No change in the starting line up for Leeds against Spurs. Bielsa resists the temptation to change the team that lost so apathetically to Brighton. Koch continues in Philips’ role. Raphina also not put straight back in to the line, only the bench. And Cooper also having to make do with the bench.
Whilst Leeds have the best record for not conceding goals in 2021 in the Premier League Bamford is not getting the service with goals hard to come by recently. Bale is of late finding the net and Leeds defence has a big test with the rejuvenated Spurs team.
Heavy rain before the match has added a little unpredictability to the game. More positive start by Leeds compared to the Brighton game. Roberts and Harrison more involved in getting the ball in to the box – Bamford and Struijk both having good opportunities. Both teams pressing each when playing from the back.
On 13 minutes we saw some skill with Harrison getting behind the Spurs defence with a cross in front of the Spurs keeper that he had to defend an almost own goal for Dallas to pick up the stray ball and plant it into the net. Koch and Klich also worth a positive mention for their start closing down the Spurs midfield.
Bamford’s frustration is shown when he is in the box but Roberts just crosses into a crowded penalty area that Bamford can do nothing about. Ali and Son and Kane open up the Leeds defence on 25 minutes with a clinical finish. Kane pulling a defender away from Son so Ali can pass to Son who has clear sight of goal. Again after the goal Roberts and Bamford fail to link up. Harrison responds with a fine individual effort and shot on goal blocked. And then Koch has a far range shot after a poor keeper punch out of the penalty area.
On the half hour Ali is involved again in a fine cross to Kane who scores but is ruled off side by what appears to be his hand. Leeds are effectively controlling the game with Dallas appearing on the right and crossing to Roberts who is unlucky not to score.
Just before half time Bamford scores his 15th goal of the season. Leeds tore up the Spurs defence with a loose ball picked up by Dallas worked around to Alioski who dribbles into the Spurs penalty and passes to Bamford who slots in between two static Spurs defenders and has the easiest of goals. At the other end of the pitch Meslier has had a fairly quiet first half with not having to make any saves – the ball in the net twice with one ruled off side.
Leeds ended the first half pressing the game into the Spurs penalty box and Spurs relying on counter attacks – and quality ones too looking dangerous.
Spurs started the second half with intent. Kane scoring again but this time a yard off side. Harrison has kept Leeds in the match with some good crosses. On 55 minutes Spurs step up a gear with both Kane and Son having long range shots. That is the sign for Raphinha to come and replace Roberts, who has a good game but struggled to connect.
Spurs were on the rack on 62 minutes as Leeds piled on the pressure around their penalty box culminating in a fine save by the Spurs keeper from Klich. This has not been a game that Bale and Dele Ali have had an impact, and both substituted on 65 minutes.
Meslier had finally to make a save on 70 minutes and a good one too as it deflected off Alioski. And then Harrison is guilty of a nothing foul as he chases a ball that gives Kane a free kick on goal which hits the cross bar. Hopefully that is his day – not going to score. Klich is having a similar day with he then having an opportunity to shoot on goal but gets tackled as he shoots. And then there is Harrison having a similar day skying a shot that half the team had set up for him.
The shots kept coming with Spurs forcing Meslier to make another big save on 77 minutes. Like last week Rodrigo replaced Bamford on 79 minutes. Bamford, having scored, looked happier today with the substitution. So two attacking substitutions as Spurs put pressure on Leeds in the last ten minutes. Leeds’ energy and teamwork kept going and, again, Klich misses another chance.
With all that pressure the Spanish armada killed off Spurs. Spurs, trying to press Leeds left their defence wide open for Raphinha to drive into the box and Rodrigo unmarked hammers the ball into the net. A quick check on the VAR and Rodrigo gives a relieved sign they were both onside from Dier. Phillips makes a cameo appearance with a big smile on 89 minutes to steady the ship in the final minutes. So a different second half with Spurs pressing and Leeds counter attacking
This was a superlative team effort today with the quality of passing and moving to create the opportunities relentless. And a defence led by Llorrente that stood up to Kane, Bale and Son. Leeds have now in 2021 seen off all the top teams with a draw or win. Spurs’ champions League hopes are killed off.
And in extra time Dallas is set up for a shot on target that demands a fine save.
Man of the match: Jack Harrison