Wilfred Ndidi Stars in Leicester's Impressive Win Over Tottenham

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Dec 20, 2020, 5:00 PM GMT
Ndidi was back to his best in north London
Ndidi was back to his best in north London | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Going into their game against Tottenham, the omens were not good for Leicester.

Spurs were tipped as genuine Premier League title contenders, Brendan Rodgers had never beaten Jose Mourinho is his managerial career, and the Foxes were without an away win over their opponents since 2016.

Despite all of this, Leicester still managed to add another name to their ever growing list of high profile, recent victims, securing a well deserved 2-0 victory. Jamie Vardy grabbed the first from the spot just before half time, capitalising fully on Serge Aurier's trademark, brainless shove. Vardy was involved for the second as well, with his header deflecting in off Toby Alderweireld after James Maddison had one chalked off for offside.

Vardy impressed against Spurs
Vardy impressed against Spurs | Julian Finney/Getty Images

This means Rodgers has now masterminded away victories over Manchester City, Leeds, Arsenal and Spurs so far this season. The result was even good enough to move them up to second - above big spending Chelsea, 'title challengers' Manchester City and several other more fancied sides.

However, this was a different type of victory to the ones that came before. Unlike their previous wins on the road, Leicester were far more positive in north London. Against City and Leeds they registered a measly 28% and 33% possession respectively, relying on a disciplined low block and swift counter attacking to get the wins.

Against fellow counter-attack enthusiasts Spurs though, space in behind was at a premium, forcing Leicester to play further up the pitch. Of course, this came with its own problems. Namely, the scary prospect of leaving space in behind for Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to run riot.

Fortunately, this problem was mitigated by the imperious display of Wilfred Ndidi. He was the lynchpin in Leicester's victory, strangling the Spurs midfield and adding composure to his side's performance.

Many feared the worst when Ndidi was ruled back in September and, sure enough, four of Leicester's five Premier League defeats this season have come when he was on the sidelines.

The other loss - last week against Everton - came when the Nigerian had to fill in at centre back, a role that he did not have to carry out on Sunday thanks to the return of the similarly impressive Timothy Castagne.

Castagne and Ndidi combine to dispossess Moussa Sissoko
Castagne and Ndidi combine to dispossess Moussa Sissoko | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Back in his favoured position, Ndidi had a excellent first half. Hoovering up possession between the lines, he constantly nullified Spurs' threat on the counter. By half time he had registered three tackles - with a 100% success rate - two interceptions and a block.

In possession he also impressed. He did not misplace a single pass, keeping things simple while still progressing the ball when he could.

HIs display was a stark reminder of what Leicester have been missing. While Nampalys Mendy has done admirably in his stead, he is nowhere near as mobile nor destructive. With Ndidi in the side, Leicester look so much more solid and are also more confident expressing themselves going forward.

Leicester were delighted after the final whistle
Leicester were delighted after the final whistle | Julian Finney/Getty Images

After Leicester went 2-0 up Ndidi's role changed slightly, as he dropped into his side's deep block. However, he was no less impressive, registering a game high five clearances.

At times last season, he was being talked about as one of the world's best defensive midfielders. Performance like this remind us why. With their talisman back firing and plenty more players still to return from injury, do not be surprised to see Leicester continue to defy the odds this season.