs surrendering their advantage over Arsenal in the disappointing performances against Brighton and Brentford, the Italian knew there could be no slip-ups here against understrength opposition with their eyes on a different prize.
Conte surprisingly recalled Lucas Moura in place of Kulusevki, despite the Sweden forward's impressive start to life in the Premier League, in the only change from last week, while Rodgers made no apologies for his selection that included only three of the players who started against Roma in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final on Thursday.
That meant Jamie Vardy had to be content with a place on the bench, with Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka leading the line. After a strangely lacklustre start from the hosts, it was the latter who produced the first attempt of any significance in the 14th minute when Boubakary Soumaré's low cross somehow picked out the Zambia striker and his effort was pushed on to the post by Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham escaped another difficult moment soon afterwards when replays suggested Son had handled the ball in the penalty area under pressure from Ayoze Pérez, but no action was taken. Luckily for Spurs, they are able to call on the most prolific attacking partnership in Premier League history and the 41st combination between Son and Kane midway through the first half was as simple as they come.
Daniel Amartey was culpable for allowing the England captain plenty of time to stoop and head in from a pinpoint corner from his South Korean accomplice to open the scoring – 211 minutes after they had last registered a shot on target against Aston Villa on April 9th. Nampalys Mendy almost gifted Kane his second 10 minutes later with a sloppy backpass that forced Kasper Schmeichel into action.
At the other end, Iheanacho fired just wide of the post from outside the box before a delightful piece of skill from Perez set up another opportunity for Leicester, with his scuffed shot just eluding the Nigerian’s lunge. With Leicester also enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Conte must have stressed the need for an improved performance from his players at half-time but once more Tottenham were slow out of the blocks.
The introduction of Kulusevski for the ineffective Moura less than 10 minutes in was at least recognition that his tinkering had not worked this time, with the substitute almost making an immediate impact with a mazy dribble before losing his balance at the vital moment. But, after two crunching tackles from the outstanding Cristian Romero turned over possession just inside the Leicester half, it was Kulusevski's clever pass that allowed Son acres of space to swivel and shoot past the helpless Schmeichel.
Son could have doubled his tally soon afterwards, only to fail to make significant contact on Rodrigo Bentancur’s accurate cross from the left flank to allow Leicester’s goalkeeper to make the save. There was no stopping his next attempt, however.
Nothing looked on when Kulusevki rolled the ball back to Son on the edge of the penalty area, but a curling shot that dipped just below the crossbar gave Schmeichel no chance and left Leicester with no way back. Iheanacho’s goal in stoppage time that beat Lloris via his near post was merely a consolation. – Guardian