Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of securing a Premier League top-four finish suffered another blow as they were thrashed 4-1 at rampant Leicester City despite taking the lead on Saturday.
Looking to build on their win over champions Manchester City last weekend, and chasing a fourth successive victory in all competitions, Spurs carved out an early advantage at the King Power Stadium through Rodrigo Bentancur’s close-range finish.
The hosts quickly turned the match on its head, however, with Nampalys Mendy hammering home an equaliser in the 23rd minute before James Maddison’s second goal in as many games completed the turnaround two minutes later.
Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho added a third in first-half stoppage time to extend Leicester’s lead, with the timing of that strike seemingly killing off Spurs’ hopes of getting anything from the contest.
The visitors offered very little in attack after the break, with Harvey Barnes adding a fine fourth nine minutes from time, securing Leicester a third straight win in all competitions to move them up to 13th in the table on 24 points from 22 games.
Spurs remain fifth with 39 points from 23 matches, one point off the Champions League places but having played two games more than Newcastle United in fourth, with Eddie Howe’s side in action against Bournemouth later on Saturday.
With Tottenham manager Antonio Conte back in the dugout after missing last Sunday’s visit of Manchester City following gallbladder surgery, the Italian will have been pleased with his team’s start.
Back-to-back league wins had kept Spurs in touch with the top four, with Bentancur’s finish from a corner after 14 minutes giving them hope of climbing into fourth spot.
But Mendy’s bolt from the blue, his first goal for Leicester, restored parity before a defensive error let in Iheanacho, who squared for Maddison to slot home.
The England international has scored in each of his last three league appearances against Tottenham.
Leicester’s third was aided by more slack Spurs defending, as Eric Dier stood off Iheanacho, allowing the Nigerian to pick his spot past goalkeeper Fraser Forster, standing in for injured captain Hugo Lloris.
Harvey Barnes thought he had added a third in the 70th minute but saw his slotted finish, after another Spurs defensive error, ruled out for offside following a VAR review.
The winger was not to be denied, however, as he finished well late on to cap a miserable afternoon for the visitors.
There have now been 128 goals in 34 Premier League matches between Leicester and Tottenham, with the average of 3.8 per game the highest ratio of fixtures played more than 20 times.