Conte ready to start climb
Perhaps as a consequence of almost blowing a 3-0 lead in Antonio Conte‘s first game in charge – a 3-2 European win over Vitesse – the Italian played it cagey in his opening league game in charge of Spurs.
That was a 0-0 draw at Everton and the stats say Tottenham didn’t even manage a shot on target.
Conte will prefer to note that the thickness of a post stopped them bagging all three points after substitute Giovani lo Celso hit the woodwork with just two minutes remaining.
The latest international break means another two weeks have passed so Conte has been able to get his feet under the table a little more even though many of his best players were away with their countries.
The plus side of that is Harry Kane returning to club duties with seven goals under his belt after smashing hat-tricks against Albania and San Marino.
Conte will be delighted his main goal threat is brimming with confidence again and this looks an ideal chance for the former Chelsea boss to get Tottenham moving up the table.
They’ll head into the weekend in ninth spot with 16 points and a home record in the top flight of won three, drawn none and lost two.
Leeds still struggling with injuries
Four points from the last two games – a 2-1 win at Norwich and a 1-1 home draw with Leicester – have boosted Marcelo Bielsa’s mood.
Before that mini-revival, Leeds were battling to stay above water but they headed into the international break with a little breathing space after pulling up to 15th.
Does this mean they’re about to embark on the sort of exciting run which helped them finish ninth in their first season back in the top-flight since 2004?
The problem with thinking that Leeds will continue to shake off those accusations of ‘second-season syndrome’ is obvious though: the treatment table at Elland Road.
Striker Patrick Bamford is still out, while Luke Ayling, Junior Firpo and Robin Koch are all sidelined. There are also doubts over youngsters Jamie Shackleton and Joe Gelhardt.
With limited options, the men from West Yorkshire look up against it.
Tottenham are obviously favourites but there’s some uncertainty in the market as reflected by the price of 1.824/5.
Leeds are 4.67/2 to bank all three points while The Draw is on offer at 4.216/5.
Looking at past head-to-heads, Leeds have lost their last four games away at Spurs and last won there in 2001.
If the relevance of that can be questioned, perhaps past Conte v Bielsa matches are worth perusing. Well, they might be except the two managerial giants have never actually clashed.
Of course, the big problem for Tottenham in the Premier League this season is Kane’s lack of goals. He’s managed just one and his team-mates haven’t been able to make up for the surprise deficit.
It means Tottenham have managed a paltry nine goals from their 11 games which makes them the second lowest scorers behind Norwich.
But… this is where the corner can be turned.
Kane won the Golden Boot last season and, on his recent England form, he’s as prolific as ever. Note also that he has six in cup competitions for Spurs this term.
Kane hitting the goal trail for Tottenham in the league is a matter of when not if and Leeds could prove perfect opposition.
Bielsa’s side have managed just one clean sheet in the Premier League this season and I’m going to take Spurs to win this with something in hand.
The basic win price is okay but I’m happy to push and opt for Spurs (-1) on the handicap at 3.1511/5.
Harry Kane scored the opening goal in this fixture last season when Spurs eased to a 3-0 win and I’m going to take him to repeat the feat and set the hosts on their way.
Heading over to the Bet Builder, Kane to score first and Tottenham to win pays around 4.57/2.
More elaborate options are Kane to score two or more in a Spurs win at 6.05/1 while the hat-trick version of that bet pays just under 25.024/1.
Tottenham have benefitted from four own goals in all competitions this season, more than any other Premier League side. The only players at the club to score more than twice for Spurs so far this season are Harry Kane (7) and Son Heung-min (5).