a dying Leeds.
With a trip to a club on a bad run, one that saw questions about a beloved manager’s position being asked,, for most it could have one outcome for Spurs, but no, Leeds were in too much of a free-fall for Spurs to save them.
When you’re down and heading out you just don’t get the breaks. Marcelo Bielsa paid the price for a bad run culminating in the four nil defeat to Spurs but it could have been different. Leeds could quite easily have come away from the game with a point or even three.
Spurs do like a bit of open space and you certainly got that with Bielsa’s Leeds. With their high line and press, there was so much space for the Spurs players who are adept at exploiting it and even for those that aren’t that good.
Leeds could have been ahead by the time the first goal, 10 minutes in. They had an excellent chance from a free-kick out wide. But with all that space even Winks could kick the ball forward and find a Spurs player. As with most of Spurs good play this season, it’s been at pace, going forward and one touch stuff. Sessegnon played the cross first time and Doherty on the other wing put it in. It’s what he did so well for Wolves, what made him look like a bargain at the price Spurs paid.
The Irishman’s first goal for the club, in all competitions. Sessegnon has started the last four games, while Doherty four of the last seven. Has Conte decided on his wingbacks for the rest of the season? Of course they won’t meet that much space in most games.
The second came five minutes later from one of the new boys, who is making himself well loved. Kulusevski has started the last three games, finished them as well, from being trapped in the corner, he worked his way out, a one-two with Doherty he was then in the box, with Kane screaming for the ball the Swede smacked it inside the near post. He’s all left foot, he’s got some fight, a bit of shithousery and he could be the new Lamela, except fans will take to him more than the Argentine. Two goals and one assist in those three games, maybe a bit more end product than Coco as well.
Not long after the game was over with Spurs’ third. From halfway inside the Leeds’ half Hojbjerg lifted a beautiful ball over the Leeds backline, right onto Kane’s left foot.
By then though Leeds could have been level with that early chance and then hitting the post. And it just showed that it wasn’t going to be Leeds’ day. Look at all the goals Spurs have conceded this season that have come off one of their own players, yet here the ball ricochets off the post and just by Hugo, when it could quite easily have hit him and gone in the net. When you’re on the downward spiral, you can’t buy a bit of luck.
With Leeds so open though Spurs also had chances to extend the lead it did take them until five minutes from full time to do so. Kane and Son, record breakers, because well records were invented in 1992. As they passed Lampard and Drogba for the most combined goals/assists in the Premier League.
But before that again, Leeds could have scored and with the other missed chances it could have been all square. Yet again Hugo had a Barry Daines moment. As posted previously at times Lloris has been Pat Jennings and then morphed into Howler Daines. Like Daines against Mansfield in 1978 – see the video – Hugo came flying out of his box and made a mess of the clearance. Unlike Daines, he didn’t pay the price as Dallas hesitated and messed up the chance. James then missed the target when he should have done better. When you’re down it just doesn’t go for you.
Then Kane, inside his own half, pinged a ball over the Leeds’ defence to Son. Now the Korean hadn’t had the best of games, Leeds did seem to be man marking him, but he was of a dither, taking too many touches and butchering his chances. Chest down and bang and that “record” in theirs.
Leeds got a bit Revie in the second half with some bad challenges. Conte wasn’t happy, seeing a yellow card for his complaints.
So it could have been more dropped points, it was a thumping three points but poor Leeds, as they become the first team to fail to score when Winks has started a league game for Spurs.
There’s always a newly promoted team that starts the season looking good then drops, that’s Brentford. Just recently there’s been a trend for a Yorkshire side to get back into the top flight, take the league a bit by storm in the first season staying up and then fading in that difficult second season. Huddersfield, Sheffield United and now it looks like it’s the turn of Leeds. And the three of them have something else in common apart from location. They generally have a large number of the players that got them up from the Championship, when they head back down.
Bielsa normally doesn’t last as long at a club as he had at Leeds. There’s a burn out of the same players doing the same thing and as with one of disciples, Poch, if there isn’t the turnover of players it goes stale no matter how much they love their manager and what he’s done for them. And those players know what he’s done for them and how much he missed them. Bamford was going to be a journeyman lower league player, last season he scored 17 and had 11 assists in the top flight. He’s played 22 minutes of league football since the middle of September. While the Argentine made Phillips into an England player – I know that sounds like faint praise but it’s not meant to. He’s two players in one, commanding that midfield for Leeds he creates and stops. He’s been out since mid December and in that time Leeds haven’t kept a clean sheet in 11 games, shipping 38 goals. Add in their defensive leader in Cooper who also hasn’t played since December and they’re big losses for a club. Bielsa leaves with I would imagine universal support from the Leeds fans who’ve lived through some dark times of late, he’ll be up there with Revie for some.
But when you’re down and Dr. Tottenham comes a calling and it doesn’t get you back up on your feet… then you’re in big trouble… you’re down and out…