The midfielders have caught a lot of slack today, but I thought Walker was absolutely shocking. Could hardly believe what I was watching during some of his mistakes both with the ball, and defending against it.
We were great for the first 30 seconds or so, then it all went downhill. Well actually for the first 15 or so minutes we looked like we might actually stroll through this to a comfortable victory, but after all these year watching Spurs I should have known better. After that we looked absolutely awful to a man, outside of course Lloris who was his typical amazing self and made it possible for us to win, let alone not lose heavily. As did their lack of luck (twice hit the woodwork) and finishing quality.
Lloris - 9.5 Could hardly be any better. If we manage to achieve anything this season, he will be the main reason.
Rest - shit 3, 4, maybe a couple of 5s say to Eriksen for saving us by scoring a solo effort (I suppose the bounce was intentional), and maybe spread a little extra among Lamela, Chadli, and Kane (and whoever passed it very neatly out of the defence to Lamela to start to move, not sure who it was...) for the fluid first goal, which I foolishly thought was going to set the tone of the rest of the match.
Walker was especially awful in all aspects. And I say that having thought up to now that he's made a big (positive) difference since he's been back. Let's generously suppose he's not quite match fit yet.
And let's blame the weather for the rest of the awful performances. We did after all get the 3 points.
Lloris - 9 - Obviously MotM and saved us 3 points with multiple superb saves, positioning and speed; I do wish he had hammered the ball up the pitch less cavalierly when we were having such difficulty retaining possession
Rose - 5 - I'm going to cut both fullbacks more slack than most people, because it was obvious right from the team selection that the tactic was to play two quick attacking fullbacks and pin Leicester's wide players back; for 35 minutes it worked and then sloppiness crept in after Leicester finally started to close down and win the ball in midfield; why Rose insisted on playing the same way after the game changed is perhaps something he should be thinking about; and he drifted into the centre way too often when we were hanging on at the end
Vertonghen - 5.5 - I wasn't as impressed as most, I thought he looked nervous and made some bad decisions when we were under pressure
Fazio - 7.5 - Covered for Vertonghen and looked very assured; no major mental errors for the second game in succession
Walker - 5 - See "Rose" - at least Walker adjusted his positioning a bit when we were being put under constant pressure
Bentaleb - 5 - Largely culpable for Ulloa's goal; having a definite dip in form at the moment and does not work very well with Stambouli
Stambouli - 5.5 - OK, nothing special, but to my surprise we got worse at retaining the ball when Mason replaced him
Lamela - 6 - Some very good moments, but one of the culprits for our lack of ball retention in the second half
Eriksen - 6.5 - Very good first half, very ineffective second half redeemed by the minor matter of winning the match for us - again
Chadli - 5.5 - His assist looked a bit scuffed and the rest of his play was nothing exciting
Kane - 6.5 - Got his goal again, but then contributed more hard work than class
Mason - 5.5 - I thought it was a good substitution when it happened and thought so even more when he made that great (and remarkably quick) run into the box, but it didn't work out that way, becausde he completely failed to exert any control of possession in midfield
Soldado - 5.5 - Didn't really get very involved, but we didn't often have the ball when he was on the pitch, so perhaps that's unsurprising
Paulinho - NET
Leicester clearly deserved to win that match on the balance of 95 minutes' play, but equally they could have been 3-0 down after 35 minutes, they were that limp up to that point. It's another away win that shows that we have individual quality, that we scrap for points, that the players are bloody fit and that we will be open in defence and dependent upon Lloris for as long as we play in Pochettino's style, because for all the rage directed here at individual players, our defence plays like this in part because of the instructions they are given, especially positionally.
I was more concerned about our midfield today. The way we have to prevent our defence being exposed involves vigorous pressing high up the pitch and accurate short passing; instead, Leicester were out-pressing us and we were often pressurised into passing directly to the opposition. Had we not given the ball away roughly 50 times in the second half (a mixture of poor passes (only 74% across the team!), bad judgment when clearing the ball, being caught in possession and lack of hustle), then our defence would not have been subjected to unending pressure.