Wednesday saw one of the most dramatic finishes to a Premier League game in some time as Leicester City crumbled to allow Spurs to score a late equaliser and winner to win 3-2 in the 97th minute of the game. Leicester fans were speechless as to what they were seeing, staring in disbelief as the away end erupted into wild celebration.
As journalists quickly deleted their match reports and scribbled up new questions to ask the managers, Brendan Rodgers was left to gather his thoughts and address the last few moments of the game; shellshocked fans needed answers from him.
Naturally, because, until the last few seconds, the Foxes were leading the tie 2-1, there were positives to pull out from the performance, with Rodgers saying:
“It was 93 minutes of really good work. We showed good resilience in defence. The goals we scored were terrific.”
Brendan Rodgers, TEAMTalk.com
However, his focus soon shifted to the last few moments of the game:
“It is hard to not have taken anything from the game […] That was a great opportunity tonight, but you have to see that through.
“I don’t think Tottenham won the game, we presented them the three points. It’s bitterly disappointing but we have to get back on the training pitch and again for the weekend.”
Whilst the manner of the final two goals, Steven Bergwijn’s winner especially, were gifted to Tottenham with poor passing, pressing and defensive awareness, the balance of play doesn’t particularly back up Rodger’s statements. Spurs were very much the better side on Tuesday and repeatedly let Leicester off of the hook in the first half.
Harry Kane saw an early headed chance crash off of the cross bar and blazed a clear 1 on 1 over the goal both in the first and second half. Davidson Sanchez also missed a guilt-edged chance during a set piece move and let’s not forget the heroics of both Luke Thomas and Marc Albrighton as they both produced amazing goal-line clearances.
When Leicester eventually broke out and scored on the counter, it was very much against the run of play. Tottenham were so dominant, that they finished the game with an xG (expected goals) of 4.49 – the sixth highest xG in the Premier League since records began.
So, whilst Rodgers is right in terms of gift-wrapping the win for Spurs, and that the manner of the defeat seemed much more to be Leicester losing the game rather than Spurs winning it, the stats do tell a different story in terms of the full 90. If Leicester are to push on this season, they cannot be conceding the number of chances that they allowed Conte’s side to have; other teams will be more ruthless than the Lilywhites were.
I’m sure this is something that Rodgers will already be addressing thanks to the support of his statisticians and analytics. What adaptations that he will make to the game plan is yet to be seen. Brighton on Sunday will be a hugely telling fixture, one that Leicester City must win.