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Three talking points as Leicester City stunned Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power

Rob Meech

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Leicester City withstood a late bombardment to register a superb victory at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

Jamie Vardy had given the Foxes an early lead thanks to an audacious finish, before Riyad Mahrez doubled their advantage with an equally fine effort in first-half stoppage-time.

Spurs rallied in the second period and halved the arrears through talismanic striker Harry Kane, but they were unable to find an equaliser despite creating numerous opportunities.

This result keeps Tottenham outside the Premier League’s top four, while Leicester continue their resurgence and climb to ninth.

Here are three talking points from an eventful night under the King Power Stadium floodlights…

Leicester’s key players hit form at the right time

The Foxes’ fall from grace since winning the Premier League resulted in the sacking of Claudio Ranieri last season and the departure of key figures including N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater.

Two players that have remained at the East Midlands outfit despite interest from other clubs are Vardy and Mahrez, both of whom were key to their miraculous title triumph.

After a prolonged quiet period, they are getting back to their best again. Both were on the scoresheet against Spurs, with goals that were worthy of winning any game of football.

Vardy showed tremendous skill to volley a through ball, which had dropped over his shoulder, past Hugo Lloris, before Mahrez netted with a trademark effort, cutting inside from the right and bending an unstoppable strike into the top corner.

For Leicester fans, it was like 2015/16 all over again.

Tottenham suffering their first real blip under Mauricio Pochettino

It is now just one win in their past five Premier League matches for Spurs, who are failing to meet the standards they set last season.

Having pushed champions Chelsea so close in the title race, supporters had hoped they would be able to go one step further this time. However, despite a successful Champions League adventure thus far, Tottenham’s domestic form has taken a turn for the worse.

Inconsistent at their temporary headquarters of Wembley Stadium, Pochettino’s men are also slipping up on their travels. This is their third consecutive away defeat and one which leaves them outside the top four.

Playing in Europe appears to have taken its toll on the squad, with too many key players struggling for form and fitness.

There is no doubt Pochettino is among the best managers in the world, but he faces a challenge to galvanise his players.

Claude Puel’s appointment has had the desired effect

He has been in charge for only a month, but Claude Puel has already had a significant impact at Leicester. From his five matches in charge, the Foxes have claimed eight points, losing only to Manchester City.

This victory over a quality Tottenham outfit was further indication of the big strides they have made under the Frenchman.

Dismissed by Southampton in the summer despite having guided the club to eighth place in the Premier League and the final of the League Cup, Puel was a surprise appointment to many at Leicester.

However, he has had the desired effect; organising the Foxes defensively and getting the best out of their most creative players, particularly Mahrez, who had become marginalised under Craig ex-boss Shakespeare.

It is only the start of his reign, but the signs are promising that Puel and Leicester may be an ideal fit.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Leicester City

Who is Leicester City’s new signing, Ricardo Pereira?

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Photo: Getty Images.

He may come to the Premier League as a regular in a league winning side set to travel to the World Cup as a Champions League regular, but few had heard of Porto full-back Ricardo Pereira when it was announced that terms have been agreed for him to join Leicester City.

The deal was confirmed on the club’s official website as the 24-year-old put pen to paper on a five year contract which will be confirmed on June 9th, when the international transfer window opens.

Yet, those who know Pereira well will not be surprised. The right-back was Claude Puel’s undisputed first choice at OGC Nice during his spell in France and was one of the first names on the current Leicester boss’ team-sheet week in, week out.

(Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Then, Pereira was deployed as both a right-back and a left-back, with his versatility being one of his biggest strengths in the eyes of Puel. Since then, he has added another dimension to his game, improving his attacking play and featuring in a more advanced role in midfield and even as a forward on the right hand side for Porto.

The Portuguese side have relied on the number 21 as they returned to the top of Liga NOS this season and his fine form has earned him a spot in his national team, adding to his two caps from 2015 with another in November and then being selected ahead of Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo for Fernando Santos’ World Cup squad to travel to Russia.

A strong dribbler who likes to overlap down the flank, he is a clear upgrade on Danny Simpson provided he can rapidly adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League.

With a WhoScored rating of 7.59 in 2017/18, Pereira is one of the most highly rated full-backs in Europe and possessed some of the best statistical returns in the world in his position. His signing for the Foxes represents a step in the right direction in the club’s quest to return to European football.

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Leicester City

Leicester City will hope Kelechi Iheanacho can live up to price-tag next season

The Nigerian striker still has to prove himself at Leicester City.

Mathew Coull

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Leicester City played out a scintillating final game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, losing 5-4 at Wembley in a game where defending appeared to be abandoned. One of the highlights of the game was a magnificent strike from Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho. He picked up the ball from 25 yards out and fired a rasping left-footed drive into the top corner of Hugo Lloris’ goal. It was, simply unstoppable.

For Leicester fans, it was probably just as frustrating as it was pulsating to see this strike go in. Because every Foxes fan is acutely aware that this is what the Nigerian is capable of, yet he struggles to do it on a regular basis.

(Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

In August last year, Leicester beat off a host of competition to sign the striker from Manchester City. According to ESPN, the Nigerian set the club back £25 million. But it was an investment in what is clear talent.

The former wonderkid had shown in his brief appearances for Manchester City and with the Nigeria senior team that he is a ruthless finisher in front of goal. If given chances, surely he would be a lethal Premier League striker.

But his application is often not at the right level. This season, Iheanacho managed just three goals in 21 Premier League appearances.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Yet this strike against Tottenham highlighted the fact Leicester have a potential star on their hands. He was brilliant in the Foxes FA Cup campaign, with four goals in five games. This summer he will lead the line for Nigeria at the World Cup and has a fine record with the Super Eagles.

Leicester paid £25 million for a player they hope can become a top talent. Incidentally, the 21-year-old’s middle name is ‘Promise’. If he can deliver on that next season, Leicester’s investment will not be in vain.

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Does Arsenal win justify stay for Claude Puel at Leicester?

Josh Kerr

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Claude Puel
Photo: Getty Images

Claude Puel helped Leicester secure their first win over Arsenal in 24-years on Wednesday night to round off their home campaign in spectacular fashion.

However, does the win do enough to justify why the Frenchman should stay at King Power for next season?

The Foxes ended a miserable run of five games without a win and six at the King Power Stadium by inflicting a first-ever defeat to the Gunners.

The victory, courtesy of goals from Kelechi Iheanacho, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, ensured Puel’s side now cannot finish lower than ninth.

After the win, Puel dedicated the final home game of the season to his Leicester supporters, despite many fans wanting a change of management in the East Midlands.

Puel took over from Leicester with the Foxes sitting third from the bottom – a position that had resulted in the sacking of Craig Shakespeare back in October.

Puel was a breath of fresh air for the former Premier League champions and got them quickly flying up the league table.

However, his poor form in recent weeks has also seen fans unhappy with his unimaginative style of play, and some have called for their fourth managerial change in just over a year.

The current Leicester boss found himself in an almost identical position last season when he was sacked by Southampton on the final day of the season, despite guiding the team to an impressive 8th place finish.

It comes as a cruel reminder to Puel that wins just aren’t enough in the modern game. Fans still want to see their team playing a positive brand of football that lifts them off their seats each weekend.

Puel’s obsession with results had clearly upset the Leicester dressing room, who looked jaded and unimpressed with the manager’s tactics in recent weeks, but Wednesday’s win may inspire the board to keep the 56-year-old in charge of the Foxes for next season.

Leicester can’t afford to keep going through managers and Puel’s style may not be the most imaginative, but the former Saints manager has dragged them up the table dramatically when they looked a serious contender for the drop just months ago.

The supporters need only look to Burnley for inspiration, with the Clarets recording a stunning seventh place finish that has secured them European football for next season.

Puel has an 8th and 9th place finish on his managerial CV, and supporters should be delighted with the progress made since his appointment back in October.

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