Classy touch from Kalvin Phillips and Leeds United handed big advantage against Brentford - David Prutton

Raphinha's penalty and Tuesday night’s victory for Leeds United against Crystal Palace was huge, especially with Newcastle United and Norwich City drawing.

By David Prutton
Friday, 3rd December 2021, 4:45 am

I thought Leeds started very brightly against Palace before Palace came back into it and I also felt Palace should have had a penalty really.

Pascal Struijk’s push on Jordan Ayew moving into his own 18-yard box was way too clumsy for me and I am surprised that it didn’t draw more attention from the referee to be honest.

Maybe I watch too much football but I was looking at that and putting it into context of not necessarily a contact sport but of what football is in this day and age.

PLAY ME WHERE YOU LIKE! Leeds United's England international star Kalvin Phillips celebrates in front of the packed Elland Road stands after Tuesday night's thrilling success against Crystal Palace. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.

Consequently, I was left wondering how on earth that did not get looked at or processed.

But once that happened and Leeds rode out a bit of a Palace storm in the second half, I felt like Marcelo Bielsa’s side deserved the three points because of how familiar they looked to the best type of Leeds vintage over the course of decent periods of that game.

Raphinha was great with the penalty and showed great nerve to take the spot kick in the manner that he did at that stage of the game.

He had a bright first half before fading a bit after the break but he stood up to be counted when it was needed the most.

The atmosphere was cracking and the tackle by Kalvin Phillips in the first couple of minutes set the tone for the first half.

A lot of what Leeds are good at was shown and Stuart Dallas sent in a great cross in the first half.

Tyler Roberts could not get on the end of it and that maybe just showed that he is not necessarily an out-and-out striker.

Does Patrick Bamford toe poke that in at the near post? Possibly, although maybe that is an unfair comparison.

Overall, there were so many things to really enjoy about the performance but the most enjoyable thing was, of course, the three points which sets Leeds up nicely for Sunday’s home clash against Brentford.

There was a nice sense of Leeds battling through to earn that win and overcoming a very well-organised Crystal Palace side that I thought played well for patches of the game.

Not that it needed to be addressed but there has also been a bit of mischief in the media about Kalvin Phillips not being played in midfield and I thought his comments about his manager were great in saying that he would play anywhere – whether it was centre-half or in goal or wherever and that there was never any rift.

That was a really classy touch by him, addressing the situation without making it a big deal and doing so in a very likeable and charming way.

Leeds can now move forward and do so with the added bonus of Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling having both played for the Under-23s at Manchester City on Monday night.

It sounds like they are both close to returning which is great considering not just the number of games coming up but the quality they will face.

First up is a Brentford side that started very, very well but will be absolutely battling it out for survival like a lot of the 12 teams below the top eight, just by virtue of how strong the Premier League is.

Tuesday’s win put Leeds just three points behind Manchester United at the time, which is phenomenal.

One result and one performance doesn’t necessarily correct everything that needed addressing over the course of the opening third of the season.

But there were plenty of positives and the most important thing is that those positives are now replicated and that there is once again that willingness to work hard which is now there pretty much 99 per cent of time anyway.

It’s only on the very odd occasion where you can point the finger and say that Leeds have been outrun – only very, very sparingly – and there’s parts of that performance that should set a benchmark for the next few games.

Leeds will have had an extra two days to prepare for Sunday’s game because of Brentford being away at Tottenham last night. That should be an advantage for Leeds.

But I have seen a lot of Brentford over the years and there have been a lot of similarities to what we saw with Leeds coming up, and the Bees are a team that is greater than the sum of its parts right now.

They have got players that can, undoubtedly, cause problems.

There is the physical approach of Ivan Toney, who I have always enjoyed watching, and that is aligned with a deftness of touch and a calmness in getting his goals.

Bryan Mbeumo can play wide or down the middle, Sergi Canos has got a nice manipulation of the ball and, in Rico Henry, they have got someone who can absolutely blast up and down the pitch with some real pace, and not forgetting the likes of Christian Norgaard in the centre.

There wouldn’t be any scope for Leeds to get carried away as the ‘established Premier league team’ because it is still only their second season back, even though it is Brentford’s first-ever season in the Premier League.

There’s plenty to be wary of in this game and it’s by no means going to be straightforward.

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.

With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Click here to subscribe.

For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you Laura Collins