YEP Jury: Lacklustre Leeds United fail to lay a glove on Brighton

Our panel of fans have their say on Leeds United’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Brighton yesterday.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 4:15 pm
Leeds United's Pascal Struijk clears ahead of Neal Maupay. Picture: Ben Stansall/PA.

DAVID WATKINS

Hard to know what to say about that performance! Awful probably comes closest to the truth.

There was always the likelihood that Brighton would be a tough nut to crack as they knew full well they were within touching distance of Premier League safety with one more win which they have now secured.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Former Leeds United loanee, Ben White, centre, takes on Jack Harrison and Rodrigo. Picture: Ben Stansall/PA Wire.

Add to that the late loss of Kalvin Phillips and the consequent shuffle of the rest of the team and we were not in a strong starting position. To then give away a daft penalty so early in the game, give Brighton something tangible to fight for and, in hindsight, we then had no chance.

Even so, it has to be said that individually Leeds were poor. In particular our crossing of the ball was atrocious with the exception of a couple of decent corners from Stuart Dallas.

But our passing and ball retention in crucial areas was also as bad as I’ve seen this season.

Let’s file it away as a bad day at the office and focus more on just how good this season has generally been.

Brighton and Hove Albion's Danny Welbeck scores his side's second goal of the game against Leeds United. Picture: Mike Hewitt/PA Wire.

Man of the match: No-one comes to mind.

MATTHEW EVANS

The less said about Saturday’s game the better. We’ve rarely been so poor under Marcelo Bielsa and, in the end, Brighton beat us pretty comfortably without looking anything special themselves.

It goes without saying that we missed Kalvin Phillips and we continue to suffer from the absence of Raphinha but those who did take to the pitch looked leggy and lacklustre. It’s concerning that any sort of attacking threat has evaporated in recent weeks and it’s unusual for us to go two whole games without scoring.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa on the sidelines at Brighton. Picture: John Sibley/Getty Images.

Fortunately, we’re in a position where these results don’t matter all that much but you can imagine that Bielsa will want to set this as a low benchmark for our performances and make sure that we are much more up for the game against Tottenham next week.

It’s hard to pick a man of the match with so many poor performances in the team but I thought Pascal Struijk was probably the best of a bad bunch and deserves some recognition for how he’s filled in in recent weeks.

Man of the match: Pascal Struijk.

JACOB STARR

Leeds United football club summed up. Unbeaten in six, beating Manchester City and holding Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, to then lose 2-0 against Brighton with what could possibly be the worst performance of the season.

No Kalvin Phillips in the squad due to injury certainly set the tone and his absence was clear, although the lack of Raphinha seemed to be more significant with the Whites struggling massively in the final third.

Gjanni Alioski’s daft foul in the box on Danny Welbeck led to the hosts’ opener from the spot, and his general first-half display meant it was no surprise to see him substituted at half-time.

Jack Harrison was lively, so too Ian Poveda when he came on, but cross after cross concluded either in Robert Sanchez’s gloves or out for a goal kick, whilst Mateusz Klich and Tyler Roberts did a poor job of helping out Robin Koch in his makeshift midfield position.

Bar Crawley, the two fixtures against Graham Potter’s side this season have arguably been our worst performances.

If we decided to turn up in both games, they would find themselves in a dog fight at the bottom.

Man of the match: Ian Poveda.

KEITH INGHAM

The six-match unbeaten run ended on the south coast as Leeds produced a lacklustre performance to fall to a 2-0 defeat against Brighton.

Leeds were again without Raphinha, still sidelined with a thigh injury, they also had to do without Kalvin Phillips and Helder Costa.

Mat Klich and German international defender Robin Koch replaced the pair.

From the start Brighton looked the more confident team and went in front after Gjanni Alioski conceded a free-kick then the same player fouled Danny Welbeck in the area.

Pascal Gross’ penalty was low and hard, just beating Illan Meslier’s dive.

The hosts had other chances to increase their lead but failed to take them. Leeds’ best efforts came from Diego Llorente but just cleared the bar, then Brighton’s Dan Burn put an effort just wide of his own goal. Jack Harrison also fired wide.

Brighton got a second goal with 11 minutes to play. Welbeck made room for himself in the penalty area to beat Meslier.

It was a decent goal and there was no way back for Leeds.

To be honest a lot of fans were expecting a defeat after three good results against City, Liverpool and Man Utd.

It was very ‘Leeds’ for it to happen and Brighton deserved the win.

Man of the match: Pascal Struijk.

MIKE GILL

The game at Elland Road earlier in the year was one of United’s poorest performances of the season. This showing was worse.

The Whites seemed to be jaded and tired and looked like a collection of players who were dreaming of their summer holidays.

It was just not the sort of performance that you expected to see from a team coached by Marcelo Bielsa.

The problem of replacing an unavailable Kalvin Phillips is no nearer to being solved.

Robin Koch did his best and broke up several Brighton attacks but lacked the ability to think on his feet and initiate new attacks.

Brighton’s first goal was an avoidable penalty as Gjanni Alioski scrambled on the floor and manhandled Danny Welbeck.

Pascal Gross converted the penalty and it was Welbeck who scored the second more than an hour later.

Were it not for Brighton’s awful shooting, the Whites could have been facing a much heavier defeat.

In the absence of Raphinha and Costa, Dallas took up the right-wing slot but struggled to get anything going.

Poveda looked a bit more mobile but neither he, Rodrigo or Hernandez made any difference.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.

ANDY RHODES

After six unbeaten games including against four of the big six, defeat against a relegation-threatened side was always on the cards.

United’s performance was somewhat more lacklustre than in previous games but the players Leeds were missing had an impact. Raphinha’s pace would have been handy, while Kalvin Phillips’ influence was clearly missed in the centre of the field.

Leeds often found themselves swinging crosses into the Brighton box but, when the home side had giants like Dan Burn and Lewis Dunk at the back, that plan was never going to bear fruit.

The Whites did have their chances but were up against it from the moment Gjanni Alioski gave away the penalty.

It was perhaps just an off day in a part of the world where Leeds never have much luck. This season has seen United pull off results both magnificent and mystifying.

If these defeats can be turned into draws next season, that could be the difference between mid-table and Europe.

Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click HERE to subscribe.