YEP Jury: A fitting finale to a ‘carnival’ campaign for Leeds United

Our fans’ panel reflect on yesterday’s emotional 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Elland Road.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 6:00 am
Gaetano Berardi clears from Kyle Bartley. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

DAVID WATKINS

Well, that’s it! Our first game of the season at Elland Road… and our last game of the season!

The boys did us proud with a terrific display that showcased the talents we’ve grown accustomed to seeing on the TV every week.

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Pablo Hernandez takes control during his final appearance for Leeds United yesterday. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Whether we were as good as we often looked today I’m not sure as it has to be said that Albion were very, very poor!

Leeds should have won by more and it will irk that we gave away such free gift of a goal but, in the main this was a carnival football end to a carnival season; one that has exceeded all expectations and one that has seen us grow game by game throughout the whole campaign to end with our best run of the season.

It was farewell to Pablo and Gaetano and both were able to go out with great performances as did Gjanni Alioski who we may also have bidden farewell to.

The injury to Kalvin Phillips and that daft goal conceded apart, it was a pretty good end to a fantastic season!

Marcelo Bielsa on the sidelines against West Bromwich Albion yesterday. Picture Bruce Rollinson.

Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.

MATTHEW EVANS

There were lots of stories around this game; the return of fans, a remarkable top-half finish on our first season back in the Premier League and all of the things we’ve missed since March 2020.

In the end it was the departure of Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi that took centre-stage with both starting and both having a chance to score.

Leeds United players on their lap of honour yesterday. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

There was an exhibition feel to much of the game and Marcelo Bielsa turned spoilsport when he dragged the departing duo off in the dying moments of the game.

United looked streets ahead of West Bromwich Albion without really trying and, Kalvin Phillips’ rash tackle at the end aside, it was an enjoyable day out and a celebration of a very successful season.

The Elland Road experience wasn’t quite the same but it was just a sheer relief to get back into the Revie Stand and watch Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United up close once again.

Let’s hope the next time is with a full house in August.

Men of the match: Pablo Hernandez & Gaetano Berardi.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds finished off their 2020/21 season with an impressive 3-1 win over relegated West Brom. The result means that they finish in ninth place, a superb effort from the men in white, green and blue and maroon.

Leeds dominated the first half after they had had a nervy first 15 minutes where West Brom took the game to them. Despite this, Rodrigo put Leeds ahead when he got on the end of a corner. They doubled the lead when Kalvin Phillips beat Sam Johnstone direct from a free-kick. Pablo Hernandez ran the midfield with some stunning passes to remind fans what they will miss now he’s leaving.

Leeds waited until the 69th minute to bring off Gaetano Berardi and a minute later Hernandez followed suit. Both players left the field to a standing ovation and a few tears were shed by the player, the fans and myself at home. Patrick Bamford scored the third from the penalty spot after a Baggies defender handled in the penalty area.

Raphinha wanted to take the penalty but Leeds’ top scorer was determined to add to his tally making it 17 goals for the impressive striker.

West Brom got a consolation goal from Hal Robson-Kanu, after Phillips let a back pass from Liam Cooper go under his foot.

It was a fitting victory that will send the fans home happy and Pablo and Bera on their travels with a smile on their faces.

Thanks to both of them for all their efforts in their time at the club. They won’t be forgotten.

Men of the match: Pablo Hernandez & Gjanni Alioski.

MIKE GILL

As expected, Gaetano Berardi and Pablo Hernandez started the game and both were well worth their place in the side.

Jack Harrison netted at the end of the sweetest of moves but it was given offside. It was not too long before Leeds took the lead.

Raphinha sent a killer corner in and Rodrigo launched himself in at the far post to put the Whites ahead.

West Brom had a few flourishes themselves but couldn’t spoil the party. Kalvin Phillips then made it two with a free-kick. Without taking anything away from Kalvin, Sam Johnson in the Baggies goal could have made a better job of saving the shot.

Pablo Hernandez was being teed up, time and time again but could not score.

When the little magician and the warrior were substituted it was to emotional applause.

Patrick Bamford then converted a penalty for his 17th goal of the season to end what should have been a perfect day.

It was imperfect because Phillips then gave a silly goal away before hurting his shoulder in a rash tackle almost at the death.

Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.

ANDY RHODES

After a thrilling season, this was a fitting send off for two modern day Leeds United legends.

A win always looked on the cards and West Brom played like a side destined for relegation. Rodrigo capped off a superb first season at the club, while Kalvin Phillips got the goal his season has thoroughly deserved.

Patrick Bamford added to his goal tally with a 17th for a remarkable campaign in which he again silenced his doubters.

This was a performance to reward the fans who haven’t seen their side play in person for over 12 months and a sign of things to come if Marcelo Bielsa remains at the helm. The day will be remembered, though, as a send off for two players who helped rebuild this club, two players who epitomised the current ethos of Leeds United.

The two men who were integral to the club rediscovering its identity and challenging for the Premier League have departed but the future looks bright for all parties.

At the end of a brilliant season, we can only look ahead to the next.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.

JACOB STARR

A 3-1 win over West Brom to wrap up the season and record a ninth-placed finish puts the seal on what has been an outstanding campaign for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

Goals from Rodrigo, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford were only part of the story.

If anything, the result was always going to be overshadowed by the farewell to Gaetano Berardi and Pablo Hernandez.

Both players started and were substituted, cue an emotional send off from the Elland Road faithful who have witnessed both players remain at the club through the lowest of the lows, to the highest highs.

Having 9,000 fans in the stadium for a matchday did feel a tad weird, but it made such a huge difference to the atmosphere around the place, and ultimately I’d prefer missing out on a ballot every week for a quarter of the ground to be full.

Slowly but surely, normality is coming back. Roll on a full house next season.

Raphinha and Rodrigo were able to experience the first dose of the home fans and were certainly made welcome in the lap of appreciation following the match’s conclusion.

Hernandez and Berardi, though, the definition of legends.

Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.

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