Ahead of the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United, all the focus will be on the two managers – Antonio Conte and Marcelo Bielsa. Conte is one of the most reputed managers in the world and he has achieved incredible successes in Italy with Juventus and Inter Milan as well as in the Premier League with Chelsea.
Although the 52-year-old’s first game in charge in North London ended in a goalless draw with Everton, fans can expect a different game against Leeds United. Conte has had the international break to prepare for this match meticulously and he will have the backing of his fans as Tottenham are all set to play their first match under the Italian manager at home.
When it comes to managers who like to build out from the back and play attractive football, Marcelo Bielsa is regarded as the godfather. Several modern-day greats like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, and even Antonio Conte have applied Bielsa’s methods to their own craft. The Argentine coach is likely to target the makeshift Tottenham defence which will have to deal with the absence of Cristian Romero with strong wing-play.
It will be an interesting tactical battle between two coaches who believe in similar philosophies. Let’s discuss both the teams in greater detail below:
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON
Tottenham Hotspur were on top of the table three games into the season and everything seemed rosy in North London. The table has turned quickly within a couple of months and with five losses in the last seven matches, manager Nuno Espirito Santos who had been appointed in the summer ended up facing the sack.
Spurs currently occupy the ninth position in the table with 16 points to their name. However, it’s the fact that only Norwich City have scored fewer goals than them in the league that explains the team’s persistent issues. The goals have dried up and Antonio Conte will have to figure out a way to get the best out of talismanic figure Harry Kane once again.
Kane’s recent astonishing form on international duty will be positive news for the team. The England forward scored seven goals in the last two matches against minnows Albania and San Marino and will be high on confidence. Although Kane has scored only once in the league this season, he has plenty of experience scoring against Bielsa’s Leeds United.
PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST LEEDS UNITED
The international break bore some harsh news for fans of Tottenham Hotspur. Argentine defender Cristian Romero who has marshalled the backline for Spurs suffered a serious injury. Although his condition will be assessed ahead of the game, there’s a major doubt surrounding his participation.
Tottenham might also have to deal with the loss of midfield engine Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg who missed Denmark’s game against Scotland although the side is expected to take a late call on his participation. However, the return of Ryan Sessegnon and Bryan Gil to training might boost the team’s morale.
Probable Playing XI (3-4-2-1): Hugo Lloris; Sergio Reguilon, Ben Davies, Emerson Royal, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez; Pierre-Emile Hojberg, Oliver Skipp; Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura; Harry Kane
LEEDS UNITED IN PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON
Leeds United have been inconsistent in the Premier League so far. They have won only twice and have lost four games having played 11 matches. They’ve also scored only 11 goals and Bielsa would want to get some points on the board in order to avoid getting dragged into a relegation battle.
The only positive for the side from West Yorkshire is that they are unbeaten in their last three matches. They drew with Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 and went on to register a dominant win over Norwich City. This was followed by another one-goal stalemate with Leicester City.
Leeds will look to get points against Tottenham in order to make their way into the top-half of the table. However, it could prove to be very difficult as they haven’t won their last four away league games against the North London side. Their last win here arrived in February 2001.
PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Leeds United will have to cope without three key players – Robin Koch, Luke Ayling and Patrick Bamford – who have suffered long injuries and have already missed 30 matches between them.
Central midfielder Kalvin Phillips is expected to play a key role in this game. The Leeds-local and Leeds United academy graduate has a tireless engine and is the lynchpin in midfield for Marcelo Bielsa.
Antonio Conte prefers fast transitions and players like Heung min Son, Lucas Moura like to break with pace and that’s where Phillips needs to be at his best. He also needs to avoid making silly fouls, something he has been guilty of in the last two Premier League fixtures.
Up top Raphinha and Rodrigo will provide the attacking edge and goal threat as Leeds United hope to script their first away win against Tottenham Hotspur in two decades.
Probable Playing XI (4-2-3-1): Illan Meslier; Pascal Strujik, Liam Cooper, Diego Llorente, Stuart Dallas; Kalvin Phillips, Adam Forshaw; Jack Harrison, Daniel James, Raphinha; Rodrigo
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