For the third game in a row, Leeds will come up against a complete opposite style of football. Having squeaking by Burnley on Sunday and demolishing West Brom on Tuesday, Marcelo Bielsa’s side now take on a similarly defensive Tottenham side that has seen their slim chances of winning the league fall apart at the seams in recent weeks due to their overly defensive tactics.
Spurs looked set to be Liverpool’s closest challengers after their 2-0 win in the North London Derby, but they failed to win any of their next four league games due to Jose Mourinho’s overly defensive mindset, capitulating late on against Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Wolves.
They are now outsiders in the race for the top four and will struggle to contain Leeds’s magnificent attack. Leeds, on the other hand, will look to put in two good performances in-a-row for the first time in months. They were fantastic in their 5-0 demolition of West Brom on Tuesday, but they were extremely fortunate to beat Burnley prior to that, while Manchester United thrashed them before Christmas.
Coming up against an out of form Spurs, Leeds have an excellent opportunity to build on that win at the Hawthorns and they are more than capable of leaving London with a result.
Tottenham v Leeds, Saturday January 2: 12.30pm
Patrick Bamford had his doubters coming into this Premier League this season, but he has already proved most of them wrong by reaching double figures before the halfway stage. He may not be the most prolific striker in the world, boasting a shot conversion of just 21%, but he constantly gets in the right positions and Leeds create so many chances that he is always a good bet to get on the scoresheet.
Bamford wasn’t among the scorers in Leeds’s 5-0 rout at the Hawthorns and will surely be desperate to put that right as soon as possible. He is only three goals off Mo Salah in the race for the Golden Boot and can keep up the pressure against Spurs on Saturday.
Spurs might have come across as anti-football in recent weeks, but even they should be able to breach Leeds’s leaky defence, which has conceded 30 goals in 16 games. Only West Brom boast a worse defensive record than Bielsa’s Leeds and the fact that they have now kept back-to-back clean sheets is among the most surprising things to happen in 2020.
Leeds have also managed to score 30 goals this season, the fourth-best record in the league, and are capable of scoring against any team.
They are almost careless in how they approach games, epitomised by their bonkers game against Manchester United before Christmas and will never alter their style no matter the score or the opponent.
They will almost certainly concede against an attack featuring Harry Kane and Heung Min Son and they are more than capable of scoring at the other end too.
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Spurs’s dip in form can be partly attributed to the form of Heung-min Son and Harry Kane. Across Spurs’s four-game winless streak, the attacking duo scored just one goal apiece as Mourinho’s defensive tactics were finally exposed. Kane and Son are the sole reason why Spurs were ever in such a lofty position in the first place, but their form was always bound to slow down.
Son had scored 11 goals from 18 shots at one stage this season and that sort of scoring rate just wasn’t sustainable, so it is hardly surprising that he has only scored one in his last four. However, there should be plenty of space for both him and Kane against Leeds and he has been so prolific this season that you have to expect him to gobble up some of the chances that come his way.
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