Defensive lapses, more Raphinha flair, one game closer to main objective - Leeds United Talking Points

AFTER seeing Leeds United fall to a 2-1 defeat at home to Everton, Lee Sobot looks at a few key talking points from Wednesday night's clash at Elland Road.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 6:16 pm

Defensive lapses costly

Leeds really ought to have taken at least a point from Wednesday night's clash against the Toffees who somehow managed to escape with only conceding the once in the second half.

Leeds had 16 shots on goal compared to Everton's ten and the Toffees were saved by the woodwork twice and also a notably impressive triple save from keeper Robin Olsen to deny Mateusz Klich, Raphinha and Jack Harrison in rapid succession.

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HEROICS: Everton's Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen somehow keeps out Leeds United winger Raphinha's strike from a tight angle, seconds after also denying Mateusz Klich. Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

Raphinha once again looked a class act and it was a definite relief to see both the Brazilian winger and also Patrick Bamford line up from the off following the concerns about their conditions following Sunday's 3-1 win at Leicester City.

The Whites again produced some lovely attacking football against Everton but ultimately paid the price for two poor pieces of defending in the first half with the Whites defence far too static to Lucas Digne's cross for Gylfi Sigurdsson's ninth-minute opener.

The Achilles heel of defending set pieces then again came back to haunt Leeds as Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed home Sigurdsson's corner four minutes before the break.

United have now conceded 11 goals from set pieces for the worst record in the division which is one worse than Sheffield United.

Overall, Marcelo Bielsa's Whites produced a very good performance against the Toffees but unless Leeds really hammer the goals in then the issues at the other end will keep on letting them down unless they are sorted.

Another game closer to main objective

Leeds were unable to add any more points to their current haul of 29 in Wednesday night's encounter but third-bottom Fulham suffered a 2-0 loss at home to Leicester City and essentially it means another step closer to sealing United's main objective.

It's easy to forget given the fact that Leeds are 11th and moreover their impressive displays upon their Premier League return but the primary aim this season is staying up.

Wednesday's reverse meant an opportunity squandered in terms of kicking even further clear of the dropzone in addition to making inroads on the top half.

But Leeds are ultimately still 15 points clear of the dropzone with 17 games left and Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United all still have a huge task to even get out of the bottom three, let alone catch Leeds.

West Brom are actually now top of the list in the relegation betting market with the Baggies 1-11 to go down. The Blades are 1-6 and Fulham are 4-9.

Newcastle United are then 9-4 and Burnley 29-5. Leeds, meanwhile, are 90-1 and much bigger odds than Brighton (25s), Wolves (33s) and even Crystal Palace (45s).

Carry on as they are and the Whites will be more than fine with ironing out the various issues in their play likely to determine just how high up they finish.

Will the new pitch help home record?

All eyes were naturally on the new temporary hybrid Elland Road playing surface acquired from Tottenham Hotspur for around £300,000.

Following heavy rainfall in the lead up to the game, players from both sides continually slipped and Whites head coach Bielsa admitted that United's players appeared to lose their footing more than the visitors.

"I only saw my team slip and I didn't see the opponents slip," said Bielsa when asked about Leeds' issues with the pitch.

But Bielsa also stressed that the surface was much better than the one Leeds had been faced with in their previous games and United will surely get better on their new surface the more they play on it.

United now have nine more games at Elland Road remaining - against Crystal Palace, Southampton, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Sheffield United, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and West Brom.

Leeds currently have the sixth worst home record in the division having amassed just 11 points from a possible 30 via three wins, two draws and five defeats.

Comparatively, the Whites have the division's eighth-best record on their travels with 18 points out of a possible 33 via six wins and five losses and oddly no draws.

In these strange times without crowds, home advantage for any club naturally seems to have been nullified but hopefully the new pitch will eventually help United take a healthier points return at Elland Road and Monday's clash against Palace is next.

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Thank you Laura Collins