Leeds United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur - La Liga reunion, unused sub's injury and Gareth Bale's Gjanni Alioski nightmare
When it's good it's very good and Leeds United's performance against Tottenham Hotspur was right up there with their best, this season.
So many of Marcelo Bielsa's players put in impressive performances that you could list almost all of them in our 'good day' category but some were worth a special mention. As for the bad day category, Spurs took all the honours.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
Gareth Bale was largely anonymous for Spurs and managed no shots on target at Elland Road. He created no chances and supplied no successful crosses. Huge credit goes to Gjanni Alioski for being on the front foot to keep Bale out of the game.
There's no doubting the quality of Leeds United's performance but VAR's decision to rule out Harry Kane's goal for offside cannot be overlooked. Had Spurs gone ahead the afternoon might have turned out differently. It didn't, however and Leeds were due some fortune. Ultimately the victory was hard earned and well deserved but you could forgive Ryan Mason's post-match grumbles on that particular issue. If the boot was on the other offside foot, Leeds would have been raging too.
There were so many good individual performances in a fine collective display but given what came before it, Gjanni Alioski's contribution was remarkable. He was involved in all three goals and defended well too. His nuisance value is high at all times due to his antics but the most annoying thing he can do is play with this kind of intensity. Opponents simply don't like it. It was a nightmare for Bale.
Sticking with the same team showed his faith in his players, after one of their worst performances of the season.
Had Liam Cooper not picked up a knock, Struijk might not have had the opportunity to showcase his ability against world class strikers. Given another chance, he grabbed it, as he has all season long. A very bright future awaits but the present isn't bad.
A player Marcelo Bielsa rates highly showed a little glimpse of why that is with a sharper showing than we've seen from him in some time. Took his goal well and that should give his confidence a real boost. Whether he is to play at nine or at 10, Leeds need him to be firing on all cylinders, not only given the financial layout but because if they are to become more consistent they need their best players on the pitch as often as possible.
Having quality players like Kane and Son means you can almost guarantee attacking threat but the way Spurs ran out of ideas and out of steam should be a worry for the interim boss. The defeat sorely dented Tottenham's Champions League hopes. Being out-run and out-fought should never happen for a side with Spurs' quality and experience.
See the above. He just wasn't at it and showed none of the world class ability he undoubtedly possesses.
It has to change.
La Liga reunion
Diego Llorente and Gareth Bale shared a nice moment in the Leeds United penalty area when their paths crossed again for the first time. The duo, who came up against one another in La Liga with Real Sociedad and Real Madrid, had a little fist bump, a smile and a few words when Bale trotted in for Spurs' first corner. Their last battle came last season when Bale appeared as a substitute for Real Madrid in a 3-1 victory over Llorente's former club, so Saturday's result was a nice measure of revenge for the Spaniard.
When Mateusz Klich came off the pitch Victor Orta wanted him to know he had played well. He really wanted him to know. So much so that he delivered the most aggressive one-man standing ovation the sport might ever have seen. It will have been appreciated by Klich, who has had struggles with form this season, but looked a lot more like the player he has previously shown he can be.
Leeds United's substitutes, used and unused, were put through their paces after the game on the Elland Road pitch to complete the required running targets. It did not end well for winger Crysencio Summerville who pulled up after several sprints, appearing to feel pain in his lower back. He was unable to finish off the running drills and after attempting to stretch his back by the advertising boards he walked off the pitch gingerly.