Leeds United 3-1 Burnley - who had a good day for Marcelo Bielsa's Whites, who didn't and off-camera Elland Road moments

Leeds United are off and running in 2022 thanks to exactly the kind of performance they will need to stay out of trouble at the foot of the Premier League.

By Graham Smyth
Monday, 3rd January 2022, 11:27 am
Updated Monday, 3rd January 2022, 11:28 am

Their 3-1 win over Burnley was fully deserved and featured some of the lovely, crisp, one-touch football that has been missing from their attacking play this season, and plenty of grit and determination.

It was a good day for the Whites, but some shone in particular.

Number of the day

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Leeds United opened up an eight-point lead over the Clarets with this win. That's a huge gap for Dyche's men to overcome, even with games in hand. Losing would have put everyone around Elland Road on edge, but winning impressively has soothed the frayed nerves somewhat.

Mateusz Klich completed eight key passes - the pass that leads directly to a shot - which was four more than Burnley's entire team managed according to Fbref.com

Turning point

GOOD DAY - Jack Harrison showed an improvement in form and scored an important goal for Leeds United against Burnley. Pic: Tony Johnson

Forshaw tackle

Adam Forshaw went flying into a tackle with Johann Gudmondsson and won it perfectly. It was an early signal of intent and intensity as Leeds bested Burnley physically. The midfield outfought, ourtun and outplayed their rivals and Forshaw was key. Early on he was ferocious.

Good day

Jack Harrison

There were players who played better but Harrison needed that goal so badly. It's been a difficult, often fruitless season after lighting up the Premier League with so much end product last term. You could see the relief in his celebration. It has to be a moment that spurs him on, though.

Adam Forshaw

The midfielder is worth his weight in gold to Leeds United right now. Continues to confound expectations following an almost two-year layoff. Has energy to burn and covers so much ground. Even his lap of honour at full-time was a jog.

Marcelo Bielsa

The hug said it all. This has been a tough period for Bielsa, perhaps his toughest as Leeds boss and this game was crucial. Despite criticism from various quarters and defeats of varying degrees of severity, he has stuck to his guns, refused to seek excuses and got his team playing just how he wants them to, at exactly the right time. There will be other big games but this feels like it could be the start of the road to safety.

Mateusz Klich

Maligned for his error at Chelsea when he gave away a stoppage time penalty and struggling to hit the heights this season, Klich needed a big performance. He seems to like playing against Burnley, having done so well at Turf Moor late last season. Like Forshaw he was everywhere, making selfless runs and using the ball really well. His work in the lead up to James' goal was fantastic.

Stuart Dallas

What a way to cap 250 appearances for Leeds United. This was one of his best performances of the season. He was on the front foot, sniffing out opportunities to nip in and intercept the ball to get Leeds moving forward. He took his goal brilliantly and the celebrations showed just how much it meant to him.

Bad day

Tyler Roberts

Picking up a yellow card means he'll sit out for a game but picking up a calf problem could worsen things for the forward. It wasn't quite his day, with finishing eluding him but his overall performance was good at least.

Sean Dyche

Dyche felt Leeds had a physical edge and more desire than his men, which must have hurt a man like him. The Clarets look like a side in deep trouble and this game represented a huge opportunity to narrow the gap on Leeds and give a fellow relegation battler a meltdown to start the year. Instead Burnley were second best and slipped even further behind Leeds.

Bottle thrower

When tickets are so hard to come by to watch Leeds United back in the Premier League after such a long absence and when the atmosphere at Elland Road is so enjoyable, why would you do anything to risk missing out altogether? There has been a spate of missile-throwing of late, from a small minority, and Leeds will be keen to stamp it out. If identified, the fan who threw the bottle that struck Matt Lowton will be facing a lengthy stadium ban.

Off-camera moments

For the man who has warned, repeatedly, that we're in danger of losing physicality from the game of football, Dyche was quick to react to challenges in the hope of convincing referee Paul Tierney something was amiss. Forshaw flew into one near the touchline and got nothing but ball, only for Dyche's arms to go up. He was highly animated throughout, giving the officials both barrels on numerous occasions, which was no surprise with the stakes so high. His post-match praise for Leeds and his refusal to make much of the bottle-throwing incident showed his class.

A photographer sitting in front of the Don Revie stand kindly attempted to throw the ball back to Burnley keeper Wayne Hennessey for a goal-kick, only to lob it straight at the back of Jack Harrison's head. The Leeds winger saw the funny side, after a second of mild irritation. James Tarkowski was also all smiles when the ball went out in the corner of the ground between the North and West stands and his refusal to trot over and fetch it raised the ire of Leeds fans. It was the kind of interaction Luke Ayling enjoys on a regular basis with opposition supporters. Ayling meanwhile enjoyed a game-long dialogue with former Leeds man Chris Wood, just as he did at Turf Moor last season. Diego Llorente had plenty to talk about with various Clarets, although those chats did not look half as amiable as Ayling and Wood's.

The full-time whistle brought more hugs for Bielsa's staff from the head coach, while Raphinha simply sat down on the turf, spent.

Stuart Dallas spotted a familiar flag behind the goal in the Don Revie stand and went for a chat with his fellow countrymen. The Ulsterman then continued on his lap of honour only to come within inches of being caught with unintentional slide tackles by a pair of youngsters. They raced to their hero only for the slippy surface to welcome them. Dallas ensured they returned to an upright position and led them back to the stand, with stewards hovering. The South Stand clearly hoped Dallas would do the Kalvin Phillips fist-pump cheerleading act and when all they got was a wave and a kiss there were tongue-in-cheek boos. There was plenty of player-fan interaction after the game. Luke Ayling went to give his shirt to a little girl with a sign that asked for that very thing, leaving her in floods of tears.