Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham duo give Conte major headache despite seeing off lively Leeds – Player Ratings

Tottenham wingback Sergio Reguilon celebrating after scoring against Leeds 2021

A pair of Tottenham stars critical to Antonio Conte’s system gave the Italian plenty to sink his teeth into after Leeds were defeated 2-1 in north London.

Tottenham fans could’ve been forgiven for expecting a fast start in Antonio Conte’s first home league match, but it was Leeds United that took control the first half.

But clear-cut chances were in short supply for much of the first half until a moment of magic from Jack Harrison. The tricky winger raced past Emerson Royal before his sublime cross gifted Daniel James the chance to prod home his first goal for the Whites.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min both saw deflected efforts strike the woodwork to begin the second half, but the writing was on the wall. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg soon levelled the scores after tireless work from Lucas Moura to keep the ball alive in the build-up.

Tottenham’s second-half surge continued when Sergio Reguilon poached a go-ahead goal in what turned out to be the decisive moment in a hard-fought 2-1 victory for the hosts. But it was the Argentine and fellow wingback Emerson Royal that will have Conte scratching his head in the post-match analysis.

Tottenham

Hugo Lloris: Faultless for James’ opening goal with the blame landing firmly at the feet of the two wingbacks. Smart stop from a snap James shot after the break. 6/10

Japhet Tanganga: Lack of intent on the ball drew the ire of the Spurs faithful. Was by no means alone in struggling to break the lines in a dismal Spurs first half, however. 6

Eric Dier: Showed his experience in the middle of the back three when sweeping round to cover through balls in behind his centre-back partners. Got his head to everything in the air and stood up tall when Leeds threatened on the break. 8

Ben Davies: Critical interception to prevent James’ cross finding Klich after a fast break. 7

Emerson Royal: Spurs’ biggest struggler in the opening 15 minutes with Harrison both running past and playing round him. Inexplicably rifled the ball out for a corner with a misplaced pass that summed up his early woes. Little impact going forward and was ruthlessly exposed by Harrison for Leeds’ opener. 4

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: Got through his customary work in the engine room and got on the scoresheet with a bobbled effort that seemed to confuse Leeds’ defenders after the break. 7

Harry Winks: A liability in the middle. Failed to adequately screen his centre-halves and made little impression with the ball at his feet going the other way. 5

Sergio Reguilon: Up and down first half, though there was unfortunately more of the latter. Could’ve teed Kane up for a golden opportunity but for a crucial headed interception from Cooper. Later guilty of failing to play Emerson in when in acres of space down the right. The Brazilian’s wild protestations indicated he was just as frustrated with Reguilon as the home crowd were.

Didn’t react quick enough to snuff out James’ run for the Welshman’s goal. His topsy-turvy afternoon continued when his teasing delivery caused havoc in the Leeds box directly leading to Hojbjerg’s equaliser. In the thick of it 10 minutes later when poaching a go-ahead goal from Dier’s free-kick that rebounded back off the post. Subbed after 79 minutes to conclude a performance that had a little bit of everything. 6

Lucas Moura: Tried to make things happen but Spurs continued to lack fluency and rhythm in the final third when it matters most. Finally punctured Leeds’ line to begin the second half when feeding Kane, but Meslier was equal to the task. Tirelessly kept the ball alive for Hojbjerg’s equaliser and kept his composure when picking out the Dane. 8

Harry Kane: Dropped deep in his customary attempts to pull the strings but found little joy in the first half. Could’ve levelled the scores immediately after the break when played in by Moura, but saw his low strike deflected onto the post by Meslier. An altogether livelier display than what Spurs fans have seen from Kane lately and on another day, could’ve had a couple. 6

Son Heung-min: Buzzed about with his usual energy and was often at the heart of most things Tottenham did well. Saw a deflected shot rattle the crossbar as Spurs showed more spirit in the second half. 8

Substitutes: 

Davinson Sanchez (On for Tanganga, 68m): 6

Ryan Sessegnon (On for Reguilon, 79m): N/A

Dele Alli (On for Moura, 88m): N/A


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Leeds United

Illan Meslier: Would’ve expected a busy evening after Kane plundered seven goals in two matches during the international break. Much to Bielsa’s delight, Meslier’s first half passed by without a single save to make.

Quickly called into action after the break and did well to deflect Kane’s strike onto the post. Beaten by Hojbjerg’s bobbled shot but may be justified in thinking one of Leeds’ defenders should’ve blocked the shot. Blameless for Reguilon’s winner. 6/10

Stuart Dallas: Got forward with his typical exuberance and rifled a strike narrowly beyond the post inside eight minutes. 6

Diego Llorente: Cruised through the first half but found it tougher after the break. Saw a Son shot deflect off his leg onto his own crossbar in a lucky escape. 6

Liam Cooper: Prevented a likely goal when stretching every fibre of his being to glance a cross away from the waiting Kane. Tested more when Spurs livened up after the break and found containing Kane inside the area increasingly difficult. Booked for felling Moura on the edge of the box at the concession of the free-kick that led to Reguilon’s goal. 5

Pascal Struijk: Unfamiliar role at left-back for the rangy centre-half and began well when snapping into the tackle to dispossess Winks. Looked less comfortable when tested for pace by Moura and Son with most of Spurs’ joy coming down his side. 6

Kalvin Phillips: Still the hub of Bielsa’s team despite Forshaw’s re-introduction in the engine room. Vital intervention to prevent Kane from regaining his feet and pulling the trigger after Son raided down the right. 8

Adam Forshaw: Calm and composed in the middle. Some classy moments alongside Phillips indicated why Bielsa has showed faith with the 29-year-old after his two-year injury hell. 7

Daniel James: Willing runner and showed a predator’s instinct when drifting into central positions when Harrison was in possession down the left. His determination to put himself in the danger area paid off when on hand to poke home his first Leeds goal on the stroke of half time. 7

Mateusz Klich: The quietest of Leeds’ front four in the first half. Little improvement after the break and replaced by Firpo once Spurs equalised. 5

Jack Harrison: Bright start going forward when a neat one-two saw Emerson dispatched when surging towards the by-line. Never shirked his defensive duties when helping to contain Emerson when pushing forward from wingback. Continued to dominate his personal battle with the Brazilian when showing him a clean pair of heels before laying James’ first goal on a plate with a pin-point cross. 8

Joe Gelhardt: Huge responsibility on his shoulders spearheading an attack without Bamford, Raphinha and Rodrigo. The 19-year-old looked fearless on the ball and caused problems with his direct running style. Blotted his copybook with a needless lunge on Dier that saw him booked in the first half. 7

Substitutes: 

Junior Firpo (On for Klich, 59m): 6

Tyler Roberts (On for Forshaw, 72m): 6

Stuart McKinstry (On for Gelhardt, 87m): N/A