Leeds United 2-1 Sheffield United - Raphinha nightmare, bad day for officials and off-camera moments

Leeds United and Sheffield United bore the look of clubs headed in different directions for long periods during Saturday's game.

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 5:42 am
GOOD DAY - Leeds United ran out 2-1 winners against Paul Heckingbottom's Sheffield United but could have scored more. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The Whites were worth much more than the 2-1 win they had to settle for and even though the Blades stuck in there to the end and could even have nicked a draw, it should never have been that close.

There were numerous opportunities for Leeds to put the game to bed and the visitors' tormentor in chief is the obvious candidate for this week's Good Day honours list.

Good day

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Raphinha

He wasn't at his absolute best and yet he was still a nightmare for the Blades. His touch, skill and pace created a goal and countless problems. When he's running with the ball into space he's terrific to watch, but his close-quarter work in tightly packed areas, right on the touchline, is mesmeric. There was an early nutmeg to enjoy and a pass through the legs that almost created a goal in the second half. £17m. A joke.

Stuart Dallas

Every inch a Premier League player. Came close to a goal a couple of times, probably should have scored, but his contribution was excellent.

Diego Llorente

Whether he can keep Robin Koch out of the line-up for the rest of the season or not remains to be seen but his performance against the Blades was good. Has looked a good signing since getting over his injury issues. Not everything he tried, when it came to adventurous passing, came off but he read the game well and looked comfortable.

Ally McCoist

Loves Leeds. Loves his football. His commentary on Amazon Prime went down a treat with Leeds fans.

Bad day

Paul Heckingbottom

Not the return to Leeds he will have been hoping and dreaming about. He's been handed a tough, tough gig at Bramall Lane and although the scoreline wasn't as bad as it could have been, he's managing a team shy of confidence and depth. It's very difficult to see how he's going to bring in the winning mentality he's talked about. His midfield looked desperately short of quality and only Leeds' wastefulness spared them a beating like the one Leicester City handed them.

Graham Scott and Jarred Gillett

Quite how Graham Scott missed George Baldock going off his feet to clatter Tyler Roberts as it happend is one thing, but with the Blades defender down injured for so long after the incident VAR Jarred Gillett had a good few minutes in which to check, check, and check again. There seems little mitigation at all, it was a reckless challenge and should have resulted in a red card.

Pascal Struijk

The youngster came into this season expecting to play a couple of Premier League matches at most but his performances have made him an important player for Leeds United. It felt like a harsh blow when he was dropped, as Liam Cooper came back in. The reality is that Cooper is club captain, has also performed very well this season and Bielsa was always likely to bring him back in once fit. If everyone stays fit it might be difficult for Struijk to get many more first team minutes this season. It's a good problem to have, when there are so many good options for a position.

Number of the day

42

Leeds United have passed the 40 point mark and while Marcelo Bielsa doesn't believe it should be seen as enough, it's a fine achievement for a newly promoted side to sit on such a tally with eight games remaining.

Off-camera moments

Raphinha's finger wag

Marcelo Bielsa was at his animated best when he directed Raphinha to swap wings during the second half. The Whites head coach cuts a passionate figure on the touchline and was expressing his point with plenty of vigour. Raphinha seemed to respond with a finger wag that said 'not sure about that' as he trotted to the left wing. Bielsa knows best, though, and the Brazilian was soon causing just as many problems on that side as he had on the right.

Ayling's offside celebration

Leeds caught the Blades offside late on in the fixture and Luke Ayling loved it, letting out a roar that would have been appropriate for a winning goal or a final whistle in a cup final. "******* good line," he bellowed to his fellow defenders.

The departed

Leeds and the Blades made a change at the same time, the hosts replacing Patrick Bamford with Rodrigo and the visitors bringing on Oli Burke for Oliver Norwood. Neither Bamford nor Norwood looked delighted to be coming off as they took their seats in the stand. For the Leeds striker, it was most likely a case of wanting to get among the goals against a team Leeds were well capable of creating problems for. For Norwood, it was probably the frustration of a rotten season and a Championship return looming large on the horizon.