Spurs D L L D
Leeds W L W W
Leeds unchanged. Naill Huggins and Charlie Creswell replace Tyler Roberts and Leif Davis on the bench.
Spurs: Sergio Reguilon is dropped to the bench while Erik Lamela is missing altogether from Tottenham's squad after the pair's Christmas Covid breach - Giovani Lo Celso is absent too, but is nursing a hamstring injury.
Steven Bergwijn comes in for the left-back as Spurs revert to a 4-3-3. Davinson Sanchez is the other name to drop out from the draw at Wolves, with Toby Alderweireld replacing him.
Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling (C), Struijk, Dallas, Phillips, Alioski, Klich, Harrison, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Bamford. Subs: Casilla, Poveda, Costa, Hernandez, Cresswell, Shackleton, Jenkins, Casey,
Leeds suffered a 3-0 defeat at Spurs but it’s another game that most United fans will be saying “what if” because of the chances created but once again were spurned and once the hosts were ahead there was only going to be one winner.
The London hoodoo unfortunately continues, it’s December 2017 since they last won in the capital.
Leeds started impressively and should have been 1-0 up through Mat Klich who had recovered from a knock against West Brom but he put his effort well over. Soon after Bamford could and should have Leeds in front after 22 minutes. Raphinha checked back and put a cross over to the far side. Unfortunately for United Bamford, unmarked put his header over the bar from 12 yards. A bad miss by United’s top scorer.
Jack Harrison then found himself in acres of space just outside of the area but his effort sailed over the bar as Leeds continued their struggle to capitalise on chances.
As in most games against the teams against to top teams in this league missed chances will cost you and it did. With nearly 30 minutes played Ejanni Alioski’s clumsy challenge on Bergwijn looked just outside the box but the referee awarded a penalty, there was a VAR review but the penalty award stood and Kane put the penalty down the middle of the goal as Meslier dived to the right. It was rough justice for Leeds.
Song made it two just minutes before the break with a sublime finish after a good Spurs move had presented him with the opportunity. It was the 100th goal the South Korean had scored for the ‘Lillywhites’. 2-0 at the break.
In the second half Alderwierald made it three after 50 minutes when he beat Kalvin Phillips at the near post to head in a corner, Meslier got two hands to the ball but it squirmed over his hands and just crossed the line to give Spurs an unasalable lead.
Leeds brought on Poveda, Hernandez and Shackleton for Harrison, Rodrigo and Alioski as they tried to get at least a goal for their efforts but although they never gave in the final ball wasn’t good enough. They did have another opportunity provided by Raphinha but it was spurned by Bamford when again he was in a great position, his header dropping into the grateful hands of Loris. It just wasn’t the Leeds’ striker’s day.
Docherty of Spurs, who had been booked earlier made a clumsyish challenge on Hernandez in injury time was given a second yellow, then a red card much to the annoyance of his manager Jose Mourinho. The defender will obviously be on the end of a talking to by ‘the special one’
Six points out of 12 isn’t a bad return for the festive period and the start of the New Year considering they have played both Man U and Spurs on their travels. It has to be said though the difference in standard of footballer when the hosts were ahead was clearly there for all to see.
Spurs had two ‘deadly’ strikers while Leeds haven’t. It might seem very harsh to say but whatever level you play at you need to take your chances when the come your way, especially in the Premier League.
Leeds stand out players. Raphinha had a decent game as did my MOTM Luke Ayling. Illan Meslier, despite a few problems with his distribution kept the score to three.
Jose Mourinho: “The three points are very important, by the strategy point of view we understood well how Leeds could hurt us and how we could hurt them.
“In that aspect I am happy, but I still think we can and we have to do better. The understanding is very good, against Leeds it was very important to have mobility because if you stay static, you give them an easy job.
“Son and Harry are doing special things. I want goals coming from other players, I want other players to feel they can express themselves. Today we had Toby too, but other players in positions to score too, Hojbjerg, Ndombele and Bergwijn."
Marcelo Bielsa: "We had moments in the game, and in general the first half was good. It was better in the initial 30 minutes and more even in the final 15 minutes of the first half.
“The beginning of the second half was our worst moment in the game. And in the end, it was again positive. There are two aspects that unbalanced the game. The opponents' forwards were very damaging and difficult to contain.
“We made some unforced errors which facilitated their attack but we had good offensive production. What we needed to do was not lose the ball in our own half."
Possession: 36%-64% Shots: 20-18
On-Target: 7-5 Succ. Passes: 253-494
Final Third Passes: 71-98 xG: 2.5 - 3.1
Chances Created 13-14
Big Chances Created: 3-1 Take-Ons: 18-12
Recoveries: 61-78 Interceptions: 10-14
Possession Lost: 134-156 Duels Won: 68-55
Thanks to LUFCDATA.
By Keith Ingham