Sam Allardyce’s side go into the final weekend of the season needing a win to stand any chance of avoiding relegation. Here, we preview their crunch game against Spurs.
Leeds vs Tottenham: Quick Stats
- According to the supercomputer, Leeds have just a 3.0% chance of securing survival on the Premier League’s final day. As well as beating Spurs, they need Leicester and Everton’s results to go their way if they are to survive.
- Leeds have won none of their last eight Premier League games
- Tottenham have to better Aston Villa’s result if they are to overtake them and sneak into the Europa Conference League. The supercomputer gives a 27.0% chance of Spurs jumping up to seventh after Sunday’s games.
- Nobody has scored more goals on the final day of the season in the Premier League’s history than Harry Kane (nine). If he scores here, he will equal Andy Cole’s Premier League record of scoring in 26 different games in a single season.
The end of this season can’t really come soon enough for either of these teams. Leeds are essentially waiting to be put of their misery, with relegation and a return to the Championship looking pretty inevitable now, while Tottenham are set to finish outside the European places for the first time in 13 years after limping meekly towards the season’s finish line.
Leeds’ attempts to save their season with the appointment of Sam Allardyce appear as though they will fail. There has been a little improvement on the pitch since notorious firefighter Allardyce was brought in, but not enough in the way of cold, hard points. A battling defeat at Manchester City gave some hope of a great escape, but then they threw away leads in typical fashion against Newcastle – by giving away two penalties – and West Ham to extend their current run of games without a win to eight.
Oh, by the way, Leeds will be relegated if they fail to beat Tottenham on Sunday.
And even if they do manage to end that woeful run and take the three points, they are also relying on Leicester failing to win at home to West Ham and Everton losing at home to Bournemouth. If Everton draw, Leeds will need a three-goal swing in goal difference as well. Our supercomputer reckons there is a 3.0% chance of all three results going Leeds’ way. In other words, it’s not looking good.
For a full explanation of everything to be decided this weekend, and all the possible permutations in the relegation battle, see our explainer here.
Tottenham have been on a poor run of their own. They have slipped down the table steadily over the last few weeks, winning only one and losing five of their last seven games. They are staring down the barrel of an eighth-place finish, which would be their worst league finish since 2008-09.
Ryan Mason’s side need to better Aston Villa’s result against Brighton if they are to overtake them and finish seventh to earn a place in next season’s Europa Conference League. Spurs fans are pretty split on whether or not they want to be in that competition next season, but Mason will want to finish the season with a win, if only to give his battered reputation a bit of a boost.
There is a chance this could be Harry Kane’s final game for the club, with rumoured interest from Manchester United as the Tottenham star enters the final year of his contract. He tends to end campaigns in good form and will be looking to score the two goals he needs to reach 30 Premier League goals in a season for the second time in his career.
Tottenham’s games this season have seen more goals than any other team in the Premier League (128), while Leeds aren’t far behind in sixth (121). Given Leeds have also dropped 25 points from winning positions this season, which is the joint most alongside Nottingham Forest, it’s fair to expect goals and drama at Elland Road on Sunday.
Tottenham 4-3 Leeds: 12 November 2022 (Premier League)
The return fixture between these teams came in their last game before the World Cup, and truly was an extraordinary encounter. With what felt like every half decent chance being scored, it certainly wasn’t a game to be remembered for the defending or goalkeeping. Seven goals were scored from just 2.9 xG, with Leeds going in front on three separate occasions before Rodrigo Bentancur scored twice in three minutes to put Spurs in front for the first time in the game just when it mattered.
The win left Tottenham fourth in the table and still well within touching distance of Manchester City in second, while Jesse Marsch’s Leeds were 15th, a few points clear of the drop zone heading into the World Cup break. How times change, eh?
As for team news, Leeds will be desperate for one of Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo – both of whom picked up injuries at West Ham last week – to be fit for this game. They need goals and without those two their job will be even more difficult. Tyler Adams, Stuart Dallas and Luis Sinisterra all remain absent.
For Spurs, Cristian Romero and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg are both doubts, while Bentancur, Hugo Lloris, Ryan Sessegnon and Eric Dier are all still out.
Previous Meeting Line-ups:
Tottenham: Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Clément Lenglet, Eric Dier, Emerson Royal, Ivan Perišić, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Rodrigo Bentancur, Dejan Kulusevski, Harry Kane, Richarlison. Used subs: Davison Sanchez, Matt Doherty, Yves Bissouma, Lucas Moura
Leeds: Illan Meslier, Liam Cooper, Robin Koch, Rasmus Kristensen, Pascal Struijk, Marc Roca, Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson, Rodrigo, Crysencio Summerville, Wilfried Gnonto. Used subs: Mateo Joseph, Luke Ayling, Sam Greenwood, Joe Gelhardt
There really is quite a lot to say about the form of these two teams heading into this game, and not much of it is good. Well, none of it is good. At all.
Leeds are without a win in eight, and only have three wins to their name this calendar year. They have the worst defensive record in the entire Premier League and, after losing 3-2 to West Ham last week, they have conceded three or more goals in 10 matches this season.
Spurs, meanwhile, have won only one of their last seven games, and they haven’t won away since January, doing so in the last game they managed to keep clean sheet in – at Fulham on 23 January. They’ve conceded 26 goals in their last 10 games, which is basically the entire reason they’ve plummeted down the table.
The only hope for these two teams is that something has to give. Although, if ever there was to be a game when both teams manage to lose, this will be it.
Leeds are sweating on the fitness of Rodrigo and Patrick Bamford, but it seems more likely that the Spaniard will be ready to play here. Spurs rarely fail to score, so it’s likely Leeds will need at least a couple of goals (or potentially more if they are trying to beat Everton on goal difference). Rodrigo will be key to their chances.
He is their top scorer in the Premier League this season with 13 goals, which is as many as he managed in the previous two seasons combined. He also scored twice in Leeds’ defeat at Tottenham so might fancy his chances in this fixture against a leaky Spurs defence.
Tottenham: Yves Bissouma
Finally back to fitness and getting a mini run in the Tottenham team, in the absence of the injured Rodrigo Benatancur and potentially Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, too, this is a real chance for Bissouma to show what he can do. He may even consider it an opportunity to convince the club’s hierarchy that there is no need to go too big on reinforcements in central midfield over the summer, particularly given he hasn’t had much opportunity to do so over the course of the season so far.
He will also be key in this game because, alongside Oliver Skipp, he will be tasked with protecting Spurs’ flimsy defence as well as providing some solid foundations for their attacks to be built on. If, as is expected, Mason goes with an attack-minded team – with four of Kane, Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Arnaut Danjuma likely to start – the double pivot will have a lot of work to do when Leeds have the ball.
Bissouma, who has had a disappointing first season at Spurs, needs to take this chance to kickstart his career in north London ahead of next season.
Leeds vs Tottenham Prediction
It is the final day of the season, and with two of the Premier League’s most unpredictable sides facing off in a game that has so much riding on it, anything could happen. Our supercomputer gives Leeds only a one in four chance of getting the win they require to stand any chance of survival, but given how desperate the situation is, the Elland Road crowd will get the stadium going and that could play a part that the supercomputer is too emotionless to consider.
Spurs have given little reason to believe they could withstand much in the way of consistent pressure, and Allardyce will have his team up for the occasion.
Spurs are given a 49.2% chance of winning the game, simply because of the attacking talent they have in the squad. It’s hard to see either team’s defence holding up, so whatever happens, we can be sure to expect bad defending and goals, goals and more goals.