They did it, but it wasn’t exactly champagne football. Tottenham Hotspur played their first home league match under Antonio Conte against a Leeds side missing a couple of key contributors. It wasn’t pretty — Spurs played a dour opening 45 minutes and went down to a very good Daniel James goal, but roared back in the second half. Spurs got goals from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Sergio Reguilon (his first goal for Spurs), and Tottenham held on for a 2-1 win.
Check out the match thread for a blow-by-blow account, but here are some of my match reactions.
- The first half was just grim. Spurs let Leeds have way too much of the ball and looked like they had no idea what they were supposed to do.
- Lucas Moura had another Jekyll/Hyde performance, dribbling into cul-de-sacs in the first half but also having some really nice moments especially in the second half. Same with Reguilon, who really didn’t play well at all today, killing a number of chances, but was in the right place at the right time to tap in the rebound after Dier’s free kick went off the post.
- Let’s be fair — Spurs were bad in the first half but Leeds’ goal was a really good one. Royal got smoked, the cross was pinpoint accurate, and Daniel James finished well.
- Harry Winks must be an amazing trainer, because that’s the only reason I can think of that new managers keep giving him starts. Extremely unimpressed with him today — several giveaways in midfield, positionally absent, and basically everything we’ve complaining about for the past two seasons. The thing that he did best in the second half was get out of the way (though in fairness he did have a couple of good forward passes and improved with the rest of the team).
- In the Slack it was noted that Kane’s incredible passing from deep is neat, but likely the symptom of a problem, mainly that Spurs’ midfield isn’t generating anything on its own precipitating Harry to drop deep to make things happen. Kane also screwed up a couple of counters today, failing to make a good, or the right pass to keep the ball moving. That said, he also had four shots, which is better.
- It’s hard to pinpoint what Conte changed tactically at halftime, but Spurs came out really looking better at the start of the 2nd. Maybe he just broke out the hairdryer? Whatever it was, it looked like Spurs had a fire under their butts.
- The thing I liked the best about Spurs’ second goal was that Harry Kane was not allowed to take the free kick.
- Good to see Ryan Sessegnon back out there. He was positionally solid, really marking Dallas well, and had a few good moments pushing forward. I’m really, really pulling for him to do well now that he’s back from injury — we need another option at LWB.
- DELE HAS PINK HAIR!!!
- Pleased with the play of Royal, Dier, Son, and especially Hugo who did well and made some good stops.