Three things we learned from Leeds - Tottenham
Leeds - Tottenham was an open, entertaining clash and the home side eased to victory at Elland Road to all but end Spurs’ top four hopes.
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Stuart Dallas put Leeds ahead but Heung-min Son equalized for Tottenham in a topsy-turvy first half, but then Patrick Bamford scored before the break and Rodrigo sealed the win late on.
With the victory, Leeds move into ninth place on 50 points. Tottenham stay in sixth on 56 points and are set to lose more ground in their unlikely top four bid.
Three things we learned
1. Leeds prove they belong: They are the first PL team since West Ham in 2015-16 to go unbeaten at home during a season against the so-called ‘big six’ and Leeds’ return to the Premier League has been above what everyone expected. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have got better as the season has gone on, and they ruthlessly exposed Spurs on the counter and out wide as they dominated one-on-one battles. On this showing, Leeds can push for a top six finish next season and they could finish very close to the top six this season. The key next season will be changing their style a little and adding more quality in the transfer window. They can do that and Leeds are the real deal.
2. Shambolic defending costs Spurs: As good as Leeds were, this was woeful from Spurs. Their defense made clangers galore throughout and on the first two goals basic defensive errors were costly. Failing to stop crosses plagued Spurs as Aurier had a torrid time and both Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld were dragged out of position on numerous occasions. Maybe Mourinho had a point when he kept blaming defensive mistakes on individuals rather than his tactics...
3. Kane carrying an injury: He looked a shadow of himself and even though he scored what looked like a perfectly good goal in the first half to put Spurs ahead (VAR confirmed it was just, just offside) and hit the crossbar with a free kick, Kane doesn’t look fully fit. This happens to him every single season. Spurs rely so heavily on Kane that he runs himself into the ground, injures himself in the spring and will then carry this knock throughout the summer and the England national team will suffer. Questions will be raised about Kane’s future at Spurs all summer long and although you can’t question his commitment to the cause, now is surely the right time for him to push for a move away.
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison - Brilliant down the left flank and involved in everything good that Leeds did.
A lively encounter got going early on as Bamford was denied at one end, and Spurs were dangerous at the other.
Leeds took the lead after a great cross from Jack Harrison caught out the entire Spurs defense and Sergio Reguilon almost scored an own goal but Hugo Lloris saved, however Dallas was on hand to slam home.
Spurs reacted well to going behind as Bale went close, then Dele Alli majestically flicked through a ball for the onrushing Son who slotted home.
Harry Kane then had a goal rule out for offside, which was incredibly tight, while at the other end Leeds whipped in dangerous crosses galore that Tottenham struggled to cope with.
Leeds regained the lead before half time as Spurs failed to clear properly and Alioski crossed for Bamford to tap home.
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Kane had a chance early in the second half and then Son slammed a shot into the side-netting, as Tottenham flew out of the traps after half time.
Lloris did superbly to deny Mateusz Klich as Leeds were a threat on the break as Tottenham poured forward in search of an equalizer.
Illan Meslier made a magnificent stop at the other end to deny Serge Aurier’s deflected shot and moments later Kane smashed the bar with a free kick.
Meslier then denied substitute Erik Lamela as Tottenham pinned Leeds back late on.
But Raphinha, who was excellent after he came off the bench, set up the clincher as he raced free, beat the offside trap and set up Rodrigo to slot home.