Dec 8 (Reuters) - - Tottenham Hotspur moved back into third place in the Premier League after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Having seen Chelsea and Arsenal climb above them in the day’s earlier games, Tottenham knew anything other than three points would see them finish the weekend outside the top four.
With their crucial clash away to Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday, manager Mauricio Pochettino started with Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen on the bench, but Son Heung-min stepped up to the mark with a wonderful left-footed opener on the stroke of halftime.
Leicester struggled to muster anything in reply, with Dele Alli making sure of the win in the 58th minute, heading past Kasper Schmeichel from Son’s cross for his 50th Tottenham goal.
The visitors could even afford to bring Kane on for a run out, but the England striker — who had scored 13 goals in his previous 11 appearances against Leicester in all competitions — could not add to his personal tally.
Tottenham’s fifth victory in six league games, and eighth on the road, moved them to within six points of leaders Liverpool and five behind champions Manchester City. They have 36 points with Chelsea and Arsenal on 34.
Leicester are ninth after a first defeat in seven league games.
“I’m very happy with the performance,” Pochettino said. “It allows us to think about Barcelona. The three points are massive and to keep our position in the table it’s a massive win.”
The hosts were also without their talisman Jamie Vardy, and his absence was noticable as Leicester did not muster a single shot on target in the first half.
Some last-ditch Leicester defending had kept Spurs at bay until Son cut in from the right on his left foot and whipped a sublime curling shot that gave Schmeichel no chance.
Schmeichel then had to be at his best to deny Alli from close range, before the England international made no mistake from even closer in, heading Son’s pinpoint cross into the net, although there was a suggestion he was fractionally offside.
It was job done for Spurs after that, as they took their points tally to 36 — their best-ever start to a Premier League season.
On Tuesday they need to win away at Barcelona to guarantee a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Reporting by Peter Hall; editing by Martyn Herman