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Tottenham vs. Leeds United Premier League Preview & Prediction: Will The World Cup Play a Role in This Fixture?

Tottenham vs. Leeds United Premier League Preview & Prediction: Will The World Cup Play a Role in This Fixture? article feature image
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Marc Atkins/Getty. Pictured: Jesse Marsch.

  • Tottenham takes on Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday morning.
  • Will the upcoming World Cup play a role in this fixture?
  • See why Anthony Dabbundo is backing the Peacocks.

Tottenham vs. Leeds United Odds

Tottenham Odds -155
Leeds United Odds +390
Draw +320
Over/Under 2.5 (-166 / +130)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Spurs won their Champions League group with late drama but they have really struggled in the Premier League over the last month.

Losses to Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle and Liverpool have them sitting in fourth place in the league. The regression was inevitable for Spurs after their early season performances didn’t match up with the lofty results they had achieved. 

Now they get a tricky last match before the World Cup at home against Leeds United on Saturday. The Peacocks won two straight games against Liverpool and Bournemouth.

Tottenham have dominated both ends of the pitch on set pieces, but their production from open play has been a bit lackluster. Without a key attacker and defender, Leeds can pressure them and create high turnovers against a Spurs team that has struggled to deal with presses most of the season.

Tottenham Facing Questions

Last season, I’d say that Spurs would be well set up to take advantage of Leeds’ high press to get in behind and create multiple big scoring chances. But Spurs haven’t been good at ball retention through pressure this season. And without Son, the attack lacks the counter-attacking and transition prowess. 

Last year the attack didn’t dominate field tilt and shot totals, but they easily won the transition moments and created more than enough big scoring chances to offset the other issues. Spurs had the third-best attack in the league once Antonio Conte became manager.

That magic hasn’t continued into this season. The attack ranks eighth in big scoring chances created and has relied on set pieces to generate chances. I’m going to continue to bet against Spurs unless they show signs of improvement. Tottenham is in first place defensively in xG per set piece allowed and second in attacking xG per set piece. 

I’m skeptical that this level of elite production can be consistently reliable for a team that’s supposed to be amongst the league’s elite. It can help an attack marginally for sure and create an edge. But can it sustain Spurs? I’m not convinced.

Additionally, with the World Cup looming, it only adds another factor into the equation.

Leeds United Finding Their Feet

Leeds have a classic high pressing, high-risk, high-reward profile when you look at their underlying numbers. The Peacocks are actually top-seven defensively in crosses allowed, passes allowed into the penalty area and progressive dribbles.

They do a good job of stopping the opponent from progressing the ball, but when they do get broken through, it usually leads to a big chance.

Leeds are 14th in non-penalty xG allowed. The defense has its issues from an individual defending perspective, but Jesse Marsch’s side has really encouraging numbers otherwise.

The Peacocks have a positive xG difference per 90, sit seventh in field tilt and have forced the third most high turnovers. This is a team that is looking at more improvement.

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Tottenham vs. Leeds United Pick

My projections make Spurs around a 0.8-goal favorite at home. I’m taking Leeds on the road catching a full goal. Because of injuries and the World Cup, Spurs will be without Son and potentially Cristian Romero, who is a key passer and ball progressor as Spurs attempt to break through the Leeds pressure. 

The matchup comes down to whether or not Spurs are able to break through the press and create 1-2 big scoring chances to punish Leeds. I expect Spurs to turn the ball over in their own half to also allow Leeds to produce a couple big chances at the other end.

One key will be how exposed Leeds are defensively when they lose possession in the midfield. With a healthy Spurs front three, I’d be more hesitant to play Leeds here. But, given the injury to Son and the bad motivational spot for Spurs midfield, the Peacocks are the play

Tottenham’s top midfield and attacking players — Ivan Perisic, Harry Kane, Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg — all have flights to Qatar for the biggest tournament of their lives upcoming. I don’t know what to expect from an energy level from either team, and that extra variance can only favor the underdog here.

The Pick: Leeds +1 (-120)

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