The six stand-out Whites displays upon Leeds United's Premier League return

AS the Premier League season draws to a close, we pick out six stand-out games from Leeds United's long-awaited top flight return.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 12:09 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 12:10 pm

Liverpool 4 Leeds 3

Talk about welcome back to the Premier League and a baptism of fire.

Defending champions Liverpool away on the very first day. How would Leeds set up? Would there be a more defensive approach against such potent opposition?

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NOTABLE SUCCESS: Record signing Rodrigo fires home Leeds United's third goal in this month's 3-1 victory at home to Tottenham as a first 'big six' club is beaten at Elland Road. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Yet Marcelo Bielsa's Whites merely took to facing the Reds like it was any other game with their attacking, swashbuckling, high press and energetic football that was clearly here to stay.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds were given a huge fright as Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich all netted but in the end a Mo Salah hat-trick including two penalties and a Virgil van Dijk header gave the Reds all three points.

Leeds left empty handed but having made a huge impression and Klopp's reaction to the TV cameras at full time said it all.

"Wow."

Leeds 1 Man City 1

Leeds got their first points on the board as a 4-3 victory at home to Fulham was followed by 1-0 triumph at Sheffield United.

But then came the toughest test of the lot against title favourites Manchester City as Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola finally locked horns for the first time.

The Whites had to survive an early onslaught that could have been far worse than just a Raheem Sterling opener but Bielsa's Whites then came roaring back in a contest that resembled an epic heavyweight boxing bout and was labelled as a game of basketball.

Gary Neville admitted in commentary for Sky Sports that he couldn't really believe what he was witnessing as both sides went hell for leather and all out attack in a game that featured 35 shots at goal. Twelve of those belonged to Leeds who somehow managed more possession than City in a truly epic 1-1 draw which was sealed thanks to record signing Rodrigo's first goal for the Whites.

Aston Villa 0 Leeds 3

A disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Wolves followed before Leeds travelled to an Aston Villa side that were being tipped as the season's surprise package having won their first four games. Yet Jack Grealish and co were blitzed by a second-half hat-trick from Patrick Bamford who completed his superb treble in just 19 minutes.

The win put Leeds third and it was Bielsa's Whites who would be the division's surprise package, not Villa.

Leicester 1 Leeds 3

Leeds had comfortably established themselves as a Premier League force to be reckoned with by the team the visit of high flying Leicester came around in January.

The previous midweek victory at Newcastle had left the Whites 12th after 19 games and 14 points clear of the drop zone.

But United's record against the division's big guns away from home was suddenly coming under increasing scrutiny after a 3-1 loss at Chelsea, 6-2 hiding at Manchester United and 3-0 defeat at Tottenham. Leeds, though, turned a big corner at Leicester as strikes from Dallas, Bamford and Harrison sealed a deeply impressive victory and easily the most notable success yet.

Man City 1 Leeds 2

Wait. What? Even now you have to look twice at the scoreline, let alone when delving a little deeper into the fact that Leeds played over half of the game with ten men.

But a truly dogged and resilient display accompanied by no abandon of attacking endeavour on the counter led to a stunning victory at the runaway champions elect.

A thriving Dallas fired Leeds ahead three minutes before the break but Leeds then saw captain Liam Cooper sent off on the stroke of half time.

Bielsa even sacrificed Bamford to bring on another defender in Pascal Struijk and City predictably bombarded the Whites in the second half.

The seemingly inevitable equaliser arrived from Ferran Torres with 14 minutes left yet Leeds incredibly stood firm thereafter and countered in stoppage time to bag a winning goal through Dallas. Unquestionably the biggest win of the season and in a style not befitting Bielsa's Whites.

Not quite parking the bus but almost. It was needs musts and showed a new steely side to United's game when required.

Leeds 3 Tottenham 1

Even allowing for their victory at the Etihad, Bielsa was still left stating his desire for Leeds to regularly compete with the division's big guns "as equals."

But on Saturday, May 8 that happened in no uncertain terms as Leeds brushed aside a Champions League-chasing Spurs side that lined up with a frightening array of attacking talent featuring 'big four' Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Gareth Bale and Dele Alli. Spurs were one of the so called 'big six' sides that had recently announced they would be joining a new European Super League but Bielsa's Whites were the super ones at Elland Road as Dallas, Bamford and Rodrigo netted in what was probably the best display of the season given the opposition. 'Big six' sides City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool had all been held to draws at Elland Road but Leeds saved their best 'til last to complete a fine home record against the rebel half dozen.

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Thank you Laura Collins