Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Leeds United - good day for Archie Gray, Joe Gelhardt and Kalvin Phillips, bad one for Marcelo Bielsa, Spurs fans and...Kalvin Phillips
It was all going so well for Leeds United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium until, all of a sudden, it wasn't.
Marcelo Bielsa's Whites were superb in the first half, fully deserving of their 1-0 lead, but when Antonio Conte found a way to present problems for the visitors, Spurs wrestled back control of the game.
There are obviously positives for Leeds to take from the fixture and Spurs do not represent the Whites' battle this season, teams closer to the bottom of the table do, but letting that game slip will still feel a little haunting.
Included in the travelling party by Marcelo Bielsa for a Premier League game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the age of 15. An incredible experience for any teenager. To be considered an option for the bench while still so young is remarkable. He could play for the Under 16s yet he's turning out for the 23s, training with the seniors and now travelling with them. Life is moving fast.
A first Premier League start for the teenager and he did not once look overawed by the occasion. Some nice moments in possession and a couple of shots from distance showed his confidence. Apparently overcoming Tyler Roberts in the pecking order of strikers, Gelhardt is establishing himself as a player of enormous potential but he's not one for the future, he's one for now.
One of his best 45 minutes in the Premier League. Gave Harry Kane a horrible time of it, mopped up defensively and produced big tackles at big moments. Helped Leeds play out from the back, feeding Forshaw and making the visitors dominant. In that kind of form Phillips shows exactly why he has become so important for Gareth Southgate in the England team. He was commanding alongside Liam Cooper, who also had a very good first half.
Jack Harrison and Daniel James
Neither produced a complete performance or can say they were at their best, but they were busy, industrious and most importantly of all combined to produce end product. It has been missing. It was all that was missing from Leeds' work for the vast majority of the first half, until Harrison supplied James. The hope is they will continue to improve and produce even more of it for Leeds.
Another good display. Showed he can be what Leeds have been missing in the midfield. A superb first half. Very nearly came close to a goal, too.
Seemed to struggle to get on the same page with his team-mates, coming into a difficult game at a difficult time after injury. Rust was perhaps to be expected. Leeds will need him back to his best in short order, however.
Admitted after the game that he could not fix the problem in the midfield that was giving Spurs such space and felt he tinkered too much. Whether or not he had the tools at his disposal to solve the issue, looking at a bench that had seven Under 23s regulars on it, is another question but the squad is small by his design. Should be pleased with the first half dominance but will feel this was not a game that should have been lost. Must be noted that he was missing Raphinha and Rodrigo on top of Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling, Robin Koch, Jamie Shackleton and Crysencio Summerville.
They were booing as Tottenham came off at the interval, frustration at a perceived lack of ambition on the ball spilling over, especially after Leeds took the lead. But it was obvious in the second half that even though their team had upped the intensity, the home fans were not matching it in Conte's estimation. He was gesturing wildly for noise and backing, demanding a similar intensity from the crowd. No fanbase likes to be known for a lack of atmosphere but in their huge stadium they were struggling to create one.
Wasn't able to keep Kane as quiet in the second half as the first and one of the first times the striker got free of Phillips brought a move that led to the opening goal. The second half display still held some good stuff from Phillips but he couldn't get Leeds playing out from the back or stem the Spurs tide. There was frustration in his post-game interview and an odd suggestion that he didn't know why Bielsa put him in the backline, before going on to explain pretty much exactly why he was in the backline. It worked so well in the first half though, that frustration at how the second half turned out was only natural. It shows how far the midfielder has come under Bielsa that he can produce that kind of football we saw in the first half, as a centre-half, against a team like Spurs, and that he can leave a game against them feeling frustrated that the result slipped away.
NUMBERS OF THE DAY
Spurs' first half efforts generated 0.06 in expected goals, which showed just how dominant and untroubled Leeds were by a hugely talented side with fantastic attackers. The game changed in the second half of course, but there were promising signs before the break.
Lucas Moura's ball-carrying was a problem for Leeds in the second half. His nine dribbles, more than anyone else on the pitch, showed how influential and dangerous he was. The Brazilian arguably carried a greater threat than Kane and possibly even Son.
Spurs ended the game having run 4km further than Leeds. On its own it doesn't tell much of a story but Conte felt his side bettered Leeds' intensity in the second half and it felt like their speed and mobility was part of the reason why Leeds looked over-ran. Few teams manage to out-run or out-work Bielsa's Leeds. Spurs appeared to manage it sufficiently in the second half to take over.
Tottenham Hotspur came out for the second half and made a much better fist of attacking Leeds, finding spaces and looking likelier and likelier to find the net. Once they did it was hard to see Leeds holding on for a point.