Son, Eriksen excel for Tottenham in FA Cup win at Leicester
Can Tottenham combine a top-four challenge in the Premier League with an FA Cup run and possibly an extended Europa League adventure too?
It remains to be seen, but the evidence here was encouraging as a much-changed side triumphed away against high-flying Leicester City to book Spurs' place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino made eight changes to the team that had lined up against Sunderland in the league on Saturday and, while Leicester's side was similarly weakened, his squad men stepped up to the plate to triumph 2-0 in an impressive display in the Midlands.
Heung-Min Son stole the show, breaking the deadlock with a powerful 20-yard strike before dissecting the home side's defence to set up Nacer Chadli's second-half goal. It was the first time the Belgian had found the net since August, and only the second time this season, so that was a boost in itself.
With Christian Eriksen seemingly returning to form and Son and Chadli both on target at the King Power Stadium, the competition for places is increasing in Spurs' front four -- and Michel Vorm, Kevin Wimmer, Nabil Bentaleb and Tom Carroll also made their cases with positive performances.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Michel Vorm, 7 -- Dealt with everything that came his way, making a notable diving save from Demarai Gray, while Marc Albrighton volleyed straight at him late on.
DF Kyle Walker, 8 -- Captain for the night, the right-back led by example with an excellent performance, showing real quality on the ball with intelligent passes and a fine cross which Chadli should have attacked with more conviction.
DF Eric Dier, 7 -- His first pass was intercepted but after that the 22-year-old had a solid and composed game at the centre of the defence and Leicester rarely threatened until the closing stages.
DF Kevin Wimmer, 8 -- Read the game well and made timely interventions, particularly when he cut out a low cross from Gray in the first half, while looking comfortable on the ball again.
DF Ben Davies, 7 -- Defended well and played some good passes down the line while delivering a dangerous deep cross to Erik Lamela in the first half, resulting in a header which went over the bar.
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
MF Nabil Bentaleb, 7 -- Made his first start for Spurs since August and, although there was an early scare when a pass was intercepted deep inside his own half (not for the first time in his fledgling Tottenham career), he quickly became more assured and was a central figure as the visitors dominated possession, while maintaining his discipline in front of the front four.
MF Tom Carroll, 8 -- Moved the ball around well and his quick first-time pass sent Son running at Leicester's defence as the South Korea international opened the scoring.
MF Erik Lamela, 6 -- Headed over from Davies' cross and, although he was involved in the build-up to Son's goal and battled with intensity, the Argentine wasted a good opportunity to free Eriksen in the second half, holding on to the ball too long and then playing a poor pass.
MF Christian Eriksen, 8 -- Another positive performance and his confidence seems to be returning. The Dane looked sharp in his central role, passing the ball precisely between the lines in tight areas while also moving it wide to outmanoeuvre Leicester.
MF Heung-Min Son, 9 -- Looked bright from the start, making effective runs down both channels and threatening around the box before breaking the deadlock with a clinical finish and then setting up Chadli's goal with a defence-splitting through ball.
FW Nacer Chadli, 6 -- Led the line for an hour and it didn't suit him. The Belgian was often too deep to provide a focal point and he was too slow to attack an excellent cross from Walker. It is probably not a coincidence that his goal -- which he finished well -- came shortly after Harry Kane had been introduced and taken the striker's role.
FW Harry Kane, 7 -- Entered the fray on the hour-mark, replacing Lamela, and saw two shots saved by Kasper Schmeichel, while he worked hard as always.
MF Joshua Onomah, NR -- Gave Spurs some fresh legs after replacing Chadli after 73 minutes.
MF Dele Alli, NR-- Came off the bench for the final six minutes and nearly got away down the left touchline, only to be fouled
Ben covers Spurs for Ham & High, the local weekly newspaper for Hampstead and Highgate, and the Hackney Gazette. Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.