Tottenham ended a week of speculation about Antonio Conte’s future on a real high after a comprehensive 4-0 win over Leeds at Elland Road.
A blitz of goals from Matt Doherty, Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane put the game out of sight after just 27 minutes, before Son Heung-min added a deserved fourth with five minutes remaining.
The result heaps further pressure onto the shoulders of Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, whose side have now conceded three or more goals in their last five Premier League games and an incredible 60 for the season.
In front of a raucous home crowd, Leeds should actually have been the side to take the lead, only for Pascal Struijk to glance a free header wide of Hugo Lloris’ post from Stuart Dallas’ cracking delivery.
Son then tested the handling skills of Illan Meslier in the Leeds goal before Doherty, who had played just 322 minutes of Premier League football this season prior to the game, gave the visitors the lead after a swift Spurs counter attack.
Harry Winks was instrumental in the goal, turning sharply in midfield before releasing Ryan Sessegnon down the left flank with a precise through ball. The former Fulham star, operating at wing-back, then slid a perfectly weighted ball across the penalty area to Doherty, and he smashed past Meslier first time after escaping the attentions of Junior Firpo.
Five minutes later it was two as Kulusevski, with a bit of help from Doherty, punished some awful defending from Firpo and Diego Llorente to rifle a low shot inside Meslier’s near post.
It went from bad to worse for Leeds after Robin Koch struck the base of Lloris’ post as Kane, just before the half-hour mark, received a tremendous ball over the top from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before side-footing a volley past Meslier from an acute angle.
Leeds upped the tempo in an attempt to get back into the game, but for their all endeavour in the final 15 minutes of the opening period, a Luke Ayling header over the bar was the best effort they could muster.
The second half was equally as high-octane as the first, with Spurs in particular creating chances on the counter attack. Doherty, Sessegon and Son went close, Kane the architect of much of their good work after dropping deep.
Kulusevski also tested Meslier’s reactions with a stinging low drive before Dallas, after nicking the ball away from Lloris after he’d brainlessly rushed out of his goal, inexplicably opted not to shoot as he bore down on a Spurs goal protected only by Sessegnon.
Son made it four late-on after a tremendous long ball from Kane, which epitomised the quality of his passing, and there was still time for Raphinha to rattle Lloris’ post with an arrowing free-kick.
Illan Meslier (GK) – 5/10 – Powerless to stop any of Tottenham’s goals, truth be told. Perhaps could have used his 6’4 frame to better effect when attempting to smother Doherty but that’s being super picky.
Luke Ayling (RB) – 4/10 – Pulled from pillar to post by Son’s movement and wasn’t ever really at right back when out of possession.
Diego Llorente (CB) – 2/10 – Not entirely sure what he was doing for Kulusevski’s goal, inexplicably letting him ghost past him. Should really have done better with Hojbjerg’s lofted pass to Kane, too.
Pascal Struijk (CB) – 3/10 – 45 minutes, three goals conceded and a glorious chance missed after two minutes. Says it all.
Junior Firpo (LB) – 3/10 – Was unable to cope with the class of Kulusevski. How he allowed the Swede to wriggle into the penalty area after being penned in the corner is a mystery. Booked.
Robin Koch (DM) – 4/10 – Shoved into the back four after a difficult first half at the base of midfield. Out of position far too many times, but following the usual mental instructions you can only assume.
Stuart Dallas (CM) – 4/10 – You can never accuse the Northern Irishman of giving any less than 100%, but you can accuse him of dithering. Robbed Lloris of the ball, had a gaping goal to aim at and…didn’t shoot? Bizarre.
Adam Forshaw (CM) – 4/10 – Pressed Spurs’ backline and midfield to death but that led to Spurs countering in-behind far too many times. Lacked quality on the ball.
Raphinha (RW) – 5/10 – Barely got a kick in the opening half an hour but was the one who looked capable of sparking Leeds into life.
Daniel James (ST) – 4/10 – A passenger in the first 45 minutes. Shifted out wide in the second period in the hope of finding a spark – it didn’t work.
Jack Harrison (LW) – 4/10 – Positive in everything he did on the ball but lacked any kind of quality or cohesion around him. Tracking wasn’t enough for Bielsa and was hooked at the break.
Mateusz Klich (46′ for Struijk) – (CM) – 5/10 – Stemmed the flow of Tottenham attacks but didn’t offer anything meaningful.
Rodrigo (46′ for Harrison) – (ST) – 4/10 – Couldn’t get involved at all after coming on at the break.
Jamie Shackleton (78′ for Firpo) – (RB) – N/A – Not enough time to do anything of note.
Hugo Lloris (GK) – 5/10 – Got down smartly to deal with a fizzing low Firpo cross in the first half but got so bored in the second that he decided to pull out a party piece error. Lucky boy not to be punished.
Cristian Romero (CB) – 7/10 – Played the occasional hospital pass but has that aura about him that screams class.
Eric Dier (CB) – 7/10 – It has been quite the career turnaround for Dier, who looks at home next to Romero.
Ben Davies (CB) – 6/10 – For those of a Football Manager persuasion, you’ll understand that Davies’ instructions had been tweaked to ‘Wide Centre-Back, Support’ – which often helped Spurs with numbers in attack. Made a late error to earn himself a booking.
Matt Doherty (RWB) – 7/10 – Offered far more than Emerson Royal does at both ends. Composed finish early doors.
Harry Winks (CM) – 7/10 – Set Tottenham on their way with a terrific spin and defence-splitting ball through to Sessegnon.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (CM) – 7/10 – His deliciously precise ball over the top allowed Kane to volley in Spurs’ third. Didn’t need to be at his brilliant best to dominate.
Ryan Sessegnon (LWB) – 8/10 – Enjoyed Leeds being absolutely all over the shop positionally. Perfectly weighted his cross to Doherty and provided a real throwback to the quality he showed at Fulham.
Dejan Kulusevski (RF) – 7/10 – Involved in absolutely everything early on and sent a sizzling strike into Meslier’s bottom corner. Faded but looks like a good acquisition.
Harry Kane (ST) – 9/10 – Subtle movement into the hole opened up so much space for Spurs. Timed the run for his goal to absolute perfection and executed the finish with his usual ruthlessness, before turning provider in the second half time and time again. Great assist for Son.
Son Heung-min (LF) – 8/10 – Dragged Ayling all over the place with some wonderfully intelligent runs. Showed great strength holding up the ball at times, something you don’t always associate with Son, and finished off Kane’s wonderful pass late on.
Emerson Royal (78′ for Sessegnon) – (RWB) – 6/10 – Could have scored after being sent through on Meslier’s goal.
Steven Bergwijn (78′ for Kulusevski) (RF) – 5/10 – Not enough time on the field to really make an impact.
Dane Scarlett (87′ for Son) – N/A – Also not enough time to make an impact.