Friday 24 November 2017

Kane hits four in Tottenham rampage

Leicester City 1 Tottenham 6

Harry Kane scores his side’s third goal during their victory over Leicester last night. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters
Harry Kane scores his side’s third goal during their victory over Leicester last night. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

John Percy

The race for the Premier League title may be over but the Golden Boot will go to the final day of the season for Harry Kane.

Four goals from the Spurs striker at the King Power Stadium took him two ahead of his closest rival, Everton's Romelu Lukaku, and he has a genuine opportunity to finish the season with something for the trophy cabinet.

Kane is now on 26 goals, with a trip to relegated Hull on Sunday, and the Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino must be reflecting on how damaging the striker's absence has been on their title challenge.

Kane has missed eight games through injury yet few would bet against him claiming the award for the second successive season.

This was another ruthless, relentless display as last season's Premier League champions were blown away in only Craig Shakespeare's fifth defeat since taking charge in February.

Shakespeare's team have been depleted by injuries but Spurs have not lost at Leicester since the days of Filbert Street and this was emphatic, only heightening the sense of what might have been.

Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their fifth goal to complete his hat trick. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters
Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their fifth goal to complete his hat trick. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

Just three weeks ago this game had all the makings of a pivotal night in the season, with Pochettino chasing Chelsea for the league title.

But that wimpish performance at West Ham on May 5, and a 1-0 defeat, ended any lingering hopes of Spurs bidding farewell to White Hart Lane with a trophy.

This was effectively a dead rubber, with Spurs already guaranteed second, while last season's champions will be viewing a mid-table finish as a satisfactory outcome after their unpredictable title defence.

Shakespeare could not have done much more to secure the manager's job permanently and this felt like a final audition in front of Leicester's owners.

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game with teammates Toby Alderweireld (left) and Ben Davies. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game with teammates Toby Alderweireld (left) and Ben Davies. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Unequivocal

He will meet the hierarchy next week to discover if he is successful but the support from the dressing room is unequivocal, and we all know how that turned out for Claudio Ranieri.

This was a chastening evening, however, with the absence of captain Wes Morgan, Robert Huth and Danny Drinkwater through injury proving too costly.

Leicester could reasonably point to a missed chance from Jamie Vardy early in the game as a crucial moment. Vardy has been revitalised under Ranieri's former No 2 and he had the first chance, shooting straight at Hugo Lloris from a decent position after he was sent clear by Riyad Mahrez.

It was an opportunity the England international would regret wasting, for Spurs took the lead in the 25th minute after a typically fluid counter-attack.

Leicester City's Christian Fuchs looks dejected after Tottenham score their fourth goal. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters
Leicester City's Christian Fuchs looks dejected after Tottenham score their fourth goal. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

Toby Alderweireld's lofted pass was misjudged by Christian Fuchs, allowing Son Heung-min to scamper into the penalty area.

The Korean was given far too much room to find Kane, who timed his run perfectly to slide the ball into the corner.

Leicester had what appeared legitimate claims for a penalty waved away a minute later, when Alderweireld bundled Vardy over in the area.

But Spurs were now in total control, Kane frequently outwitting Leicester defender Yohan Benalouane, and they increased their lead with a brilliant goal nine minutes before half-time.

This time it was an exquisite chip on the edge of the area from Dele Alli, with Son turning to hook his shot past Kasper Schmeichel from 12 yards. For a team supposedly in anguish over missing out on the title, this was another razor-sharp performance. Leicester were in danger of being blown away.

Islam Slimani, the £28 million record signing, was introduced at half-time by Shakespeare, in an attempt to challenge Spurs's dominance.

Leicester were a different side, attacking with intent and creating chances. Benalouane headed a Marc Albrighton free-kick over the bar while Mahrez tested Lloris from 20 yards, as the home support began to sense a way back into the game.

The goal did come, in the 59th minute, after Vardy finally broke clear of the Spurs offside trap. Wilfred Ndidi sent Vardy clear and Lloris rushed out of his area, failing to connect properly with his clearance.

The ball squirmed to Ben Chilwell 20 yards out and the youngster ambled into the area to pick his spot and direct the ball into the corner. It was Chilwell's first senior goal and another highlight in his burgeoning career.

Yet any hopes of a Leicester comeback evaporated just four minutes later.

Alderweireld's cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Victor Wanyama and there was Kane with a simple header from two yards.

Son added a fourth goal in the 71st minute with another piece of individual brilliance, cleverly bypassing Ndidi with a dragback to bend a shot into the corner.

But Kane signed off in style, claiming the match ball with a low shot to set up a Sunday shoot-out with Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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