Son Heung-min and Harry Kane sizzle to inspire Tottenham past Leicester to boost top-four hopes

Tottenham 3-1 Leicester: Harry Kane opened the scoring before the Korean’s double and Kelechi Iheanacho grabbed a consolation for the Foxes

Miguel Delaney
At Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Sunday 01 May 2022 18:34
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<p>Son Heung-Min celebrates with Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal</p>

Son Heung-Min celebrates with Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal

The numbers of the day say enough, although there’s no accounting for the feel that comes from wins like this.

Tottenham Hotspur’s brilliant double act offer their usual one-two to make it a record 41 goals where Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have combined, and bring a 3-1 win over Leicester City that fortifies the atmosphere around the team as this race for the top four goes down to the wire.

That initial link-up, which saw Kane open the scoring, was also Spurs’ first shot on target in 220 minutes. You wouldn’t have guessed it from the way the game proceeded, a happier-appearing Antonio Conte by then watching his team have shots for fun. Almost literally. Son’s second goal of the game so exquisitely curled into the top corner, to bring another entry in his personal catalogue of spectacular goals.

It was a surprisingly easy win for Spurs, but one that was badly needed at a challenging time. The line-up Leicester put out in between Europa Conference semi-final legs against Roma did make it that bit easier, it must be said. Arsenal can have few complaints there, though, given West Ham United put out a similar team for their later match.

The effect could be seen for the opening goal, though.

Harry Kane in action with Kasper Schmeichel

While Spurs had undeniably stepped up in terms of impetus, it’s possible there would have been an inevitability about that opening goal from just standing there. Kane was afforded the freedom of the six-yard box by Daniel Amertey. He didn’t just get an effort on target but was allowed stoop to head the ball. It was so simple, especially for a team that has found attacking such a toil of late.

This is not a new frustration with Leicester, mind, and the changes to the first team were always going to mean more gaps appearing. Little wonder there was even less communication in the defence.

What should be encouraging about Rodgers’s side is how they do keep the same attacking dynamic despite that. They are always entertaining, and arguably deserved the lead before Spurs scored. This probably wasn’t a 3-1 game, in truth, but that’s the difference top-class players make. Patson Daka had forced an excellent save from Hugo Lloris, as the goalkeeper touched the ball onto the post, and their exchanges and movement were constantly fashioning openings.

Spurs don’t yet have that kind of collective attacking cohesion under Conte, but they do have two of the best players in the Premier League. That connection between Son and Kane is capable of elevating even the drabbest display.

One of the early moments of the match was a divine one-touch pass from Kane, the forward opening his body, to open up a route on goal for Son.

Son Heung-Min celebrates his second goal

Their ability to surge forward is also now complemented by a player who has developed into one of the best defenders in the league. Romero’s display was one of those vintage performances where a centre-half’s work in protecting his team is so aggressive and proactive that it actually has the effect of pushing everyone else on.

There couldn’t be a better illustration of that than that supreme challenge on Caglar Soyuncu on the hour mark.

It was all the more impressive given it was a double challenge, with treble effect. It stopped a Leicester counter while setting up Spurs, and all while changing the emotional tone of the moment. The ball was worked to Son, who then changed his feet to finish smartly.

The tackle was reminiscent of a player who really did develop into one of the Premier League’s great defenders, and his transformative moment. Nemanja Vidic had been a little uncertain at Manchester United on signing in January 2006, until all that changed with a similarly forceful sliding challenge that started the move for a Wayne Rooney goal against Arsenal. Romero has had a better start to his Premier League career than Vidic did, but this was perhaps a moment that characterised what he has grown into.

He is a rock, and clearly revelling under Conte.

Son meanwhile continues to soar. So do some of his shots.

The Korean closed out the game by adding to what is now a long list of spectacular goals, so many of them special in different ways. This was a glorious effort with his left, that just crept in with a divine late curl.

It was all so indulgent and expressive from Spurs in a period of the season that is supposed to be a challenge. Kelechi Iheanacho’s late goal didn’t feel like it mattered. Spurs should be optimistic their goal difference will still remain healthier than Arsenal’s if it does come to that.

That is again thanks to their double act.

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