YEP Jury: No shame in defeat for understrength Leeds United at Tottenham Hotspur
Strangely, for fans who have just witnessed their team lose a first-half lead and then go on to lose the game at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon, our panel of jurors doesn’t appear to be too downhearted.
Yes, they’re disappointed and, yes, they’re not blind to the fact that their team is now sitting just one place against the Premier League relegation places.
But they remain confident that results will turn their way with the return of injury/ill first-choice players coupled with the experience so many younger players are gaining - particularly Joe Gelhardt who made his first senior start up front against Spurs on Sunday.
Here’s what they have to say; see if you agree:
Terrific, battling, tackling first half with nothing much between the sides, maybe Leeds just about having the edge; certainly the stats suggested so.
Just as I was muttering about holding out until half-time, we grabbed a priceless lead with a smart move and a solid finish.
Despite the loss of Rodrigo and Raphinha, this was every bit as strong a display as we saw against Leicester.
We started the second half well too but failing to make anything from a handful of corners and then being caught by an equaliser seemed to deflate us.
A lucky deflection and rebound was not what we deserved.
Overall, and without our talisman Raphinha, nothing to be ashamed of with this performance.
Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.
Another trip to London and another defeat. It seems that the ‘curse’ of old London town.
It seemed that it might have lifted last season when Leeds beat Fulham but, once again, despite an encouraging first-half performance, Spurs took the three points thanks to two second-half goals. The injury situation that has blighted this season continued as both Raphinha and Rodrigo were ruled out of the starting line-up.
Marcelo Bielsa was forced to play ‘Joffy’ Gelhardt up front with Mateusz Klich coming into midfield.
The bench once again consisted of mostly youth players and Tyler Roberts.
Leeds were impressive in the first half and put the Spurs rearguard on the back foot and Loris had to be alert when they got behind them. The home side had their moments but Meslier wasn’t really troubled.
As the half went into the last minutes Jack Harrison burst into the box and delivered a wonderful cross that Dan James put into the empty net. It was the Welsh winger’s first goal for Leeds but it wasn’t enough.
In the second half, Spurs looked like they had been spoken to by new manager Antonio Conte and, after a ball had gone across the Leeds box, it was turned back to Hojbjerg whose miss-hit shot went past Meslier for the equaliser just before the hour mark.
Ten minutes later, Spurs grabbed the winner. Eric Dier’s free kick hit a post and wing-back Reguilon was first to react to score and send Conte into a jig of delight.
It was rough justice on Leeds but that’s what this season has been like.
Leeds now will be looking over their shoulders after Norwich’s win took them only three points behind them.
Panic bells aren’t ringing but the players absent need to come back ‘asap’ or Leeds could be in the bottom three.
January needs to be active, transfer wise, to make sure that this season doesn’t turn into a relegation ‘scrap’.
Man of the match: Dan James, first goal and a good performance by the winger.
Obviously, few people were not too confident prior to this game but when the news broke that Raphinha and Rodrigo were both unavailable for selection then a black cloud descended on the Leeds faithful.
Events were to prove very different, however, as United dominated the first half in north London.
Strong in defence, tidy in midfield and lively in attack - no wonder ‘Marching on Together’ rang through the stadium.
An, when Dan James converted the killer pass from Jack Harrison just before half-time, Leeds found themselves in the driving seat.
Sadly, the second half was a different story as Spurs wormed their way back into the game.
Goals from Hojbjerg and Reguilon in an 11- minute spell ensured that Spurs could give Roberto Conte his first win.
A good performance from Leeds who deserved at least a draw and should be proud of their performance.
Special mentions for Adam Forshaw, Joe Gelhardt, Daniel James, Kalvin Phillips and Jack Harrison.
Man of the match: Pascal Struijk.
A depleted Leeds team were the better side for large parts of Sunday’s game but two of the luckiest goals you’ll ever see got Antonio Conte his first win as Spurs boss. So, so unfortunate.
Before the game, rumours circulated that neither Raphinha nor Rodrigo had made the trip and that proved the case with illness and a minor injury ruling them out respectively.
The first-half display didn’t reflect the fact that the Whites were missing a host of key players, and Dan James rounded off an excellent 45 minutes with a back-post finish following terrific wing play by Jack Harrison.
It was always going to be a struggle for Leeds if Tottenham were to improve (they couldn’t get any worse to be fair), and they upped the tempo. The equaliser followed a rebound, a few ricochets and a scuffed finish, whilst the winner came when a deflected free kick rebounded off the post into the path of Sergio Reguillon - frustrating that the goals occurred in such an unlucky manner.
A tale of two halves in which a draw would probably have been a fair result.
Man of the match: Dan James.
For one half of Leeds United’s Premier League game at Tottenham Hotspur, this looked like a case of no Raphinha, no problem.
But, in the second half, Spurs looked rejuvenated and took their chances well.
Leeds didn’t do too much wrong and, with more strength in depth, would have had experienced players to turn to when they had to start chasing the game.
Dan James took his goal well and Jack Harrison caused Emerson Royal some serious problems on the left wing.
Joe Gelhardt was causing problems up front too and might have scored in the second half.
Leeds, for the most part, looked like the well-oiled machine we’ve come to expect but, ultimately, had no answer to Tottenham’s second-half display.
When missing players like Raphinha, Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling return, Leeds will absolutely look like a better team but, until then, you may forgive the players for fading as games go on.
Man of the match: Dan James.