Tottenham Hotspur vs Leeds United Preview: How to watch, kick-off time, predicted line-ups and ones to watch
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur reacts after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 20, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur host Leeds United on Saturday in an attempt to turn around their bad form and start 2021 with a much-needed win. 

Reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals aside, Spurs have been out of sorts of late and have failed to win any of their last four Premier League since the North London derby triumph over Arsenal on December 6.

Leeds, with their intense pressing and attacking system, come into the game fresh off their 5-0 destruction of West Bromwich Albion.

The newly-promoted side are 11th, only three points behind Spurs. 

But their two recent defeats in December to Manchester United and Chelsea showed that can be vulnerable when faced against quality opposition. 

Jose Mourinho and Marcelo Bielsa’s contrasting styles will make the game a thrilling tactical spectacle. 

  • Team News

Mourinho expects Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius to be available.

Both players missed the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday and there were doubts that they would be ready to face Fulham on Wednesday. 

But that match was postponed and now the Brazilians look set to return.

Gareth Bale and Giovanni Lo Celso, however, are both set to miss out. 

Bale suffered a calf problem in the Carabao Cup quarter-final win at Stoke City on 23 December, while Lo Celso picked up an injury against Leicester City on 20 December.

As for Leeds, Mateusz Klich will face a late fitness test after picking up a knock in Tuesday's 5-0 win at West Brom.

Liam Cooper is also doubtful and Robin Koch, Gaetano Berardi, Diego Llorente are all ruled out.
 

Manager's thoughts 

Jose Mourinho:

“I think the Leeds that turns up is the Leeds. Everybody knows the team they are; everybody knows the way they like to play and that's it. I don't think we'll have any surprises in relation to the way they want to play their game.

“ I don't play against Mr. Bielsa, never. My club played against his club or my team played against his team. I don't like that individual situation because that doesn't exist, for sure. We analyse our opponents; we did that in relation to Fulham. We did that in relation to Leeds. 


“We know where they are very strong and of course we have to try not to let them export their strengths and at the same time, we have to try to play our game. But I don't like that kind of approach.”

Marcelo Bielsa: 


"The battles are every time less tactical.

"The games have two types of basic structures. You wait for the opponent in your own half or you go for them in their own half. Or you go from one box to the other accumulating passes or you go long and that's how you attack.

"As a result, there is less tactical mysteries than we think. And with respect to Tottenham and the way they are playing, they are a very difficult team to face. In every position, they have solid, good players. They have options. They have strikers who can unbalance and they have it very clear how they want to play.

"And it's a team where you can clearly see the influence of the manager and they are very competitive."

 

  • Ones to watch 

Tanguy Ndombele:

Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane are the obvious picks, but Tanguy Ndombele might have to be the player that makes the difference. 

He is probably the most press resistant player Spurs own, and his brilliant progressive dribbling could break through Bielsa’s intense man to man pressing system. 

Bruno Fernandes, for example, did this brilliantly.

His clever decoy runs allowed the space in the middle free to be exploited, as the two early goals from Scott McTominay came from him bursting through this exact space. 

Ndomeble, often operating in central areas, has to find ways to bypass this Leeds press.

Whether it’s clever movement, or his silky dribbling in tight areas when being pressed – the French midfielder has a big job on his hands. 

Kalvin Phillips:

The talented English midfielder is having a fantastic campaign, but against Man United and Chelsea he was overrun. 

The 25-year-old has to make sure he sniffs out Tottenham’s dangerous attacking players to protect his defence, which can look vulnerable, as Leeds have conceded 30 goals - the most in the league. 

Also, if Mourinho opts for a deep low block, he has to keep the tempo ticking from deep areas and make sure his progressive passing unsettles Spurs’ defensive shape. 

  • Predicted line-ups 

TottenhamLloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Ndombele; Son, Lamela, Kane.

Leeds: Meslier; Dallas, Ayling, Struijk, Alioski; Phillips; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Hernandez, Harrison; Bamford

  • How to watch 

The game is live on BT Sport 1 from 11.30. Kick-off is at 12.30. 

 

 


 

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