Football: Joachim strikes at heart of revolution

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The Independent Online
Leicester City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Tottenham Hotspur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

REVOLUTION is all very well but it is resolution that Tottenham need now. They play with a sense of adventure, but on Saturday were not prepared to do the hard work that goes with it.

'It doesn't matter who you are, how good you are, you have to win the 50-50 balls. You have to do the so-called unfashionable things in the game,' Ossie Ardiles, the Spurs manager, moaned after his expensive, expansive side had been run off the Filbert Street pitch.

'Runners-up' is prominent on Leicester's roll of honour but on Saturday they did not come second in any aspect of the game. They were first to the ball, won most of their tackles, had the best performers in Joachim, Draper and Philpott, and never looked like finishing the match as anything other than winners.

The crucial moment came just before half-time when Julian Joachim fought for the ball with Stuart Nethercott on the left and, having won it, lofted it over Ian Walker into the far corner for Leicester's opening goal.

It had begun to look as if Spurs would escape punishment for their sloppy first-half play and that Leicester, more like hounds than Foxes, would endure more disappointment in a disappointing start to their first Premiership season. The goal underpinned their confidence, not least Joachim's. Back in a young side after missing two games, he showed the sense of purpose his manager, Brian Little, had been looking for after the quick striker had not managed a shot at goal in two games prior to being dropped.

'He's probably done more work this week than at any time,' Little said of Joachim, who he thinks at 19 has more going for him than any player except perhaps Liverpool's Robbie Fowler.

A lot of his week's work was spent on getting into the right places behind defenders to feed off Iwan Roberts, whose bulk complements Joachim's electric pace. That is not too difficult against Spurs who, as Little acknowledged and Ardiles ruefully agreed, let their opponents play.

Joachim was in acres of space on the right when he advanced and swung the ball over for David Lowe, who had just come on, to score from the edge of the area with four minutes to go. He then outpaced Nethercott in the final moments to wrap things up with a low drive across Walker.

It had taken a near-post parry by Kevin Poole moments earlier to prevent a Spurs equaliser from Ilie Dumitrescu after Jurgen Klinsmann had pounced on a mistake to power in Spurs' goal. Had the Romanian scored, it would have been particularly unreasonable as he had typified Tottenham's ability to take the wrong option all afternoon.

Some fans believe Ardiles has taken the wrong option with his adventurous formation - but he thinks that dropping another Romanian, Gheorghe Popescu, into the middle to plug the gaps will prove him right.

Goals: Joachim (45) 1-0; Lowe (86) 2-0; Klinsmann (88) 2-1; Joachim (90) 3-1.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Poole; Grayson, Willis, Mohan, Lewis; Carr (Lowe, 82), Draper, Blake, Philpott (Agnew, 72); Roberts, Joachim. Substitute not used: Ward (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur (4-1-3-2): Walker; Kerslake, Nethercott, Campbell, Edinburgh; Calderwood (Hazard, 58); Anderton, Barmby, Dumitrescu; Klinsmann, Sheringham. Subtitutes not used: Mabbutt, Day (gk).

Referee: G Ashby (Worcester).