YEP Jury - Patrick Bamford bagged Leeds United’s winner - but Illan Meslier was the real hero

The YEP’s Leeds United jury have their say on the Whites’ dramatic late Yorkshire derby win at Sheffield United.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 12:00 pm
Top Stopper: Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier made several outstanding saves, including this one from Sheffield United’s George Baldock and was unanimously voted man of the match by the YEP’s Leeds United jury. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

DAVID WATKINS

With two minutes to go I was on the money with my nil-nil prediction although the game had no right to be goalless; that was only due to excellent performances by the two keepers.

Our own Illan Meslier probably just shaded the ‘best save of the day’ competition with an absolutely stunning point blank stop from John Lundstram that could have put a different complexion on the game.

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But Meslier stood strong and Leeds were good value for the win with a performance of patience and quality that finally undid one of the meanest defences in the Premier League.

But Patrick Bamford sniffed out a late winner to cap another fine personal display

There were many strong performances including Ayling and the Cooper and Koch partnership which looked as if it’s already starting to gel. Stuart Dallas in his midfield role in a new look Leeds formation also deserves credit. Getting points on the board against the less money rich sides is the name of the game and, so far, so good!

Man of the match: Illan Meslier

MATTHEW EVANS

It’s fair to say we were heavily tested at Bramall Lane and had Illan Meslier to thank for still being in the game in order for Patrick Bamford to steal the late winner. Imagine if there had been a packed away end there to enjoy it.

Sheffield United were full of running and pressed us into making more mistakes than usual.

It’s now been a full three games where we’ve not got into the comfortable passing rhythm that we’d come to expect from Bielsa’s Leeds.

It remains to be seen whether that is a new reality as we come up against better sides or simply a passing phase.

Either way we seem to have enough to play the way we need to and six points from nine is about the best we would have hoped for a couple of weeks ago.

I can’t look beyond Illan Meslier for man of the match.

There were good performances from Robin Koch, Luke Ayling, Mateusz Klich and Bamford but those two saves from the keeper Meslier would have been worth the price of admission alone.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier

ANDY RHODES

This is looking alright, isn’t it? Another win, another three points and another strong performance.

For the first time this season, it was a cagey, tight affair. But this can always be expected when you’re playing Sheffield United.

It might not have been so close if Illan Meslier wasn’t on his game. His save from John Lundstram in the first half was out of this world. At just £5m, he could be a real bargain.

The warning signs were there throughout, particularly with the freedom Mateusz Klich granted Sander Berge.

Luckily, the Blades couldn’t take their chances. At the other end, Patrick Bamford can’t stop taking his. The ball might have come off his nose, but that is the kind of luck you need in edgy games. Looking forward, another win will give the team confidence going into tough home fixtures against Manchester City and Wolves.

With games like this to come, United will learn quickly that the Premier League is relentless. Marcelo Bielsa, though, will be more prepared than anyone.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier

MIKE GILL

As most people expected, this was a close encounter. It was like being back in the Championship with the Blades looking to rely on breakaway and if not exactly parking the bus, reversing it slowly into the depot.

Both sides had their chances and both goalkeepers earned their money. It seems a long time ago since we put up with the eccentricities of Kiko Casilla as we reassured ourselves that his distribution was first class and it was worth putting up with his lapses.

Sheffield United did well but probably not as well as Chris Wilder would have us believe.

The honours went to Leeds thanks to the persistence which has stood them in good stead during previous campaigns.

The energetic Jack Harrison picked out our sharp (!) striker Patrick Bamford who headed the ball home to win the match for the Whites.

Bielsa showed his emotional side as he lifted both fists to celebrate.

Good game management ensured that the Whites triumphed. A serious win in a serious league.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier

JACOB STARR

Well that was a lot less stressful than I expected it to be, in terms of score line at least.

Patrick Bamford has clearly found his level, netting his third in as many games to give Leeds a late winner against a lacklustre Sheffield United still in search of their first goal of the season.

Illan Meslier was in inspired form for the Whites in order to keep the scores level in the first half, pulling off a miraculous save from John Lundstram in particular.

United played how they normally do, pressing with intensity and creating chances from out wide, which led to Patrick Bamford’s winner from Jack Harrison’s pinpoint cross.

Two wins from three, I certainly would have taken that before the season commenced. A clean sheet too, that will do the backline a world of good, especially Robin Koch who has had an unfortunate time defending his own box so far.

These are the games we must be winning if we want to consolidate a place in the Premier League, and we did just that.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds beat Sheffield United with a late, late goal from man of the moment Patrick Bamford that took United to sixth place in the Premier League. Not a bad start for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

Tyler Roberts started for the absent Pablo Hernandez with Rodrigo on the bench. No place in the eighteen for new signing Diego Llorente. Captain Liam Cooper made his 200 appearance for the club.

It was an end-to-end first half with both goalkeepers earning their wages with a string of superb saves that kept the game goalless. Aaron Ramsdale keeping out Stuart Dallas and at the other end Illan Meslier keeping out George Baldock and Chris Basham with incredible saves. Leeds were crisp, free flowing but Sheffield were well organised in defence and kept United’s chances to a minimum.

Rodrigo replaced Tyler Roberts after the break, who tried to get into the game but every time he had the ball he had a red and white shirt in his face. The Spaniard was very busy and looked to spring the Sheffield defence with intelligent flick-ons and through balls. Leeds also introduced Ian Poveda, for his first Premier League start and the winger was in the ‘thick’ of the action on the right wing always trying to get past his marker.

The goal that won it came two minutes from time, Rodrigo won the ball just outside the penalty area and gave the ball to Jacky Harrison who put the ball across to supply Patrick Bamford who expertly put the ball past Ramsdale with his nose, or so it seemed. The striker has had many critics, me included, but you can’t argue with three goals in three games.

The spirit that took us to promotion seems there in abundance and a place in the top six is a bonus not many expected when you looked at the opening fixtures. It has to be seen if Victor Orta is successful with acquiring a couple more players to give the squad a little more depth.

A great win

Man of the match: Illan Meslier