Alderweireld is human after all: Five things we learned from Tottenham 2 Leicester 2
Toby Alderweireld does make mistakes, Leicester are a force in all competitions and other things learned from Tottenham 2 Leicester 2
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Alderweireld is not error-free
By common consent, the centre-back has been one of the outstanding signings of the last transfer window. He has barely put a foot wrong at White Hart Lane since his summer switch from Atletico Madrid, via a loan spell at Southampton, forming the most reliable central defensive partnership in the Premier League with countryman Jan Vertonghen. But Alderweireld showed he is human after all with an unusually error-laden display against Leicester. He failed to properly track Marcin Wasilewski for the header that levelled the scores from a first-half corner and was then sent on the Eurostar back to Brussels by the dancing feet of Shinji Okasaki for the visitors’ second. Without the comfort blanket of Vertonghen alongside him, Alderweireld looked half the player.
Leicester spirit shines through
Huge credit must go to Claudio Ranieri’s team for showing they are more than just a Premier League unlikely success story. Ranieri rotated his troops, with Jamie Vardy rested and Riyad Mahrez, Wes Morgan, Danny Drinkwater and Marc Albrighton left on the bench, but the spirit and character so evident in Leicester’s league form was replicated in a tricky cup assignment. In a cracking cup tie, Leicester led for most of the second period before Spurs were saved by a late penalty in the dying moments to send everyone back to the King Power Stadium in 10 days. The late penalty was very harsh, given the proximity of Nathan Dyer to the ball when it hit his arm. Tottenham got out of jail.
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Gray is an unpolished diamond
What a mightily impressive debut from the teenage winger, who was playing in the Championship just a week ago. Demarai Gray does not yet have the upper body strength to match his athleticism and happy feet, but he showed that he is comfortable on the big stage with a fine debut for the club he joined in a £4million deal from Birmingham just a few days ago. An unpolished diamond, but a diamond nonetheless. This was a 66-minute debut that bodes well.
Spurs over-reliant on Rose runs
The home side were at their most effective in the first half when Danny Rose was zooming up and down the left flank. Leicester found it difficult to contain the Englishman, who provided a constant and threatening presence when Spurs dominated. But once Rose’s runs petered out, so did Tottenham’s attacking zest. Worryingly for Mauricio Pochettino, there was no one else keen to take responsibility for creating chances. But Rose did not give up and won Spurs their late penalty when he burst into the box and flicked the ball into the arm of Dyer.
Pain for Tottenham without Kane
The pressure on Spurs to buy a new striker this month will only intensify after this match. Pochettino took the sensible decision to rest Harry Kane due to his heavy schedule but you did not need to be an elite coach to note the team’s lack of cutting edge in the absence of the England international. Son Henug-min was pushed forward but lacks the body strength to lead the line. Kane came off the bench to rescue a draw with his emphatic last-gasp penalty but even the prolific front man cannot bear such a heavy burden. Daniel Levy must dig deep in the January window and provide Pochettino with an attacking alternative.