GOAL! Spurs 3-0 Leeds (Alderweireld 50)
The respite was brief for Leeds.
50 min Ndombele hits a vicious shot from 15 yards that is really well saved by the falling Meslier. He couldn’t hold it but managed to shovel it behind for a corner.
48 min “Wondering if the one of the main difference between the two teams is the difference in quality between Kane and Bamford,” says Paul Fitzgerald. “Both teams will get decent chances to score but after watching Bamford against Man Utd recently, I don’t know if he has that killer instinct against top sides.”
Fair point. Imagine Leeds with Harry Kane! In fact, Spurs should loan him to Leeds for the rest of the season in the interests of the nation’s morale.
47 min “A soft pen can still be a clear pen,” says Phil Beattie. “I agree with your general sentiment on pens, but think you’re picking the wrong example. The challenge on Bergwijn is a silly challenge to make but it’s a clear foul and always would have been seen as a foul. He’s entitled to let the ball run across his body, and Paul Johnson’s accusation of cheating is frankly a little ridiculous.”
I agree that it was a foul, albeit just outside the area IMEHO. I don’t think Bergwijn cheated but he did know what he was doing. That’s his right, and defenders need to be much less impetuous in a VAR world, but all these penalties don’t sit comfortably at all.
“Gary Naylor is, of course, correct about Bale,” says Matt Dony. “He’s even got the regulation Leeds Topknot.”
The more you see that Spurs penalty, the dodgier it looks. The contact looks fractionally outside the area, and you could also argue that Bergwijn made the foul by stepping across Alioski. I think it was a foul, in truth, but I don’t think it was in the penalty area.
“Barry Davies would love this Leeds side,” says Gary Naylor. “There’s a ‘uses him by not using him’ in every attack.”
Quiz question (no cheating; it’s 2021 and we’re going to do this life properly): who was used by not being used in the Barry Davies commentary mentioned by Gary?
Half time: Spurs 2-0 Leeds
Peep peep! Spurs have done a fairly predictable number on Leeds. They had less than 40 per cent of the ball but looked very dangerous on the break, particularly after Harry Kane’s soft penalty gave them the lead. Kane made the second for his football friend Son, a beautiful goal just before half-time that leaves Leeds with plenty to do.
45+2 min “Another soft penalty,” says Paul Johnson. “Just manoeuvre trailing leg into path of defender, wait for slight touch, fall over and penalty ‘won’. ‘Winning’ a penalty and ‘entitled to go down’ should be expunged from dictionary. If you’ve ‘won’ a penalty, you’ve cheated.”
I think it’s slightly subtler than that, but essentially I agree with you. Now that VAR is here to stay, I think Ifab need an urgent review of what constitutes a penalty.
45+1 min Kane plays a good pass into the area for Son, who is unusually indecisive and loses the ball. That was another chance. This could easily be 5-3 to Spurs, in a game that Leeds have dominated.
45 min Spurs could have had four or five in this half. Ndombele’s cross on the turn is intercepted by Ayling. The ball runs towards Davies, who spanks a first-time shot over the bar from a tight angle.
Hojbjerg won a loose ball 40 yards from goal and gave it to his superior, Harold Kane. He moved away from Struijk, down the right wing, and curled a delicious ball around the defence towards the near post. Son got away from Dallas, waited for the ball to bounce and swept it deftly past Meslier at the near post. That’s a lovely goal, Son’s 100th for Spurs.
GOAL! Spurs 2-0 Leeds (Son 43)
Leeds have been mugged, and we all saw it coming.
43 min Bamford shoots straight at Lloris from the edge of the area. That was a decent chance.
41 min Harrison wanders infield, receives a square pass from Klich on the edge of the D and whips an excellent shot just over the bar.
40 min Raphinha’s cross is headed away to Alioski on the edge of the area. His volley goes out for a throw-in.
39 min “How many world-class strikers of Kane’s quality would agree to fall back and become more of a feeder to Son and the other Spurs attackers?” says Mary Waltz. “Kane’s self-sacrificing buy-in to Jose’s tactics is admirable to say the least.”
Whatever happened to Gary Cooper? He’s right there, up top for Spurs.
38 min Alioski’s low cross towards the near post finds Bamford, whose first-time poke is blocked by Dier. Bamford’s movement in front of Dier was excellent but he didn’t connect with the shot as well as he would have liked.
37 min Kane and Son are both down. Kane is holding his right knee, which is a particular concern; he landed awkwardly after a struggle for possession with Ayling. Both are going to continue for now.
35 min: Bergwijn misses an excellent chance! A poor header from Raphinha went to Davies on the left wing. He lost the recovering Raphinha and picked out Bergwijn with a good low cross. Bergwijn turned beautifully but then spanked his shot into orbit from 10 yards.
35 min More good play from Leeds. Raphinha’s pass infield is flicked behind his standing leg by Klich on the edge of the area. Rodrigo runs onto it but slices a tame shot through to Lloris with the outside of the right foot.
34 min “Bergwijn creates the contract by jumping into Alioski,” says Drew Lundgren.
In VAR football, almost any contact – however it comes about – is a penalty. It’s a mess.
33 min Klich pokes a short pass towards Rodrigo on the edge of the area. He lets it run through his legs towards Bamford, and Davies comes across to make a vital tackle.
32 min Almost a second goal for Spurs. Alderweireld, still up from an earlier set piece, has a shot blocked. Kane, on the half turn, curls the rebound well wide of the far post. That was a surprisingly tame effort.
GOAL! Spurs 1-0 Leeds (Kane 29 pen)
Kane puts the penalty straight down the middle. That’s his 205th goal for Tottenham!