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Spurs v Leeds, 02.01.21

PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 2ND JANUARY, 2021
(12.30pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2) LEEDS UNITED 0(0)

Scorers:-
Kane (pen), 29
Son, 43
Alderweireld, 50

Attendance:- 0

Referee:- David Coote
Assistants:- Lee Betts, Nick Hopton
Fourth official:- Graham Scott
VAR:- Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR:- Matthew Wilkes.

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-1-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Hojbjerg, Winks (sub Sissoko, 76); Ndombele (sub Lucas Moura, 78); Bergwijn, Kane (sub Vinicius, 87), Son

Subs not used:- Hart; Rodon, Tanganga, Reguilon; Dele, Gedson

Booked:- Winks (Dissent), Doherty (foul on Ayling), Hojbjerg (foul on Hernandez)

Sent off:- Doherty (second yellow – foul on Hernandez), (90+2)

Leeds (4-1-4-1):- Meslier; Dallas, Ayling (Capt.), Struijk, Alioski (sub Shackleton, 64); Phillips; Raphinha, Rodrigo (sub Hernandez, 65), Klich, Harrison (sub Poveda, 61); Bamford

Subs not used:- Casilla; Cresswell, Casey; Helder Costa, Jenkins; Huggins

Booked:- Phillips (foul on Vinicius)

Spurs win in positive fashion

Spurs moved back into the top four with a positive win over a typically intense attacking Leeds side. The players on the field reflect the intensity of their iconic manager whose pacing within his technical area is usually the focus of TV cameras for so much of any game. The nature of this game, action-filled and entertaining, did not allow those cameras to linger too often on the man with the bucket, who is also the man who had so much influence upon our former manager Mauricio Pochettino, along with others in the last 30 years from Argentina and across the footballing world. Incidentally, Pochettino has today been confirmed as the new manager of PSG, as anticipated following the departure of Thomas Tuchel.

Spurs showed today they can go toe-to-toe with the best of teams, which only serves to exacerbate some of our recent disappointing negative performances. In truth, despite Leeds' attacking tendencies, Hugo Lloris did not have to make a meaningful save and he was protected by some sharp defending. The highlight for Spurs was Heung-min Son’s 100th club goal, made by Harry Kane (of course), who had already scored from the penalty spot.

There was no sign of Erik Lamela in the Spurs squad. He and other Argentineans including Lo Celso had been shown on social media in a Christmas gathering of at least 19 people clearly in breach of the current Covid regulations. West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini was one of that number. Sergio Reguilon was also present. Rumour had it that both Lamela and Lo Celso had since tested positive. Lo Celso is injured anyway. Sergio Reguilon made it to the Spurs bench. The club have indicated they will be taking disciplinary action against our players. I personally think they are selfish clowns, and that they deserve the harshest of sanction, no matter their value to our squad. Most of us have made great sacrifices regarding contact with family and friends alike throughout this pandemic crisis.

Serge Aurier was also absent from the 20-man squad. Bearing in mind the one match suspension now due for Matt Doherty, who was shown a second yellow card in added time, we must hope that absence was the manager’s choice and not through injury. The Leeds side was unchanged from that which thrashed lowly West Brom earlier this week.

Leeds kicked off and played towards the South Stand. They had a shot on goal after three minutes when Klich passed from a central area to Alioski on the left. Alioski’s shot hit the side netting. Leeds were bossing the early possession and after coming off the better against Doherty Jack Harrison lifted a short cross to Klich, whose shot was lifted way over the target.

Spurs won a corner after 11 minutes when Dier cleared to Bergwijn who in turn passed to Son who won the corner. Davies took this and Meslier held the ball. Five minutes later after a Spurs free kick, Kane passed to Son to his left just inside the area. Sonny passed back to Kane who made space for a left foot shot but hit the ball over the bar. Spurs had a short spell of pressure in and around the Leeds area and after a pass by Bergwijn Hojbjerg his a shot straight at the Leeds keeper. As an example of Spurs’ positive play Hojbjerg regularly turned up in and around the Leeds area, sometimes along the bye-line too.

Following a poor pass inside the Leeds area by Doherty, the visitors attacked and Raphinha’s cross from the right was headed over by Bamford, who has been so prolific this season especially away from home.

Spurs won a penalty after 27 minutes. Harry Winks had passed forward to Bergwijn who was fouled by Alioski on the very edge of the box. Referee David Coote pointed to the spot. VAR reviewed and agreed with the decision. Harry Kane made no mistake with a powerfully driven shot down the middle with Meslier having dived to his right. Harry celebrated the arrival this week of his third child (a son Louis Harry) with his 205th Spurs goal, and with four more goals will become our second-highest scorer with only James P. Greaves (now MBE) above him.

After a Spurs corner Hojbjerg passed to Alderweireld whose shot was blocked before Kane hit a shot wide across the goal. By “H”’s standards that was a poor miss. After an eric Dier long free kick was headed (badly) by a Leeds player Ben Davies advanced down the left flank and passed inside to Bergwijn whose shot on the turn was not good enough, passing over the goal.

Leeds were still presenting danger, but they were getting no clear shots on Lloris’s goal with the Spurs defence looking sharp and buzzing around their area. Klich hit a longish cross from the right side of the area to Rodrigo, but he fired over the target. Bamford did have a shot on target, but it ran straight to Hugo Lloris.

“Sonny”’s 100th club goal was as good as most I’ve seen him score, which is saying something especially as only last month he received a FIFA award for the best goal of the year for that box to box run against Burnley. This was not even a shot from long range. It was the quality of the move, pass and accuracy of the first-time shot that pleased me so much. Hojbjerg had offered the pass to Harry Kane who carried it on down the right channel before hitting a short cross to the near post where Son beat Meslier at his left-hand post with a deadly accurate right-footed shot. I remember my headline when “Sonny” scored his first club goals against Qarabag in September, 2015 “If you can score two goals on your home debut, you'll be a Spur my Son”. He has certainly had some memorable moments such as the first senior goal in our new stadium in 2019 followed by goals at home and away against Manchester City in the Champions league quarter-final.

There was still time for Ndombele to pass inside to the advancing Ben Davies who hit a shot wide of the target before the break.

Spurs kicked off the second half, and this time Ndombele failed early on after good work by Kane and Bergwijn towards the left of the area. Ndombele passed to no-one. Tanguy did much better after a Spurs free kick when he drove a shot from 20 yards which Meslier just managed to push around his left post. The corner was taken by Son and headed goalward from the near post by Toby Alderweireld. Meslier got a touch but could not stop the ball crossing the line, quickly confirmed by technology. Eric Dier had followed up for good measure anyway. The goal has been awarded to Alderweireld, although I felt the keeper carried the ball over his line. The header was on target, of course!

Harry Kane hit the side netting from the left of goal after a pass by Son from a central position. After a good advance by Kane and Ndombele then a ball to Son who had space down the left of centre, Son should have gone on to score in my opinion but tried to tee up Hojbjerg. The pass failed.

Leeds persisted in going forward in numbers, but Spurs defended well. Bielsa made his substitutions in quick succession after an hour, none of which were defensive. After a pass by Son to Bergwijn on the right edge of the Leeds area, Bergwijn hit a shot which Meslier saved.

Doherty got his first booking for a foul on Ayling. Meslier made another save, this time from Kane, after build-up play by Hojbjerg and Bergwijn. One of the Leeds subs Hernandez hit a shot which took a thick deflection for a corner. Harry Winks had earlier been booked for kicking a ball away after a free kick decision against Spurs and he was replaced by Sissoko, with Lucas soon coming on for Ndombele.

Lloris got down low to hold a shot by Raphinha and a Klich cross towards the back post from the right went out for a goal kick. Bamford had a header on target, but this was easy meat for Hugo. Spurs managed the rest of the game with Vinicius getting a few minutes, but I think Jose was disappointed with Doherty committing a second yellow card offence in added time.

Happy New Year to you all!

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