Tottenham welcome Leeds United this weekend as Antonio Conte seeks his first win in the Premier League since becoming the manager of the north London side.
Tottenham are desperate to set the record straight after a shaky start to their season. Despite starting positively, winning their first three games in the Premier League, Spurs lost momentum under Nuno Espirito Santo. A series of bad results ended with the sacking of the Portuguese manager.
There is a newfound sense of optimism around north London since the club appointed Antonio Conte, who is expected to improve results and performances on the pitch. The Italian now seeks to stamp his authority as he looks to register his first Premier League win with the Lilywhites.
Tottenham faced a resilient Everton side in the previous matchday, with the contest ending in a goalless draw. However, they will have a go at three points when they host Leeds United, who find themselves in a difficult position after some terrible results this season.
Marcelo Bielsa could easily blame his misfortunes on the injuries to key players this season, although there have been some awkward, off-colour performances along the way. The Argentine boss could take some encouragement from recent results, as the Whites have stitched together a three-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.
However, it’s worthy to note that Leeds’ only victory in these three games came against a beleaguered Norwich City side while they drew their games against Wolves and Leicester City. Bielsa will have to rally his team for the big challenge against Spurs, as a victory will help them put further distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
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The international break wasn’t very positive for Conte in terms of injuries. Key defender Cristian Romero suffered a muscle problem while playing for Argentina, which rules him out for weeks. His national teammate, Giovani Lo Celso, is also a doubt after picking up a knock in South America.
There is also some concern with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s fitness, although the midfielder is expected to be ready after skipping the international break altogether to recover from a minor problem. Meanwhile, Oliver Skipp is ruled out through suspension, which could lead to Conte pairing Tanguy Ndombele alongside Hojbjerg in central midfield.
The Tottenham boss will keep the shape of the side with a back three, although the Italian will have a decision to make over replacing Romero. The likely option is to recall Davinson Sanchez to cover, although Japhet Tanganga is also a viable option to play there. The Colombian might get the nod to partner Eric Dier and Ben Davies.
Emerson Royal should continue in the right wing-back role, while Sergio Reguilon will have another opportunity to prove himself at left wing-back. Conte is unlikely to tinker with his front three, with Harry Kane expected to lead the line, while Lucas Moura and Heung-min Son provide the threat from wide areas.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Royal, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Reguilon; Moura, Kane, Son
Bielsa still has multiple injury-related absentees to deal with as Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling and Robin Koch are all unavailable for the Spurs clash. There could be other possible absentees, too, although the manager is unlikely to make wholesale changes to the lineup that started against Leicester last time out.
Junior Firpo might be the only possible change to the lineup, with the former Barcelona ace likely to feature from kickoff despite being a termed a doubt in the build-up to the clash. The summer signing could replace Pascal Struijk in the starting XI at left-back. Meanwhile, Stuart Dallas could continue deputising at right-back.
Kalvin Phillips will look to lead the midfield zone alongside Adam Forshaw. Bielsa will have to ensure his forward line is sharp and firing on all cylinders. Rodrigo, Raphinha and Jack Harrison are all guaranteed starters in the final third, while Daniel James should continue deputising for Bamford in the centre-forward slot.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Dallas, Llorente, Cooper, Firpo; Phillips, Forshaw; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; James
- Tottenham are the second-lowest scorers in the Premier League with nine, with only Norwich City scoring fewer (7).
- Tottenham have failed to score in their last three Premier League games.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in their last five home Premier League games.
- Leeds United have lost each of their previous four visits to Tottenham, last winning there back in February 2001.
- Leeds are unbeaten in their last three games in the Premier League.
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The England captain enjoyed a terrific international break, scoring an incredible seven goals in two games. In the process, Kane surpassed Jimmy Greaves’ goalscoring record for the Three Lions. Following his amazing performances away from Spurs, he needs to kickstart his season at club level, having scored a solitary league goal.
With the Conte era just beginning at Spurs, Kane needs to show the manager his quality right from the start against Leeds, as the Italian is the club’s big hope of winning a trophy soon. The England captain needs to assert himself and become the focal point of the attack again if Tottenham are to achieve success this season, starting with Leeds.
Tottenham 2-1 Leeds United
It could be an interesting fixture, as both teams are desperate for a win. Conte’s primary objective is to fine-tune his squad to perfection to take on bigger challenges. And, they can redeem themselves to get a good result against Leeds, who are struggling at the moment. The likes of Kane and Son are expected to get into their rhythm and fire the north Londoners further up the table with a victory against the Whites.