YEP Jury: Leeds United's defensive steel could be a key factor in promotion run-in
Our fans' panel have their say on Leeds United's 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers.
As we trudged from Hillsborough in the pouring rain two weeks ago, all the talk was about how, if we could win the next two home games, the points won at Preston and Sheffield would be a decent return from two tough trips.
Well, we’ve done it! Another solid if not spectacular performance to see off Blackburn, followed up the defeat of QPR and we are still right in the thick of the Championship promotion race.
There was a time, 35 minutes in, when it looked like we’d finally see the avalanche of goals many have predicted. Two-nil up and running Rovers ragged, we were all tapping our phones to find the calculator app!
It didn’t happen of course and, with Rovers finding our Achilles Heel, in the air from a corner, it proved to be another nervy afternoon wondering if the sucker punch was coming.
Thankfully it didn’t, and maybe a few hours on the shooting range during the break will mean we can close these games out earlier when the action restarts in two weeks’ time.
Man of the match: Jack Harrison.
Slowly but surely Leeds United are putting a bit of a run together now and, in a period with some really difficult games, we are unbeaten between international breaks.
We were sluggish to start with on Saturday but soon asserted our usual dominance against a Blackburn Rovers side that didn’t seem to offer much but could have got something out of the game on another day with our attack misfiring once again.
Jack Harrison has grown into his role and is now fundamental to us scoring goals, captain Liam Cooper was dominant before injury forced him off the field and Pablo Hernandez reminded us what we’ve been missing with a short but sweet cameo towards the end of the game.
Patrick Bamford got an assist and a goal (finally! albeit from the penalty spot) but it was Ben White who was, not for the first time, the stand-out performer in a Leeds shirt.
Man of the match: Ben White.
Another game and another two goals, we could get used to this! The goals are starting to flow for Leeds and, as the Jury has said previously, combining goals with our mean defence could be the key.
Patrick Bamford was rewarded for another fine performance with a goal. Even converting a penalty will be a weight off his shoulders.
In the end he showed both sides of his game, laying on an assist for Jack Harrison to get on the scoresheet once more. It’s three goals and five assists for him now.
The only blot on the paper will be the goal conceded from a corner but, all in all, it was another good day at the office. If United keep recording routine wins like this it will make a statement.
The hope will be that Liam Cooper’s injury isn’t too serious.
Hopefully the international break has come at the right time for him.
The games after the break are more than winnable. Win those and Leeds will be well and truly on the march.
Man of the match: Patrick Bamford.
The first 20 minutes were definitely forgettable but the game burst into life on the half hour mark when Luke Ayling went down in the area.
The full house held its breath as Patrick Bamford placed the ball on the spot. Bamford though didn’t disappoint as he sent the Rovers keeper the wrong way.
One became two five minutes later as Bamford set up Jack Harrison who fired the ball past Christian Walton in the Rovers goal. Leeds were dominating proceedings but gave Rovers a way back into the game by not defending a Stewart Downing corner, Derrick Williams getting a free header that sailed past Kiko Casilla.
In the second half Leeds produced at least three good scoring opportunities with Harrison missing two good ones when in great positions in the area. Tyler Roberts was also superbly denied by Walton as they dominated proceedings. Blackburn did have some decent build up play but rarely, if ever bothered Casilla.
It’s always pleasing if you walk away from the ground with another three points on the board.
I thought Jack Harrison was ‘on it’ but he could have had the match ball if he had taken his chances. That’s not a criticism of the winger at least he was there for the chances created and Tyler Roberts once again had a good 90 minutes under his belt.
At the back Ben White once again showed why so many teams are looking at him. Superb.
Man of the match: Jack Harrison.
Another near capacity crowd watched United do the business against an ordinary Blackburn side.
The Whites began the game in their usual barnstorming manner, pinning Rovers back at every opportunity. A breakthrough came on the half hour as Luke Ayling stormed into the Blackburn penalty area only to be upended. The referee pointed unhesitatingly towards the spot but who would take the penalty kick?
Fans held their breath but Patrick Bamford made no mistake with his kick. It was his first goal since August and everybody hopes that his luck will change. The goal clearly inspired the big striker to send an inch perfect pass to Jack Harrison who slotted the ball home via the right post.
Would we finally witness a rout? Unfortunately not and Rovers even narrowed the deficit when Derrick William’s powered home from Stewart Downing’s corner kick.
Harrison came closest with a shot that whistled past the far post in the second half but United held on for a deserved three points.
A hard earned but deserved three points.
Man of the match: Jack Harrison.
Before the season began, Leeds United CEO, Angus Kinnear said the club were committed to all out attack this season.
I imagined Kiko Casilla playing ‘goalie-when-needed’ and full-on craziness. However, 16 games in, Leeds are the only side in the league to remain in single figures in goals conceded. The two teams above us have let in nearly twice as many and as we begin to get into a rhythm scoring wise, that frugality at the back will stand us in good stead.
Hopes for a routine win were dashed when we did concede one from a corner but in truth Leeds managed this game well with Cooper, White and Phillips dominating. Costa improves steadily and though Harrison frustrates, he remains the most dangerous source going forward.
Bamford did well and it’s nice for him to be on the scoresheet. Two excellent touches demonstrate his class but it was Tyler Roberts who shone. Some talent this kid, playing a role he would not have dreamed of occupying a year or so ago.
He’s learning but I love the way he gets his head up and tries the difficult. Bielsa might produce a real diamond there.
Man of the match: Tyler Roberts.