Tottenham vs Leicester City almost always brings goals and the Spurs and Foxes did not disappoint with a defending-optional 6-2 decision for the hosts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.
Heung-min Son came off the bench to score a 13-minute hat trick in Tottenham’s triumph after Spurs trailed 1-0 after six minutes and found itself level 2-2 at halftime.
The only second-half goals came from Tottenham. And all were highlight-reel stuff, as Rodrigo Betancur forced a turnover and smashed past Danny Ward before Heung-min Son came off the bench to score a sensational trio of goals.
Spurs’ unbeaten start in the Premier League remains is now seven games, as Harry Kane and Eric Dier joined Betancur and Son on the score sheet. Betancur and Ivan Perisic recorded assists, as did Dejan Kulusevski for a world-class cross to set up Kane’s goal.
Youri Tielemans and James Maddison scored for the Foxes, who out-attempted the hosts but won’t take many moral victories after looking to the table; Leicester has a single point through seven outings and sits dead-last, 16 points and 18 places behind their hosts.
Tottenham sits third.
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What we learned from Tottenham vs Leicester; Heung-min Son reaction
Spurs have that Conte juice: Losing at midweek at the UEFA Champions League already brings a fierce reaction out of Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, who drilled Spurs the day after a disappointing loss to Sporting Lisbon. An early concession after that? Well, let’s just say it’s no surprise that Tottenham overcame whatever midweek wearies were in their bodies to score four of the final five goals against Leicester. No, the Foxes cannot defend right now — more on that kin a moment — but Tottenham never really felt in danger of taking anything but three points even when it was down 1-0 and level 2-2.
Son in particular responds to the call: Antonio Conte reacted to Richarlison’s bettered performances and Heung-min Son’s surprising star turn by plugging the former into the Starting XI. But a player like Son is always going to get his chance to shine and shine he did. Son’s goals were Spurs fourth, fifth, and sixth of the day but will compete for the honor of being the best goal of the game. Big time stuff from the South Korean.
“My finishing has been poor this season,” Son said, via the BBC. “I’ve also been a little bit unlucky with an own goal, two offside goals and hitting the crossbar. I knew goals were coming and I wasn’t worried. I’ve always had great supporters, teammates and coaches behind me. … I was pretty sure I was onside for the hat-trick! I’m glad I’ve been able to help the team, that is really important and I can go to national duty with renewed energy. … I’m getting emotional [about the crowd support] to be honest. There has been amazing support and I’ve always felt like I’ve disappointed my teammates and fans with my performances. They have always been supporting me.”
Foxes only know half the game: The new guy, center back Wout Faes, had his moments but the fact remains that Leicester City is absolutely brutal at the back right now, leading to a chicken or the egg question regarding transferred goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Was he that good? Danny Ward cannot be that bad, but the question is whether Leicester’s defending was papered over by its Danish star for years. Leicester entered the day having allowed the Premier League’s third-most goals and boasted the fifth-worst xGA. That ain’t improving and Leicester is a candidate to be one of the surprise teams in relegation danger as Fulham and Bournemouth have found early-season wins.
Brendy watch: Leicester’s been terrible this season and the Foxes are looking at an international break to get things together. Is there a chance that means ditching their big reputation but up-and-down performer of a manager?
Rodgers admits he’s feeling pressure in a big way.
“Very much so,” Rodgers said. “I come in every day and do my work. I totally understand the frustration of supporters. I can’t hide from that. It’s my responsibility. … Whatever happens I’ll have a huge amount of respect for them [the owners] because they’ve given me great support. I understand the game. The scoreline didn’t reflect the game but the bottom line is it’s a heavy defeat. They’ve given me brilliant support. Whatever happens to me at Leicester whether I stay and fight on, I’ll always respect them.”
Two things are very true of that statement:
- It’s very admirable for a man who has definitely underachieved but also had a nightmare of a summer transfer window.
- It’s very honest and perhaps a harbinger of what’s to come, or even a door opener for the bosses to let him loose without much remorse.
There’s also probably a pretty comforting payout coming his way in the event of a firing.
Stars of the Show
It’ll be Tottenham at Arsenal in a high-profile North London derby when the Premier League resumes at 7:30am ET on October 1 (October?!? Whaaaat?!?!).
Leicester hosts Nottingham Forest at 3pm ET on Monday, Oct. 3. Will Rodgers be in the dugout?
Youri Tielemans goal video: Foxes take very early lead from the spot
Harry Kane goal video: Tottenham’s star man nods home Kulusevski’s sweet service
Eric Dier goal video: Another Spurs set piece, another Spurs goal
James Maddison goal video: Foxes bring it level (again)
Rodrigo Betancur goal video: Spurs throw weight around
Rodrigo Bentancur scores and Tottenham take the lead once again! #COYS
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) September 17, 2022
Heung-min Son hat trick video: Thirteen minutes = three goals
How to watch Tottenham vs Leicester live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 12:30 pm ET, Saturday
TV channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
The result in Portugal may have been different than all the rest, but the performance itself was actually quite similar to the way Tottenham have played in the Premier League. Through a handful of timely goals, Spurs had managed to come out on the (mostly) right side of every mediocre performance, but they were bound to fall victim to their own poor chance creation and unimaginative possession eventually. Chiefly, the struggles of Son Heung-min, last season’s Golden Boot winner who is yet to open his account in 2022-23, have prevented Tottenham from kicking on too quickly. At that same time, they’re a point off the PL summit without having shown anything closer to their best thus far.
As for the Foxes, miserable doesn’t even begin to explain their existence since the summer began. Leicester signed all of one new player during the summer transfer window, and Wout Faes was only brought in just before the deadline to replace Wesley Fofana, who moved to Chelsea for $80 million. The season began with a blown two-goal lead against Brentford (Leicester’s only point thus far), and was followed by five straight defeats and 14 goals conceded. Brendan Rodgers is undoubtedly feeling the pressure as his employment grows more tenuous with each passing defeat.
Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Lucas Moura (achilles)
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 17, 2022
Leicester team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Ricardo Pereira (achilles), Ryan Bertrand (knee)
— Leicester City (@LCFC) September 17, 2022