The best half of football from Leeds United in years
07 Jan 2020 09:05 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Last night Leeds United’s first half performance against Arsenal (Who admittedly have had a poor season but are on the up under Arteta) was arguably the best we’ve played for a long time. Against a Premier League side Leeds had 15 shots and over 65% of the ball. Only Liverpool, the unbeaten Premier League leaders have had those sorts of stats first half against Arsenal. Arsenal had only had one shot on target out of three in the first half, Arsenal were at home remember!
We passed round them, we pressed, we moved, we looked like the Premier League side. The reaction to our display last night all over social media was great, yes we lost but Premier League club fans are all asking the same thing, "why can’t we play like that". The media are genuinely saying with all seriousness "Leeds are better coached then 10-15 of the Premier League". We lost. But in that first half performance we could and should have been two or three up as Arsenal fans will freely admit.
Put any suggestions that it was a second string Arsenal side to bed, 10 out of 14 players Arsenal used yesterday played against Manchester United on Wednesday. Nicolas Pepe, £70mil record signing started yesterday. Alexandre Lacazette, £50mil striker and last seasons fans player of the season, started. Mesut Ozil, £40mil world cup winning playmaker, when he can be bothered is top class, started. Plus experienced internationals like David Luiz, Saed Kolasinic, Sokritis and former captain Granit Xhaka.
This was not Arsenal reserves, most of the starters yesterday will start again in the next Premier League game. But for 45 minutes hundreds of millions of pounds of International football talent was made to look very, very ordinary. As the BBC commentary team said, we looked like the Premier league side.
Some of the things we did took the breath away; That little move which ended in Paddy hitting the bar. Meslier picking Harrison out in the Arsenal half, ball to feet. Playing it out from the back, pinging it round Arsenal players like they were Barnsley. The way Arsenal players got so frustrated with us passing round their press they just sort of stopped after a while. The Leeds fans singing for the entire match and the shock on the Arsenal fans faces was great.
That first half performance is one to watch over and over again. Leeds fans know how this team can play but I don’t think anyone expected that first half performance, we hoped to give a good account of ourselves but we couldn’t imagine dominating a Premier League side in quite that way. Leeds played better football that most Premier League sides that will visit the Emirates this season.
A journalist made a good point, he was talking about how many Premier League sides are better coached than Leeds United? Not many, basically the top six. He pointed out that a lot of sides, Palace, Wolves, Burnley etc are where they are because they are solid, counter attacking sides. But how many Prem sides go away and take the game to the opposition? Liverpool, Manchester City, Sheffield United, Leicester? That’s about it.
We weren’t afraid and played our usual way and did it almost to perfection for 45 minutes. The difference, as ever with Leeds, was being clinical in front of goal. Everyone should be extremely proud of that display; Marcelo Bielsa, his staff, the players, the fans.
Content from cjay in the Best 1st half in years? thread in our discussion forums.