Tottenham breathed life into their top four bid while Leeds’ relegation fears deepened after a damaging 4-0 defeat at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.
Matt Doherty put Spurs ahead on nine minutes before Dejan Kulusevski doubled the lead soon after. Harry Kane made it 3-0 inside the opening half an hour and Son Heung-Min added a fourth late on as Antonio Conte ended a turbulent week on a high.
Both teams and their managers went into the match under pressure, with Leeds reeling from a 6-0 hammering at Liverpool in midweek while Spurs limply lost 1-0 at Burnley. Marcelo Bielsa’s future has been thrown into doubt with his side sliding towards the relegation zone, and Conte was forced to clarify his comments after the loss at Burnley where he appeared to question whether he was the right man to lead Tottenham.
It made for a critical game for both managers, with Leeds looking to ease their drop fears and Spurs desperately looking for a way back into the fight for a top four finish. Leeds started the day three points off the bottom three, while Spurs — with four defeats in their past five league games — began seven points off Manchester United in fourth, albeit with two games in hand. Victory here for Conte’s side will give Tottenham renewed hope in the battle to finish in the Champions League places, while Bielsa is on the brink.
Pascal Struijk had the game’s first chance as his header from a corner went narrowly wide after three minutes but soon after, his side were behind. Doherty met Ryan Sessegnon’s pass and clinically slotted home his first Spurs goal. It was the 55th goal Leeds had conceded in the league this season and Bielsa would have not been happy with how easily his side were opened up.
Just six minutes later, it got worse for the home side. Kulusevski danced his way through and unleashed a powerful drive that Ilan Meslier couldn’t keep out.
Robin Koch thought he had reduced the deficit soon after but his side-footed effort cannoned back of the post, and Kane then made Leeds pay with a fine left-footed finish after a superb ball from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Sections of the home support booed the players off at half time and things didn’t improve much after the break. Sessegnon almost added a fourth and Meslier did well to deny Doherty his second of the match as Spurs continually found space behind the Leeds backline.
Meslier kept Kulusevski from adding his second but could do nothing to keep out Son with five minutes to go after he latched on to Kane’s pass to smash home a fourth. The combination between Kane and Son marked a new Premier League record, too, with a combination of 37 goals between the pair beating the previous record of 36 held by Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.
For Leeds, who were denied a consolation when Raphinha’s free kick hit the post, it was a chastening day that leaves them nervously looking over their shoulder amid more questions over Bielsa’s future.