Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur - a battle for Luke Ayling, a question of who shackles Harry Kane and Graham Smyth's prediction

Luke Ayling has a battle on his hands tomorrow when Tottenham Hotspur make their first visit to Elland Road since 2013.

By Graham Smyth
Friday, 7th May 2021, 4:44 am

On that occasion, the Whites pulled off an FA Cup shock, beating their top-flight visitors 2-1 with goals from Luke Varney and Ross McCormack.

It would be considered somewhat of an upset if Marcelo Bielsa's men were to take three points against their visitors this time round too, with Spurs harbouring European hopes and having recently claimed 'big six' status.

Here's the YEP take on the keys to pulling off the result, for Leeds.

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Luke Ayling v Son Heung-min

The Spurs forward is electric. He matches his skill, creativity, clever movement and goalscoring instinct with a work rate that makes him a nightmare for defences. Luke Ayling will have his hands full if he lines up opposite the South Korean forward, as he did in London, but he has shown this season he can hold his own against top strikers. The 16 goals and 10 assists Son has provided for Spurs in the Premier League say it all. Shutting him down is key.


STRUIJK ONE - Pascal Struijk took on Harry Kane in the first meeting of Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur this season but Liam Cooper is available to Marcelo Bielsa this weekend. Pic: Getty

Harry Kane

It's impossible to look past the England striker. He has the kind of predatory instinct and finishing ability that turn half chances into goals. He was a thorn in Leeds' side in London, setting up his strike partner's goal and scoring with a well-struck penalty. His experience might tip Marcelo Bielsa's hand when it comes to choosing between Liam Cooper and youngster Pascal Struijk. As impressive as Struijk has been, Cooper is the more wily competitor and he's solid in the air. It would be a surprise if he did not return to face off against Kane.


How many times have we looked at games that Leeds, as a newly promoted side, should really have no right to win and been left surprised by full-time? This is another opportunity to pull off a shock. If Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha return and Leeds play to their absolute best, then why not? Without those two it will require near perfection to take three points however. Whilst you would expect a head coach of Marcelo Bielsa's pedigree to be able to deal with whatever 29-year-old Ryan Mason conjures up, the quality of the latters' players will be difficult to overcome. I can just about see a draw. 1-1.