James Maddison’s first league goal of the season helped Leicester come from behind to beat Tottenham in an absorbing encounter at the King Power Stadium.
Maddison drilled a superb low effort into the far corner from distance to lift Brendan Rodgers’ side back into the top four of the Premier League at the visitors’ expense.
Ricardo Pereira had put the Foxes back on level terms, moments after Spurs had been denied a second goal when Serge Aurier’s low drive was disallowed for a marginal offside call against Son Heung-min.
Harry Kane’s fourth league goal of the campaign had given Spurs the lead in the first half, the England striker slotting Son’s clever flick beyond Kasper Schmeichel despite being knocked off balance by Foxes defender Caglar Soyuncu.
Leicester thought they had opened the scoring themselves when Wilfred Ndidi scored on the rebound after Paulo Gazzaniga spilled Youri Tielemans’ effort, but the goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee.
Tightest of VAR calls denies Spurs
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino accused his players of “lacking fight” after they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw with Olympiakos in the Champions League midweek.
The result mirrored their 2-2 draw with north London rivals Arsenal in their previous away league game, with Kane admitting after Wednesday’s Group B opener that Spurs had failed to learn from recent mistakes.
Pochettino made six changes to the team that started in Greece, with Hugo Lloris unavailable due to his wife giving birth and Dele Alli left out of the squad altogether. Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Eric Dier all had to settle for places on the bench.
Perhaps as a result, the visitors looked disjointed in the early stages and were fortunate not to fall behind when Ndidi’s effort was chalked off.
There was nothing fortunate about Kane’s opener 13 minutes later, however.
The England striker managed to latch on to Son’s back-heel and despite losing his balance under Soyuncu’s challenge, he somehow managed to knock the ball past Jonny Evans before lifting it over Schmeichel into the far corner.
Spurs thought they had doubled their lead when Aurier drilled a powerful drive into the far corner, but Son was adjudged to have been marginally offside in the build-up and the goal was chalked off.
Buoyed by that narrow decision, Leicester threw bodies forward and restored parity through Pereira, before Maddison struck with five minutes remaining to extend Spurs’ winless league run away from home to nine games.
Leicester prove top-six credentials
After watching the Foxes slip to their first defeat of the campaign at Old Trafford last weekend, Leicester fans were hopeful that their team could continue their impressive home form against a Spurs side who have looked vulnerable on their travels of late.
They had lost their last three meetings with Tottenham in the Premier League prior to today’s game, but this latest performance provided further compelling evidence that Rodgers’ team can mount a serious challenge for a top-six finish this season.
Maddison was heavily involved early on, the 22-year-old curling an effort narrowly off target from the edge of the box before firing straight at Gazzaniga from a tight angle after twisting and turning to find room for the shot.
Rodgers’ side did not let their heads drop after falling behind, with Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy both going close to equalising before Pereira’s strike midway through the second half.
Just as the game appeared destined to end in a draw, Maddison collected Hamza Choudhury’s pass before firing low into the bottom corner from a central position – all in front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
The result was no less than Maddison and his team-mates deserve and lifts the Foxes – temporarily at least – to second in the Premier League.
Man of the match – James Maddison (Leicester)
VAR takes centre stage – the stats
- There were two goals disallowed by VAR in this match, while no other game in the Premier League in 2019-20 has had more than one chalked off.
- Tottenham have failed to win three consecutive away Premier League games when they were leading at half-time for the first time since March 2008.
- Leicester have suffered just one defeat in their last nine Premier League home games (W6 D2), after losing four in a row directly before that.
- Tottenham are without a win in their last nine away games in the Premier League (W0 D2 L7) – they last had a longer winless away run between April and December 2006 (10).
- Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira scored his third goal in 41 Premier League appearances – all three have come at the King Power Stadium.
- Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored 14 goals in 13 games in all competitions against Leicester, four more than he has versus any other side in his professional career.
- Since the start of last season, Kane has scored 13 Premier League away goals, more than any other player in this period.
- Leicester’s James Maddison ended a run of 31 shots in the Premier League without a goal, since netting versus Huddersfield in April.
- Spurs’ Son Heung-min has been directly involved in seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances versus Leicester (4 goals, 3 assists).
‘A wonderful performance’ – what the managers said
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers on BBC Sport: “It was a wonderful performance. I thought the players were outstanding. We started the game with a great tempo, which sets the emotion in the stadium.
“It was just a case of preparing the players mentally for the second half. We had to adapt the system at half-time. The players deserve huge credit. The quality we showed was top-class against an outstanding team.”
“Some of the offside decisions – it’s fine margins. Whatever the decision, you have to adapt and keep your focus on the game. The players did that very well.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on BBC Sport: “We dominated the game and we deserved more but that’s football. It can change quickly. We need to keep working. We have a lot of games coming and we need to be ready.
“I’m always saying that sometimes it (VAR) benefits you and sometimes it goes against you. You can’t complain afterwards. You have to accept it.
“Today, we were the better side but I hope they (Leicester) have a very good season. I admire Brendan Rodgers and wish them the best.”
Leicester travel to Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, 24 September (19:45 BST), while Spurs visit Colchester United at the same time.
Arsenal staged a stirring comeback to earn a point in a chaotic, thrilling north London derby against Tottenham at Emirates Stadium.
Spurs looked to be in complete control when Christian Eriksen pounced to put them ahead in the 10th minute after Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno pushed out Erik Lamela’s shot.
Leno then saved superbly from Son Heung-min before the South Korean was senselessly hacked down in the area by Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka to allow Harry Kane to score his 10th goal in 11 derby games.
Arsenal started the revival when Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back on the stroke of half-time before they laid siege to Spurs’ goal after the break.
Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris saved superbly from Matteo Guendozi’s low shot and from substitute Dani Ceballos before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed the poacher’s instinct to turn home the equaliser with 19 minutes remaining.
Kane struck the inside of the post and Sokratis had a goal ruled out for offside – Spurs also had strong penalty claims rejected when the pair clashed late on – but neither side could make the decisive breakthrough and this entertaining encounter ended with honours even.
The result lifts Arsenal to fifth in the Premier League with seven points from four games, while Tottenham head into September’s international break four places behind their rivals in ninth on five points.
Arsenal show fighting spirit
Arsenal showed real character amid the mood swings of this north London derby to fight back from a precarious position to earn a point.
Unai Emery’s side found themselves in big trouble at two goals down but never felt sorry for themselves, fighting their way back to parity and pinning Spurs back for most of the second half.
The Gunners were guilty of poor defending and moments of carelessness but no-one could question their heart.
Lacazette’s goal with seconds left of the first half was vital, lifting the spirits of Arsenal’s players and supporters and setting the perfect platform for a second half that was low on moments of high class but full of fervour and entertainment.
The action swung from end-to-end but Arsenal looked stronger after the break with 20-year-old Guendouzi performing with great maturity in midfield.
Guendouzi certainly showed greater composure than his captain Xhaka, who was guilty of a moment of crass stupidity when diving into a sliding challenge on Son to concede a penalty.
The young Frenchman almost scored only for Lloris to make a brilliant save and it was his intelligent, probing ball into the box that was diverted in by Aubameyang.
It is already becoming clear the title is a two-horse race between Liverpool and Manchester City but Arsenal will feel they can make a serious top-four challenge – although once again questions must be asked about their defending.
Spurs still looking short
Spurs will be disappointed at only getting a draw after establishing such a position of strength at 2-0 but in the end there was almost a sense they should be grateful for a point.
It continues an indifferent start to the season as they have five points from their first four games, with just one win at home to Aston Villa.
Spurs, to give perspective, have also had tough away assignments at Manchester City and Arsenal and come away with points but they are not yet back to their best.
The experiment of using Davinson Sanchez at right-back was not an unqualified success and on several occasions manager Mauricio Pochettino could be seen showing his exasperation, both at moments of poor defending and also when Spurs were wasteful in attack.
Spurs were grateful for a superb display of shot-stopping by Lloris but Pochettino will be frustrated that his side looked to have Arsenal where they wanted them before the break, then ended hanging on for long periods in the second half.
‘A great job’ – what they said
Arsenal manager Unai Emery, speaking to BBC Sport: “It was an amazing match. We are proud of our work and our supporters. The result isn’t the best for us.
“The key was the first goal to give us confidence and give us more chances in the second half. We deserved it. We did a lot of good things. We made some mistakes in the first half and they have good players.
“Before their first goal we were playing well. Sometimes our heart is more strong than our head.”
Tottenham striker Harry Kane, speaking to BBC Sport: “I feel like were coming off disappointed. We expect to see the game out. The goal hurt us with momentum just before the break. It was an end-to-end game, especially last 10-15 minutes but the players left everything on the pitch.
On his late penalty shout: “As a striker, if it is on halfway it is a definite foul. In the box you don’t always get them. He’s come through the back of me but it is 50/50. VAR would probably have backed the ref in this.”
Man of the match – Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal)
Spurs continue to stutter on the road – stats
- Tottenham have dropped 42 points from winning positions in the Premier League against Arsenal – 11 more than against any other side in the competition.
- Spurs are winless in their last eight away league games, drawing two and losing six. They last endured such a run on the road in their eight games between December 2011 and April 2012.
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 27 Premier League home games against Tottenham, a 2-3 defeat in November 2010 after being two goals ahead.
- Since his Premier League debut in August 2016, no player has conceded more penalties in the competition than the five by Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka.
- Arsenal have recorded 13 errors leading to goals in the Premier League since the start of last season – the most of any club in the competition. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno is responsible for six of those errors.
- Spurs’ Christian Eriksen has now scored 50 Premier League goals – the first Danish player to reach this landmark – whilst also becoming the first Spurs player to register both 50-plus goals and assists for the club in the competition.
After the international break, Tottenham resume their Premier League season with a home match against Crystal Palace on Saturday, 14 September (15:00 BST).
A day later, Arsenal travel to Watford in the late Sunday kick-off (16:30 BST).