Gjanni Alioski not entirely to blame at Brighton as statistic lays bare Patrick Bamford problem for Leeds United
Leeds United looked like they were on the beach at Brighton, on what was a bad day all round for the Whites.
Few of Marcelo Bielsa's men came out of the 2-0 defeat with much in the way of credit and a number of them looked a pale shadow of themselves.
Leeds United's 2019/20 Young Player of the Year wasn't the Man of the Match, Lewis Dunk probably took the honours there for a rock-solid defensive showing, but White reminded Leeds of what they enjoyed so much last season. He's a classy operator on and off the ball. On it he was excellent for Brighton. Dan Burn was a thorn in the side too, literally, leaving both Luke Ayling and Diego Llorente with torso pain after bruising collisions. He was the physicality for the hosts, where White, Danny Welbeck and Leandro Trossard were the pretty side.
Some exposure to the first-team set-up for as exciting a prospect as Leeds have at the club right now, was a positive on a day short of good news. Robin Koch coming through the game without issue is another good sign. Beyond that, you'd really have to dig to find a highlight.
Marcelo Bielsa insisted he took Alioski off at the break in a tactical switch but the North Macedonian had a terrible first half. Giving away the penalty, passing the ball out of play or to Brighton players, it was far from his best performance. He wasn't alone in underperforming, however and he was not solely responsible for the defeat, not by a long way. There was a lot of wayward passing and flicks that went to blue shirts. Leeds were off the boil in the opposition half. Even their trademark press wasn't up to standard, which meant Brighton could play out from the back with relative comfort.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
Patrick Bamford had 15 touches of the ball in an hour of football. Leeds couldn't find him, so he couldn't impact the game. Replacing him with Rodrigo did nothing to alter the contest. It must have been as frustrating an outing as Bamford has had all season. With Tyler Roberts unable to provide much in the way of a presence for Leeds in attacking midfield, there was no link between the defence and the striker or even the midfield and the striker, so his 60 minutes of toil was entirely in vain. Coming deep to get the ball just left Leeds with nothing up top, even if Bamford found a team-mate. Bielsa absolved his leading goalscorer of blame for this situation. The problem, he said, came before the ball went anywhere near the final third.
Alioski's foul on Welbeck
Once the penalty went in Leeds were always going to find it hard to break Brighton down. The hosts could comfortably form up defensively and make themselves hard to break down, knowing they had the all-important first goal. It proved decisive. Leeds without Raphinha don't look as dangerous, right now, and lacked creativity and fluidity in attack.