YEP Jury: Gritty display from Leeds United finally banishes the ‘capital curse’

Our panel of fans have their say on Leeds United’s 2-1 victory over Fulham – the Whites’ first victory in London since 2017.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 11:20 am
CLINCHER: Leeds United's Raphinha celebrates scoring his side's winning goal at Craven Cottage on Friday. Picture: Andy Rain/PA Wire.

DAVID WATKINS

At last – three points in London! That’s a real monkey off our backs and what a time to do it.

Against an in-form Fulham with the knowledge that a win would get them out of the bottom three, this was a mighty victory that just about guarantees our Premier League status for another season. It’s also a result that I am sure will be dedicated to the great Peter ‘Lash’ Lorimer and will sit alongside the many great memories he has left us.

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WATCHING BRIEF: Fulham manager Scott Parker (left) and Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa on the sidelines at Fulham. Picture: Andy Rain/PA Wire.

It was hard fought; Leeds bossed large parts of the game, particularly the first half hour when VAR chalked off a superb Luke Ayling ‘goal’ but then, quick thinking from a throw-in, a first time cross, and a sublime finish from Patrick Bamford did get us in front.

Fulham equalised from that Leeds Achilles Heel – a corner – but the second half was under our control once Raphinha again showed some clever footwork to restore the lead. It was gritty from Leeds and 13 corners had us scurrying behind the sofa but, finally, the London curse is over.

Now, let’s sort out this corner conundrum.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier.

OPENING SALVO: Leeds United's Patrick Bamford celebrates with Stuart Dallas after scoring his side's first goal of the game at Fulham. Picture: Matt Dunham/PA Wire.

MATTHEW EVANS

Scott Parker drew a lot of plaudits for his full time comments that praised Leeds United and laid into his Fulham side.

United just about deserved the win but Fulham were in the game and could easily have snatched a point or three on another day.

For United it’s the defensive third, specifically around set pieces, that remains the big concern.

BATTLE: Fulham's Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Leeds United's Stuart Dallas battle for the ball. Picture: Justin Setterfield/PA Wire.

Every time Fulham swung a corner in it felt like there was a good chance of conceding. As it was, we rode enough storms to keep their goal count down to one and some savvy finishing by Bamford and Raphinha bagged us all three points.

We now have more than a fortnight to rest, recuperate and get as many players fit and ready for the run in. It looks very unlikely that we can go down from this position so it’s a great opportunity to play with even more freedom than usual and start the preparations for another year in the Premier League.

I just hope it’s one where fans are back because I’m just about done with watching on the TV.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.

TEAM ETHIC: Leeds United in their team huddle. Picture: Andy Rain/PA Wire.

KEITH INGHAM

Some things are worth waiting for, a really special birthday, Christmas dinner, meeting a long lost friend and...a Leeds win in London!

Friday’s 2-1 over Fulham not only gave Leeds their first win in the capital city since 2017, it moved them 13 points away from their opponents, a league ‘double’ over Mr Parker’s team.

Patrick Bamford got the opener. The only English striker in front of him – goals and assists-wise – is the current England number nine Harry Kane.

Another set piece caused Leeds to concede once again. But credit to Leeds they kept attacking and after Fulham missed a golden chance to go in front, 20-odd seconds elapsed before Pat Bamford beautifully slid in a ball for Brazilian winger Raphinha to grab what turned out to be the winning goal.

It wasn’t a perfect performance, Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente both didn’t have the best of games in defence, but as a unit the team battled for every ball there to be won, akin to last weekend’s impressive point against Chelsea.

Time to rest a few aching muscles and hopefully get Liam Cooper and Rodrigo fit again before they play Sheffield United at Elland Road on April 3.

The only sadness this weekend was the passing of Peter Lorimer. The winger was Leeds’ top scorer ever and had been unwell for a long time. I send my respects to his family and friends. Another one of Don’s boys travelling up to heaven to meet up with his old comrades.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.

JACOB STARR

1197 days. That’s how long it has taken us to finally break the London curse. Yep that’s right, Leeds United beat Fulham in the capital, surely putting an end to the slim relegation fears that probably still existed, denting the Cottagers’ in the process.

An early goal from Luke Ayling was just another that got added to the list of perfectly good goals eventually disallowed via VAR. So then I’m thinking, it’s London, this is the start of the script that’s only going to end one way.

Patrick Bamford had other ideas though. A goal and an assist went some way to proving a point to Gareth Southgate.

If you said last year that Kalvin Phillips would be an integrated member of the England set up, Bamford being on the verge, and whispers circling around Luke Ayling – everyone would have laughed.

Raphinha’s second-half finish proved to be the match winner after the hosts had equalised from a corner – shock. However, United could and should have scored a few more, with Raphinha, Jack Harrison and Stuart Dallas going close late on.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.

ANDY RHODES

Finally, at long last, a win in London, and not a moment too soon. Defeat here would have dragged Leeds into a potential relegation fight but a win has left them just a point away off the magic 40-point total.

The balance was perfect across the pitch. While the standard set piece concerns continued, United had the better of Fulham who couldn’t handle their creativity in the final third.

The usual defensive frailties were there, but Leeds were clinical in front of goal.

Patrick Bamford was sharp despite carrying a knock, while Raphinha again showed his quality.

Tyler Roberts had another good game, while Kalvin Phillips had his best game in a long time.

If he continues to play like this, he’ll play his way into Gareth Southgate’s European Championship squad.

While Marcelo Bielsa won’t let his players take their feet off the gas, it will be interesting to see how freely they play when they’re mathematically safe from the drop.

A win next time out would surely end any relegation concerns.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.

MIKE GILL

If there is a better way to start the international break, I have never found it.

Fulham put up a spirited resistance and, just as we expected, were worthy opponents.

The game started a bit like ‘Groundhog Day’, with the depressingly familiar hairline VAR decision going against the unlucky Luke Ayling but United had no time to feel sorry for themselves.

Patrick Bamford got back on the goal-scoring trail with a well-taken effort from Jack Harrison’s well-placed pass.

Illan Meslier had already been called into action. The young Frenchman had a busy evening but as usual, he proved to be more than capable of keeping the Cottagers at bay.

Unfortunately he could do nothing about Andersen’s 38th minute equaliser.

It was a scruffy goal from a corner but they all count.

In the second half Leeds regained the initiative when Patrick Bamford sent Raphinha away. The Brazilian somehow managed to thread home a finely taken goal, which was a thing of beauty.

As for Bamford, the lion hearted striker had little more left to give. He had played through the pain barrier and was replaced by Matteus Klich.

A great result.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier.

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