|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 (1)||LEEDS UNITED 3 (2)|
|Date : – Saturday 12th November 2022||Kick off : – 15.00|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|Crowd : – 61,667|
|Referee : – Michael Salisbury (Lancashire)||Linesmen : – Mr. James Mainwaring; Mr. Derek Eaton|
|Fourth official : – Josh Smith|
|VAR official : – Paul Tierney||VAR Assistant : – Natalie Aspinall|
|Weather : – Mild, sunny|
|Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the Paxton Road end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 7 minutes
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||LEEDS UNITED|
|Kane 14m 58s||Summerville 09m 26s|
|Davies 50m 42s||Rodrigo 42m 20s|
|Bentancur 80m 20s||Rodrigo 75m 47s|
|Bentancur 82m 37s|
|Bentancur (not releasing the ball) 57||Roca (foul on Dier) 49|
|Adams (foul on Kulusevski) 71|
|Adams (Second yellow – foul on Bissouma) 87|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||LEEDS UNITED|
|1.||Hugo LLORIS (c)||1.||Illan MESLIER|
|15.||Eric DIER||25.||Rasmus KRISTENSEN ( 2. Mateo JOSEPH 89)|
|34.||Clement LENGLET ( 6. Davinson SANCHEZ 57)||5.||Robin KOCH|
||Liam COOPER (c)|
|12.||Emerson ROYAL ( 2. Matt DOHERTY 57)|
|5.||Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG||12.||Tyler ADAMS|
|30.||Rodrigo BENTACUR||8.||Marc ROCA ( 2. Luke AYLING 79)|
|29.||Wilfried GNONTO ( 42. Sam GREENWOOD 46)|
|21.||Dejan KULUSEVSKI ( 27. Lucas MOURA 90)||7.||Brenden AARONSON|
|10.||Harry KANE||10.||Crysencio SUMMERVILLE|
|9.||RICHARLISON ( 38. Yves BISSOUMA 69)|
|19.||RODRIGO Moreno ( 30. Joe GELHARDT 89)|
|20.||Fraser FORSTER||22.||Joel ROBLES|
|25.||Japhet TANGANGA||3.||Junior FIRPO|
|24.||Djed SPENCE||14.||Diego LLORENTE|
|4.||Oliver SKIPP||18.||Darko GYABI|
|11.||BRYAN Gil||16.||Sonny PERKINS|
= Assist = Goal scored = Own goal scored
|Manager : – Antonio Conte||Manager : – Jesse Marsch|
|Kit Supplier : – Nike||Kit Supplier : – adidas|
|Shirt Sponsor : – AIA||Shirt Sponsor : – SBOTOP
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – Wish
|Colours : –
||Colours : –
[worn with orange shorts]
|Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website|
|Yet another rollercoaster Spurs performance saw them come out of this last game of the first half of the season with a 4-3 home win over Leeds United. Like our games recently, we will have to hope that the second half of the season will be better than the first not forgetting that we are in the last 32 of the Champions League and sit fourth in the league table.
With the return of Kulusevski and Richarlison to the starting line-up, it was hoped that this might give Spurs a more attacking intent from the start of the match, but after an early corner, Spurs were under pressure when Hugo Lloris had to come out of his area to head away a high back-pass that dropped short. Dier had put a low ball across the face of goal, but Leeds broke and Roca got the bounce of the ball as Hojbjerg challenged, passing to his left for Summerville to take the ball wide of Dier inside the area to shoot low under Lloris at his near post to put Spurs behind for the eighth game running. It was a goal from a player who is in top form but the way the ball was allowed to be moved from Meslier to Kristensen on the right who headed infield and then Roca getting space in midfield was too easy.
Tottenham looked to reply straight away. Kulusevski made a good run on the right and slipped the ball back for Emerson Royal who powered a shot at goal, only to see Meslier beat it out for a corner. Royal then had another chance a five minutes later when Davies exchanges passes on the left, burst into the box and squared the ball for the Brazilian, who skied his shot over the bar. That preceded a couple of chances that Leeds had to extend their lead, with Summerville clean through on their left taking the ball towards goal when Hugo came halfway before stopping and the young Leeds striker panicked, shooting low to Lloris’ left, where he stuck a leg out to block the shot and when the ball ran loose, Bentancur slid in to get there just before Aaronson. Spurs were fortunate that Summerville’s first touch was heavy and put the ball too close to Hugo, who judged his advance just right. The same player then passed down the left hand channel into the box where Rodrigo’s run latched onto it and from a narrow angle, he shot across Hugo to see the ball bounce out off the foot of the far post, but it wouldn’t have counted as the offside flag went up belatedly – as usual.
The game was moving end to end and Spurs won a succession of corners, which Perisic took and didn’t come to anything until the third one was played in under the bar at the near post and Lenglet went in to challenge Meslier as he made a weak attempt at punching the ball, only getting it just outside the six-yard box at the far post. Unluckily for Leeds it had dropped to Harry Kane, who scooped it around an unaware Tyler Adams and slammed the ball into the net. Cue protests from the Leeds players about a foul on the keeper, but, despite David Attenborough planning a documentary on this endangered species, the goal was allowed to stand and after Lloris getting bowled over by Wilson in the recent game against Newcash here, it would have been another in a long line of astoundingly inconsistent decisions referees come up with these days. It was another clinical piece of finishing from Harry that puts him six off the total Jimmy Greaves scored for Tottenham.
Just before the goal, Leeds fans had stopped a Spurs attack from a corner by throwing the ball that had gone into the crowd back onto the pitch. Rather than letting Tottenham take the corner again, the referee decided it would be a drop ball on the right wing, where it was when the play was stopped. It was the right decision rather than the most common sense one, especially when he told Summerville to retreat from where he was going to drop the ball, only to let him encroach, being about a yard away when he did drop it and thus negate any advantage we had when the play was originally halted. It appears that referees do not have much idea of what the Laws of the game and their interpretation are, as all the directives they are given dissolve into the mists of time, with him later allowing Leeds players to stand in front of the Spurs players in a defensive wall, rather than the one metre away that we were all led to believe would be the case.
Anyway, it was 1-1 and nearly 2-1 to Spurs a minute later when a loose pass was seized upon by Kulusevski, who nudged it at goal, but it hit the keeper as he closed Kulu down. When Richarlison was looking to move onto a forward ball, Koch made an NFL style block, but the referee regarded it as part of an English football match, but he was right to give a free-kick against Ben Davies a couple of yards outside the box when he brought Aaronson down. Rodrigo took it and hit the wall, with Roca following up, but his shot was straight at Hugo and didn’t have enough on it to trouble our captain.
What did trouble him was the good luck Leeds were having in front of our goal. A corner was headed out, but it was returned up in the air to the edge of the Tottenham box and Kristensen headed it forward beyond the Spurs back line and Rodrigo hit a volley on the turn past Lloris as it seemed like every half-chance was turning into a goal against us.
In added time and there was quite a lot, as Gnonto seemed to be having a love affair with the Tottenham turf, going down at every opportunity to reacquaint himself with the green stuff, Richarlison got to a low ball in from Royal that had been cut out by a defender but travelled in his direction. Out to the right of the goal, but inside the box, Richi turned the ball through Meslier’s legs but it was booted away from in front of goal.
Gnonto didn’t appear for the second half, no doubt wanting to pick up some advice from our groundsman, being replaced by Sam Greenwood, who I hadn’t heard of before and frankly, didn’t notice him during the 49 minutes of the game that he ran around for (I won’t say ‘played’ as his involvement was less than peripheral).
Straight away Tottenham looked keen and a run from Dier saw Roca bring him down, with the Spurs defender holding his leg from a raking of Roca’s studs down his calf. Bearing in mind Royal got sent off for something similar at the Goons, Roca was lucky to only get a yellow card. With the World Cup coming up it looked a little worrying, as Harry Kane did when he went down under challenge from a couple of Leeds players in the first 45. As it was the improvement in our forward play brought an equaliser six minutes into the half. From a quick throw from Royal, Dejan got past a weak challenge from Cooper and did well to pull the ball back from the right to Kane in the middle of the penalty area. Hitting the ball first time, it was heading in but Kristensen blocked it, with the ball running out of the area where Ben Davies hit it first time really powerfully. The ball took a flick off Kristensen and then Meslier before finding the back of the net. It was a really good hit by Ben, who kept it low and on target to get Spurs back in the game.
Bentancur got a needless yellow card when he fouled Summerville and then got involved in trying to stop the free-kick being taken quickly. It means he will be out for the first game after the World Cup at Brentford and the way he has been playing we could do with him being available every match now. A more dangerous free-kick situation came when Sanchez, just on as a substitute, fouled Summerville just outside the box and after a long wait for the Leeds players being in the Spurs wall, Greenwood did something at last and put the free-kick over the bar.
A straight ball down the left gave Kulusevski an opportunity, but he didn’t wrap his foot around it and it went straight, wide and off for a goal-kick. More free-kick action saw Dejan brought down crudely by Adams, who was shown the yellow card, but then Spurs were behind again. 75 minutes gone and much like the goals we conceded on Wednesday, a Spurs player was fouled in the build-up. Bentancur nut-megged Roca before Adams steamed into a challenge with the ball going to Cooper, who played a short pass in the centre circle to Roca and the ball was moved left to Rodrigo. Before Sanchez could get to him, the Leeds forward swept a low shot from the left of the goal, twelve yards out that went across Hugo and just inside the far post to make it 3-2 to the away team. The referee was giving similar fouls but decided to let this one go, costing us a goal.
Marsch had been all over the touchline making the technical area null and void, but his decision to substitute Marc Roca with Luke Ayling smacked of trying to shore up the side to protect their lead. It didn’t quite work out that way for the man who resembles Ted Lasso so much that after the game he said it felt like he had his heart ripped out, in some comedic hyperbole that he hopes might save his job. Doherty had replaced Royal and when Davies spread the ball out to him on the right, his cross was headed away but it only dropped just inside the area in the centre of the box. Rodrigo Bentancur was there (as he had been almost everywhere else on the pitch), chesting the ball down and driving a low shot at goal that hit the inside of Ayling’s calf sending the ball in the opposite direction that Meslier had dived. The Spurs crowd went mad and the Leeds fans, who had been singing when they were winning, suddenly went quiet. With ten minutes to go, it looked as though Spurs had salvaged a point after all.
Two minutes later and we had two more points ! Tottenham played the ball out from the back and Sanchez passed in from the right to Kane, who turned the ball around the corner for Kulusevski to run onto just inside the right side of the penalty area. He was in acres of space, knocked the ball past Koch as he raced in to try to sop him and with only the keeper to beat at his near post from a narrow angle, Dejan had the presence of mind to pull the ball back out of Ayling’s reach for Rodrigo Bentancur to side-foot the ball between Ayling and Kristensen on the line to make it 4-3. The stadium erupted and as we well know, there is nothing better than a comeback win !
The action didn’t stop there, because on the restart Ben won the ball at the back and it ran to Bissouma to run the ball upfield, but Adams decided to trip him up 10 yards inside the Spurs half and was shocked when he had a yellow card waved at him and then a red. It was a brainless tackle, leaving Leeds without any chance that they may have had of getting back level.
The way we are playing at the moment is tough on the ticker, but the resilience to keep going is commendable. I just wish we could get into a winning position without the need for late goals ! Bentancur deserved his two goal, being the first one to close opponents with the ball, be back in defence making important interceptions or tackles and having the smooth passing that keeps Spurs moving forward when he gets the ball. He is a class act and how Juventus let him go, I just can’t understand. The signing of him and Kulusevski have been fantastic for Spurs, with the Swede capable of producing something out of the ordinary just when we need it. Hopefully both of them will be in the Lilywhite shirt for some time.
There also needs to be mention of Ben Davies, who was strong in defence and keen to get forward, being another one who deserved his goal, as did Harry Kane, who does a lot of unrecognised work other than his goal-scoring. His passing wasn’t 100% accurate today, but his ability to find a pass that sets a team-mate into space is invaluable and his goal was another from the Kane playbook.
It was a tough win and not a comfortable game to watch, for a number of reasons, but the intensity the team can maintain late into the game is testament to the work that Gian Piero Ventrone did with the team prior to his death and I am sure the team miss him greatly. We will need that fitness he instilled in the players after the World Cup, when our internationals who are there – and there are quite a few of them – will face a punishing programme of games in the heat of the Middle East before returning to our chilly shores for the Christmas and New Year matches.
It will be a long break, not necessarily for football, but for our club and we can only hope our players return in one piece and having been successful.
The Heathrow Spur
|Liverpool||3||South Coast Big Club||1|
|Nottingham Forest||1||Crystal Palace||0|
|West Ham United London||0||Leicester City||2|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||Woolwich Wanderers||2|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Aston Villa||2|
Premier League Table 2022-23
|7||Brighton & Hove Albion||14||6||3||5||23||19||21||4|
|16||West Ham United London||15||4||2||9||12||17||14||-5|
|19||South Coast Big Club||15||3||3||9||13||27||12||-14|