José Mourinho was a little curmudgeonly late, complaining about the inability of his Tottenham players to obey on the field orders and ranting about the perceived shortcomings of those in authority, including the late decision to postpone the game against Fulham on Wednesday. The last thing he wanted was the news on the eve of Leeds’ visit that three of his players had flouted the corona rules What went through Sergio Reguilón, Erik Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso’s minds? As his team won for the first time in five Premier League games with a reassuringly steady presence, Mourinho felt the storm clouds lifting, which made all the difference and secured third position in the table. Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Leeds United: Premier League – live! Last Tuesday, Harry Kane was celebrating the birth of his third child. In the 29th minute, he converted a penalty to give the lead to Spurs, before a fine pass helped him to outpace two Leeds defenders and Son Heung-min made it 2-0 with a casual finish. Leeds were broken and the cold truth was that no team could afford to defend as kindly as they did. There was much to appreciate, but after Illan Meslier sent a Toby Alderweireld header into his own net, the second half became a non-event. A stoppage time sending off for Matt Doherty was the only downer for Spurs.
Already warned, Matt Doherty was late with replacement Pablo Hernández in a one-on-one with a misjudgment that summed up his stuttering start to life at Spurs. Leeds made the run from the beginning, moving forward, defenders with the ball at their feet and determined to find spaces in the final third.
With his runs out of central defense, it was a beautiful sight to see Luke Ayling take risks, and it’s a small sign of the company of the team that their left-back Ezgjan Alioski wears the jersey number 10. Leeds had a few chances of taking the lead halfway through the first half, but none of them on 23 minutes were better than Patrick Bamford’s header.
After Doherty’s cover melted away and was perfectly played in by Raphinha, on 23 minutes, Patrick Bamford was alone in the penalty area, but his shot missed. The downside of the Leeds credo of Marcelo Bielsa is that defence errors are being made. They were too imprecise in their passing twice and paid for it the third time.
On the edge of the box, Meslier played a pass directly to Harry Winks, who played the ball back to Stephen Bergwijn. Alioski, who played Bergwijn clumsily, committed the greatest mistake. At Christmas party, Tottenham fined three players for violating Covid law. Continue reading The shot of Kane from the penalty spot was usually lethal.
Through Kane and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Spurs had flickers; the former, from an acute angle, fired high, the latter straight at Meslier. Leeds, especially in one-on-one situations, were much too lax defensively.
Twice, Spurs got behind the defense, first when Højbjerg beat Alioski too easily and took off for Alderweireld, whose shot had been blocked, and then when Ben Davies beat Raphinha too easily. Tanguy Ndombele had a perfect opportunity to head the ball high from a Ben Davies header, but Mourinho was swearing in the dressing room.
For his squad, failure to convert 1-0 into 2-0 was a problem, but not this time. With a degree of comfort that had to offend Bielsa, Højbjerg won the ball and when he found Kane, the striker’s pass to Son was a beauty. In Leeds’ opening stages, Alioski had played an important part, as had left winger Jack Harrison. The two combined, as they switched positions, Alioski reaching the outside of the net and Harrison saved a shot from Doherty.
In the 42nd minute, Leeds had a shot blocked by Harrison that was set too far, and Meslier still didn’t have his best day. He steered a shot from Ndombele around the post for a corner early in the second half, but when Son forced the ball over the line and Alderweireld got to the ball before Kalvin Phillips nodded it into the net, it was the prelude to a moment of terror.
Meslier had the ball in his hands, but he held it over the line as he stumbled back towards his own goal. His effort at the last moment to throw the ball away was in vain. The referee, David Coote, felt that the goal-line technology alerted them. Spurs were able to celebrate and for a while they cut through Leeds at will. Kane only reached the outer net, Son missed the final throw, and