Leicester edge closer to title as Tottenham draw with West Brom
Craig Dawson made amends for an own goal by scoring to earn West Brom a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane on Monday, putting a huge dent in Tottenham’s hopes of Premier League glory and moving Leicester City to within one win of the title.
For the second week in succession, Spurs were playing more than 24 hours after Leicester, this time having seen their rivals thump Swansea City 4-0 on Sunday.
Needing a win to close back to within five points of the Foxes, Spurs took the lead when Dawson diverted Christian Eriksen’s dangerous free-kick through the legs of Boaz Myhill from close range in the first half.
The hosts had already struck the woodwork twice before that opener, and did so for a third time in the second period through Erik Lamela as the Spurs faithful grew increasingly edgy.
And those nerves soon turned to despair as Dawson recovered from his own goal by heading home Craig Gardner’s corner 17 minutes from time.
The draw means Leicester can now seal the most remarkable of Premier League crowns by winning at the home of 13-time champions Manchester United on Sunday while Spurs, not in action until they visit Chelsea on Monday, will have to hope for a favour from Louis van Gaal’s men.
Myhill was in for Ben Foster as one of four West Brom changes and the goalkeeper was forced into two excellent saves inside the opening seven minutes.
First, he got down to his right to touch Eriksen’s free-kick behind and then, following great link-up play between Dele Alli and Harry Kane, a fine save onto the inside of the post denied the latter what looked a certain goal.
Another Eriksen free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar and Kane’s low 20-yard drive was parried by Myhill as Spurs dominated the opening 20 minutes.
And their pressure paid off in the 33rd minute as Eriksen swung in a devilish set-piece from the right and, under severe pressure from Jan Vertonghen, Dawson could only bundle the ball into his own net as he attempted to stoop and head away.
The visitors showed more of an attacking threat in the early stages of the second period, although it was Spurs who went closest to a second goal just before the hour.
Eriksen broke free down the left and cut the ball back for Lamela, whose first-time effort struck the base of the right-hand post.
Perhaps buoyed by their good fortune, West Brom carved out their first real chance five minutes later as Salomon Rondon leapt highest to meet Gardner’s cross but planted his header wide.
The Venezuelan then saw a rasping effort tipped over by Hugo Lloris and, from the resulting corner, Dawson beat the Spurs keeper to the ball and nodded in from six yards.
There was further cause for concern for Spurs – and England – as Eric Dier was forced off with an injury picked up in attempting to challenge Dawson for the goal, and Stephane Sessegnon fired into the side netting with four minutes to go as West Brom threatened a shock win.
An increasingly desperate Tottenham pushed for the winner, but they were left frustrated as Leicester edged ever closer to a stunning triumph.
Key Opta stats:
-Craig Dawson was the fourth player this season to score a goal and an own goal in the same Premier League game (after Troy Deeney, Olivier Giroud and John Terry).
-Dawson became the first player to do this for West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. -Spurs attempted just two shots on target in this game – their lowest figure in a PL match at White Hart Lane since October 2014 (two v Newcastle). -Spurs didn’t attempt a shot on target in this match after the 20th minute. -This was only the third time this season in the Premier League that Spurs have attempted fewer shots on target than their opponent in a match and the first time at White Hart Lane. -West Brom’s starting XI had an average age of 30 years, 106 days – the eighth occasion this season that a team has named a starting XI averaging older than 30 years old in the Premier League. Seven of these have been by Tony Pulis’ team (the other was Watford).