A late night Saturday kick-off, away to Leicester, just three days before their final – not quite must win – Champions League group game away to Barcelona would not be what the manager wanted, it just worked out well in the end.
You could tell what Pochettino thought about this latest in a run of closely scheduled games, with his team sheet. There’s not many times you’ll see a first XI in the league that doesn’t contain Eriksen and Kane, unless they’re injured. It’s the first time neither have featured since March 2014, apparently.
The problem for the game as a spectacle was that both teams were missing their main man up front and both teams don’t know what to do without that striker there. Leicester score by banging it forward into space for Vardy to chase down, without him to do that they’re a bit lost. Spurs need that focal point of Kane. This season they need it in the build up, with his hold up play.
It was a dire half, for the most part only lit up by Dele stepping up to fill the void. He as really up for it and it’s great having him back to his old self. Fit and full of nutmegs. Other than that there was Sissoko, on one hand make two excellent last ditch blocks and on the other reverting to the Sissoko of a little over a month ago with the ball at his feet. Cluelessly butchering attacks. Was it too good to last?
We were into added time at the end of the first half when things got a bit better. A bumbling, ball never under control, run into the box by Sissoko, saw him pass it straight to A Leicester player, the clearance fell to Aurier who passed inside to Son, on the edge of the box, a few paces inside and he let go with a left footed strike that flew into the top far corner of the net. It was a glorious goal, completely out of place in what had gone on before in the game.
The second half followed a similar undistinguished pattern as the first bar, again, Dele. Scoring his 50th goal for the club in exactly the same fashion, a back post header, away at Leicester with Kasper Schmeichel in goal, as his first goal for the club back in August 2015.
Nothing much else happened. Hugo made a decent save and Poch, for some reason, introduced Eriksen and Kane late on and another defensive injury, as Aurier went of.
An away win without either Eriksen or Kane contributing is a big bonus and it gives Spurs the most points they’ve had, 36, after 16 games of a Premier League season. Everybody is banging on about how City are the greatest team ever seen, Liverpool are so great under Klopp. Emery and Sarri have lifted their clubs to new heights. Yet Spurs are there, just below the former pair, ahead of the latter two and have yet to sparkle, yet to get out of second gear. Yet to really play at home.