Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Leeds United
By Dan King under the supervision of Lucas Mondelo
Against his increasingly vocal critics, Tottenham boss Antonio Conte had the last laugh of 2022 with a hugely entertaining and spirited fightback win against Leeds United on Saturday in North London.
The home side were three times behind in a wide open and unpredictable premier league encounter, but thanks to a key showing from the retuning Kulusevski and brace scoring Uruguayan midfielder Bentancur, Tottenham held 4th place in the league thanks to an enthralling 4-3 victory.
A hugely frustrated Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch has had his own share of supporters unhappy with tactics, results, and performances, but there was much to admire about Leeds on this day and they came very close to getting all three points.
The visitor certainly played better than the betting market anticipated, but in failing to hold the lead on three separate occasions, they ended up walking away with nothing. In part due to a controversial Spurs opener, the American manager felt his exciting young side merited more. In the end they just lacked the quality and mentality to put the game to bed.
With positive team news in the fact Kulusevski and Richarlison began in a strong looking 4-3-3, Tottenham’s outright price shortened once line ups were announced and began as strong 1.59 favourites on the 1×2 markets. The home win was to pay out eventually, but that particular outcome would have been offer at higher prices given that they fell behind on three separate occasions before taking the lead for the first time on 83 minutes.
The market never really demonstrated any great confidence in Leeds despite holding the lead as much as they did, with Spurs win hovering around 2.45 at 0-1 and 3.5 at 1-2 before the host got level.
Bigger home win prices were available in the final 14 minutes which were wild with 3 goals. Spurs briefly hit double figures to win once behind at 2-3 on 76, though they levelled within five minutes and the writing seemed on the wall for the Tottenham win from then on, getting the winner two minutes later before Leeds were reduced to ten men.
Total goals was a very comfortable winner, the line was set at 3.00 / 1.990 and looked a likely winner from early on given the open nature of the game and poor defending on show. By half time there had been 3 goals, and by 51 minutes a full win paid out.
Leeds United should take the positives from the game, making the hot favourite struggle and sweat to snatch a late and often unlikely looking win. The visitor played tidy football and had the speed and guile to punish mistakes. Leeds looked every bit the wild “overs” type side of the much-loved ex manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Tottenham meanwhile will feel positive about having key attacking men back, Kulusevski’s presence in this side significantly improves their attack and Xg. However, they were extremely fragile in defence yet again and will most certainly need to tighten up to retain a top four position this campaign.
In summary, until both clubs can improve dramatically in defence, they look set to be involved in a good proportion of matches which go overs.