Leeds United 2 Everton 2: YEP Jury give their verdicts

After a near 18-month wait, the fans packed back into Elland Road on Saturday and were treated to a pulsating encounter. Here’s what our fans’ panel made of the match:

By Mark Absolon
Monday, 23rd August 2021, 4:45 am
Leeds 
United fans enjoy their return to Elland Road. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Leeds United fans enjoy their return to Elland Road. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

DAVID WATKINS

That’s how we want our football served up! A full, raucous, colourful stadium, no quarter asked or given, goals, tackles and controversy! What was not to admire?

We got our entertainers mojo back this week and the inclusion of Kalvin Phillips seemed to make all the difference, pulling the jigsaw together. Leeds fans will sleep easier now than we did this time last week.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips takes on Everton's Andros Townsend. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

34 attempts on goal divided equally between the two sides with Leeds dominating possession but Everton set up to play on the counter produced a fabulous game and probably a fair result; it would have been a travesty had either team nicked all three points.

Two Jurors predicted the draw (Jacob got it bang on at 2-2) and while it is always difficult to know how good any team is at this early stage, I think it’s safe to assume that both the Toffees and Bielsa’s Whites will be among the best of the pack chasing the big six this year. We now need to follow this up with another strong performance at Turf Moor next week.

Before then though, will it be the U23s against Crewe?

Man of the match: Raphinha.

Leeds United's fans in full voice back at Elland Road. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

KEITH INGHAM

Well that was a lot better! A cracking game between two good teams that 36,000 plus fans, on their return to Elland Road must have enjoyed.

The 2-2 draw gave Leeds their first point of the season and it could have been three right at the ‘death’ if VAR had given them a penalty as injury time was running out.

The first half, started with an accompaniment of swirling flags given to fans to wave as the team came out.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa on the sidelines against Everton. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

It was extremely moving as a minute’s applause remembered fans and legendary players who sadly passed during the time we’ve been away from Elland Road.

Calvert-Lewin gave the visitors the lead on the half hour after VAR ruled that Liam Cooper had impeded the striker.

Leeds were level just before the break, Patrick Bamford finding Mateusz Klich in the penalty area and the midfielder finished superbly.

The second half was only minutes old when Everton went in front, Gray slotting an effort just inside the far post.

Leeds United's Liam Cooper thanks the fans at the full time. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The equaliser was sublime, Raphinha curled a superb shot around Pickford and into the net.

After last week’s disappointing result this performance was far better and the midfield of Phillips, Dallas (who moved to left-back) and Klich battled all afternoon as did substitute Jamie Shackleton who slotted in well after replacing Junior Firpo.

Meslier also had a fine game with some important saves.

It was great to be back!

Man of the match: Raphinha.

JACOB STARR

A game which matched the occasion. A 532-day wait ended by an entertaining 2-2 draw between two pretty decent teams.

That must be one of the few times I predicted the correct score!

Leeds had to show character after last weekend’s drubbing, they had to. And they did, coming from behind twice to grab our first point of the season.

It always helps to have Kalvin Phillips back in the team.

Liam Cooper’s unnecessary pull back on Dominic Calvert-Lewin saw VAR award the Toffees a penalty which the forward narrowly despatched. Not quite the start to Premier League Elland Road life we hoped for.

Mateusz Klich combined well with Patrick Bamford before half-time for the equaliser, although Demarai Gray’s strike just after the interval put the Whites back to square one.

Just as the travelling Evertonians were voicing their praise for a Brazilian forward, it was the Brazilian in white who produced a fantastic effort to level the contest yet again. Magic man Raphinha. And that’s how it remained.

Off the mark for the campaign, and one point better off from the two fixtures we’ve played so far than what we achieved from them last season.

A lot less to complain about this weekend, that’s for sure.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier.

ANDY RHODES

As a first home game back with a full house, this was quite the game.

A draw was about the right result and, in the end, this could have gone either way.

The Toffees looked threatening throughout, particularly when holding midfielders Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan drove beyond Kalvin Phillips and Stuart Dallas.

At times, being in the ground offered a truer look at what the Premier League is like. The TV cameras wouldn’t have caught all of Richarlison’s antics, Yerry Mina’s carrying on, and it was a chance to see VAR in use in person.

For a period in the second half, it looked like Everton’s gamesmanship was getting the better of some of United’s players.

If one player was going to change the game, though, it was Raphinha.

Along with Jack Harrison, Raphinha was positive all game and his goal was the least he deserved.

Leeds may not have got the win but this was a spectacle to match the occasion.

Man of the match: Raphinha.

MIKE GILL

This was a fine game and draw or not, the result was just about fair.

It’s painful to go behind with a penalty from Dominic Calvert- Lewin thanks to VAR when the officials would not even look at Patrick Bamford’s last-minute penalty claim.

It is impossible to be too downhearted though, when so many of United’s team played so well. Stand-outs were Raphinha not just for his wonderful goal but for being impossible to handle for most of the game.

Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas, Jack Harrison and Luke Ayling all stood out as did the scorer of our first goal, Mateusz Klich.

Patrick ‘Bruiser’ Bamford put himself about in a manner that was unrecognisable from the player that we signed back in 2018. Clearly the new contract was appreciated.

Everton look better than last season and new signing Demarai Gray was good value for his goal and overall performance.

Three points at Burnley would now put United back on track and there is the small matter of the Carabao Cup tie against Crewe in midweek.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.

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.