Spotlight on Helder Costa as Leeds United wingers cause chaos but Whites somehow left protecting one-goal lead

TWENTY-one shots yielded just a single goal for Leeds United in Saturday's 1-0 win at home to Bristol City with nine of those attempts coming down the right-hand side.

Sunday, 16th February 2020, 12:05 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th February 2020, 12:08 pm
RAPID: Leeds United winger Helder Costa caused mayhem down the right flank in Saturday's 1-0 win against Championship visitors Bristol City yet failed to leave with an assist or a goal. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Remarkably, right-back Luke Ayling led the way with five with right winger Helder Costa next with four and producing one of his best displays yet in a Whites shirt.

For Costa, all that is missing at present is the very final touch by way of an assist or a goal, a theme common elsewhere throughout the rampant Whites.

The package to bring Costa to Elland Road from Wolves is costing around £16m and the Portuguese winger still only has three goals and one assist to his name so far this term.

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The 26-year-old was heavily involved in Saturday's success against the Robins, often left in acres of space on the right and successful with five out of eight dribbles, the most on the pitch alongside City's Jay Dasilva.

In having four shots on goal, Costa also offered United's second most-likely goal threat with only Saturday's star man right back Ayling offering more shots with five.

As part of a superb display against his former side, Ayling saw three shots blocked with one off target and one crucially finding the back of the net to ensure United left with all three points.

Ayling had 104 touches of the ball - the most on the field - with the right back successful with all three of his tackles.

The right back often linked up with Costa to good effect but only 29 of Costa's 43 passes were successful and it was a similar story on the other flank with 26 of Jack Harrison's 38 passes finding their man.

Harrison was successful with two of his three attempted dribbles and saw his one attempt at goal crash back off the crossbar.

Shots-wise, left back Stuart Dallas had three attempts at goal with two off target and one hitting the crossbar while striker Patrick Bamford managed two - the same as midfielder Mateusz Klich.

Bamford should have buried his chance in the second half which failed to beat 'keeper Daniel Bentley with the striker's other attempt off target but Bamford's hold up play was sorely missed when taken off for Jean-Kevin Augustin who put his one attempt wide.

Pablo Hernandez, Kalvin Phillips and skipper Liam Cooper also had one attempt each while three of Costa's shots were on target but saved with the other one deflected over.

The winger was also inches away from sliding home a Harrison cross just after the hour mark and then looked certain to score eight minutes later when rounding Bentley only for the shotstopper to somehow tip his effort wide.

Costa should have scored and quite how Leeds were left longing for the full-time whistle at 1-0 in stoppage time beggared belief.

In the circumstances, the Whites very sensibly kept the ball in the corner in the dying seconds.

United were excellent with Ayling virtually unstoppable.

Just in front of him, Costa and on the other side Harrison also caused havoc.

If Saturday's display is continually repeated but with more of an end product and particularly out wide then Leeds will be out of sight.