Bristol City 1 (Weimann 79)
Leeds United 3 (Hernandez 26, Bamford 57, Harrison 72)
Finally, football is back. Leeds had to wait an extra day to get going but get going they did in style. A three one victory against Bristol City with goals from Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison. A fantastic start in which Leeds played some sublime football which was really enjoyable to watch, carrying on from the best performances of last season. There is no doubt it has been a tough pre-season in the transfer market and the vacuum off football has led to grumblings and questions asked of the owner by some fan. But the Leeds team answered several questions today and we look at the most important of them.
Leeds goals with Radio Leeds commentary, Video from @theadelites
Is Ben White a good enough replacement for Pontus Jansson?
The biggest question going into the first game of the season surrounded Pontus Jansson’s departure and whether 21-year-old Ben White could fill the gap. Well, he answered that question with a calm, assured performance. His positioning was superb, his tackling well timed and the range of passing was excellent, possibly one of the best debuts in a Leeds shirt for quite some time. Fans will be asking “Pontus Who?” if White keeps this level of performance up. Some would argue that White is not only capable of filling the gap left by Jansson but is a considerable upgrade, it’s clear to see why Bielsa was so keen on pursuing him.
Can Patrick Bamford lead the line?
The pressure was certainly on Patrick Bamford, with Roofe injured and on his way to Anderlecht the expectation was on him to score the goals, a pressure only increased by his pre-season form. He grafted all afternoon and grew into the game, did a lot of work down the right; dropping deep, chasing down balls and putting the odd tackle in. Bamford managed 3 shots from 4 touches inside the box including a well taken header. His movement off the ball was good too, creating space for other players in the attacking line-up to move into, particularly so for the third goal where Harrison moved into the space vacated by the defender tracking Bamford.
Could Pablo Hernandez nutmeg a mermaid?
It has long been said that Pablo Hernandez could nutmeg a mermaid, well there were no mermaids on show at Ashton Gate but he did nutmeg Callum O’Dowda twice in quick succession. An early sign that Pablo is still as good as ever, a fact confirmed twenty minutes later when he hit a sublime shot into the top bin to give Leeds United the lead. In many ways Hernandez is our talisman, if he plays well we are pretty much guaranteed to win and play well he did against Bristol. A perfect cross for Bamford’s goal and a lovely pass to set Stuart Dallas away for the third, almost everything good we did Pablo was involved in. Maybe we relied on him too much last season, the introduction of Costa should take the pressure off, we need Pablo fit and at his best this season.
Pablo nutmegs Callum O’Dowda, Video from @louorns
All in all an impressive performance, particularly the first 30 minutes of wither half but in typical Leeds fashion it was not all plain sailing and nerve will have been on edge during the final 15 minutes. A disappointing goal to give away after which we seemed to panic again, defending so deep we invited pressure on ourselves. Lessons not learned from last season or early season rustiness? One question that may arise next week is that of Barry Douglas, another performance not up to scratch which could see calls for Alioski to start at left back. We need to improve in those situations or we will get picked off easily against better opposition but a very promising start to the season.
Leeds Team vs Bristol City:
Casilla, Douglas (Alioski 79), Cooper, White, Dallas, Phillips, Klich (Costa 76), Forshaw, Hernandez (Davis 85), Harrison, Bamford
Bristol City 1, Leeds United 3 - Could Pablo nutmeg a mermaid?