The Premier League title may have been sealed, the bottom three consigned to the Championship and the fight for the top four no concern of either side here tonight, but that didn’t stop Tottenham from keeping their foot firmly on the peddle at the King Power. Someone clearly forgot to pass them the memo.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were both on point, with the young Englishman claiming four, as the visitors secured three more points to take their tally to 83 – surpassing Leicester’s own haul as champions last year.
Ben Chilwell pulled one back but it wasn’t to be enough as Mauricio Pochettino’s side maintained the terrific form that has seen them garlanded with praise this season.
Kane overtook Romelu Lukaku as Premier League top scorer ()
The Argentine had said the day before that he has no intentions of leaving Tottenham next season and, in light of tonight’s performance, it was easy to see why as his men set about dismantling their opponents.
In spite of the limited significance to Thursday’s game, both managers fielded sides that suggested this was anything but a dead rubber.
While Pochettino made two changes to the side that ran out against United, Craig Shakespeare implemented just one to the starting XI that had fallen short at the Etihad five days prior. With senior players in abundance it was clear, then, that the two teams meant business.
And so it showed. For the opening 20 minutes, it was a lively, effervescent affair. The ball was zipped around the plush King Power patch with purpose and direction, both sides enjoying their fair share of possession and chances.
Son made it 2-0 after Kane’s opener ()
Jamie Vardy enjoyed Leicester’s best opportunity of the first half after just 10 minutes, latching onto Riyad Mahrez’s neat reverse pass only to fire his thunder bolt of a shot into the hands of Hugo Lloris. Minutes later, Daniel Amartey followed this up with his a deflected strike on goal, which kicked up dangerously off Eric Dier’s out-stretched leg, but Lloris was once again on hand to deny the Foxes.
Tottenham, too, came close. Son was slotted through on goal in the 14th minute but powered his shot high into the stand behind. But with Pochettino’s men fast finding their groove, it wasn’t long before Spurs had their lead.
It was bread-and-butter from the visitors, with Toby Alderweireld sending a long, route one ball over the top to Son down the right flank. After closing in on Kasper Schmeichel’s near-hand post, the south Korean cut the ball back to the incoming Kane who, from three yards out, did the rest. A simplistic but clinical goal that beat the home side at their own game.
Ben Chilwell scored his first goal of the season with a composed finish ()
The next was not so simple, encapsulating the class and precision that has characterised this Tottenham side for much of the season. After a brief back-and-forth from the visitors, it was Alli who eventually picked up play on the edge of Leicester’s box. With his back to goal, the 21-year-old turned effortlessly before lifting the ball into the path of Son. Creator turned goalscorer, Son caught it first time, guiding the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to claim his 20th goal of the season and hand Spurs a comfy two-goal cushion heading into the break.
Despite the deficit, Leicester refused to roll over. Shakespeare had said before the match that “motivation for these final games has to come from within”. The Foxes duly obliged and were soon rewarded.
After Lloris failed to clear a dissecting through-ball, having rushed 45 yards from his goal-line, Leicester quickly recycled play as the Frenchman desperately scrambled back towards his net.
The ball eventually fell to Chilwell and although it looked as if he had taken too long to act, the youngster showed great composure from the centre of Tottenham’s box to pick out the bottom left corner.
Son has had a fine season at Spurs ()
But Tottenham’s reaction was swift and punishing. Meeting a simple Victor Wanyama nod-back, Kane clinched his second, and Spurs’ third, with the simplest of headers moments after the hour mark. Son added the fourth with a sublime curled effort from 25-odd yards out, guiding the ball past the outstretched Schmeichel having just lost three of Leicester’s players with a well-executed drag back.
By the time Vincent Janssen was introduced in the 77th minute, Leicester’s motivation and belief had been sapped.
By the closing 10 minutes it was a matter of damage limitation for the Foxes, but still they couldn’t hold back the wave of golden shirts that bore down. Janssen looked to have Tottenham’s fifth, tapping in from close range, only for the flag to go up.
Tottenham are guaranteed a best-ever second-placed finish ( )
Kane, though, wanted more. With Leicester’s defence in tatters, and the King Power Stadium half empty, the forward added his third and fourth in the closing five minutes to really rub salt into the home side’s wounds and, in doing so, pull ahead in the race for the Golden boot.
It was a farcical capitulation from Leicester and one that reaffirmed the gulf in quality between the old title-holders and, potentially, the next champions of England.
Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Benalouane, Fuchs, Chilwell; Mahrez, Ndidi, Amartey, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy.
Subs: Musa, Kapustka, Slimani, Zieler, Gray, Wasilewski, Moore.
Tottenham: Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Wanyama, Dembele; Sissoko, Alli, Son; Kane.
Subs: Vorm, Wimmer, Lesniak, Shashoua, Eriksen, Nkoudou, Janssen.
Referee: Michael Oliver.