Conte to earn nervy win in home bow against Leeds

Antonio Conte will make his home league debut in the dugout with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon when his new side welcome Leeds United to north London. The former Chelsea head coach has a tough task on his hands to conjure up more creativity with the squad available to him before the January transfer window. The visitors are also performing rather badly in the league, and Marcelo Bielsa's patented strategy is not paying dividends. Therefore, this might be a favourable fixture to earn three points. Read our preview here:

Høj polloi

The main issue for Conte to resolve lies in central midfield. Even with all the personnel present, there has been a steadily increasing emphasis under previous managers to look to the elite striker partnership of Heung-min Son and Harry Kane to dig them out of a hole, with the latter in particular coming deep to make something happen. Getting the right tune out of Tanguy Ndombele will be important, but he alone is not sufficient to plug the gap, especially if his new boss decides to implement a wing-back system. Indeed, such a formation would suit Pierre-Emile Højbjerg down to the ground, though the Danish dynamo is a doubt for the weekend, as is Gio Lo Celso, who might also find favour under new management. Oliver Skipp is suspended, so the hosts might be down to the bare bones in the middle of the park.

Dan! Dan! Dan!

Patrick Bamford's prolonged absence continues to hit The Whites hard, though Bielsa's men did gain a more than creditable 1-1 draw at home to Leicester City before the international break. Junior Firpo could retain his place at left-back, but fellow defenders Luke Ayling and Robin Koch are certainties to miss out. The bulk of the attack-minded players sans Bamford should be in situ, and Dan James, if pushed to the spearhead of those efforts, will count on their support to penetrate the newly formed defensive trio at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The versatile Welsh wide player could be deployed more centrally, although he is likely to drift off the frontline both horizontally and vertically to force the backline to push up.

One normal game

Sometimes, a match is more intriguing when both sides have been struggling, and that certainly seems the case this weekend. Spurs will be buoyed somewhat by Conte's stewardship, but even he can't paper over all the cracks, some of which have been developing for several years at the club. Leeds aren't going to make it easy for his new side to take all three points either, so odds of 3.50 at bet365 for a home win with both teams scoring are tempting.

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