Tottenham key talking points: Spurs robbed by VAR decision but another capitulation continues worrying trend

Dan Kilpatrick
Evening Standard
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Tottenham threw away a lead at the King Power Stadium as Leicester came from behind to snatch all three points.

Harry Kane’s brilliantly improvised finish gave Spurs the lead in the first-half before late goals from Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison dealt Mauricio Pochettino’s side their second defeat of the season.

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Serge Aurier thought he had doubled his side’s lead with a goal that could have killed off the contest – only for VAR to have the final say once again.

Dan Kilpatrick was at the King Power to provide analysis for Standard Sport.

Inexplicable VAR call changes game's course

Not for the first time – or surely the last – this season, a superb game of Premier League football was marred by an inexplicable and maddening VAR call, which utterly changed the course of the afternoon and likely robbed Tottenham of three points and a first away win since 20 January.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Son Heung-min was judged offside in the build-up to Aurier's 67th-minute strike, which would have doubled Spurs' lead, but replays showed there was next to nothing in it; millimetres maybe – but that was from one angle and the technology is not accurate enough yet to measure such fractions.

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We have already heard all the arguments already and this was another example of the technology penalising attackers – does anyone want that? – and leaving forwards almost unable to play effectively off the shoulder. It is making football worse.

Spurs, predictably, paid the price for the decision within two minutes when Ricardo scored, cancelling out Harry Kane's extraordinary strike in the first half. Maddison then scored a fine winner.

It should be noted that Spurs benefitted from the VAR early on, when Wilfred Ndidi had a goal ruled out at 0-0 for a Jamie Vardy offside.

On that occasion, Vardy was clearly beyond the last defender, so it can be put down as an example of the technology working for the good of the game. The Son decision, however, felt baffling and arbitrary and was the latest example of how unsatisfactory VAR still feels in the Premier League.

Spurs capitulate yet again

The VAR decision was so cruel on Spurs, who had until that point looked worthy of a narrow lead, but they deserve criticism for the way the capitulated afterwards. The decision seemed to knock the wind out of Pochettino's side and Ricardo's goal came just two minutes later, before Maddison wrapped up the three points for Leicester.

It was yet another failure from Spurs to hold onto a lead after the capitulations against Arsenal and Olympiacos from 2-0 up in their last two away matches, speaking of a mental fragility and an alarming lack of confidence in the camp.

(Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

The 4-0 win over Crystal Palace is increasingly looking like an anomaly as Spurs' shaky form continues and it is no exaggeration to say Pochettino is in the midst of his most difficult period since joining the club in May 2014.

The manager was certainly not blameless here, with the decision to introduce Victor Wanyama for Moussa Sissoko just after Aurier's disallowed goal a catastrophic one.

The Kenyan gave the ball away in the build-up to Ricardo's goal and was too slow to close down Maddison for the winner. Sissoko was a substitute at Olympiacos, so you wonder if he really needed to be replaced, particularly for a player who no longer looks able to cut it at this level.

Erik Lamela filling Eriksen void

On the plus side for Spurs, there was another encouraging performance from Erik Lamela, who unlocked Leicester for Kane's goal and was at the heart of all the visitors' best attacking moves.

Lamela has shown flashes of brilliance and consistency throughout his lengthy Spurs career, so to say this spell is different is to invite derision.

(Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Nonetheless, clearly the Argentine's productive vein of form is coming at an important time for Spurs, with Christian Eriksen, who was benched here, hopelessly out of sorts amid the ongoing uncertainty over his future and Giovani Lo Celso ruled out until the end of October.

Lamela is not perfect and he divides the fanbase like no other but at the moment he is one of Spurs' most important players. Long may it continue.

Kane torments Leicester again with extraordinary goal

Harry Kane has tormented Leicester plenty of times before but he's never scored a goal like this one. The England captain opened the scoring with marvellous feat of finishing, finding the top corner despite being horizontal on the turf following a push by Caglar Soyuncu.

(Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Kane was denied penalties against Arsenal and Newcastle and he was perhaps conscious that nothing was guaranteed as he stumbled to the deck.

It was Kane's 14th goal in 13 appearances against the Foxes, where he was once on loan, and by far the most extraordinary.

There was plenty to love about the build-up too, as the excellent Lamela unlocked Leicester with a superb through pass to Son, whose back-heel found Kane. It was a crying shame that it counted for nothing in the end.

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Read more VAR rules out Tottenham second before Leicester win from behind

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