Leeds United breeze into the top ten with victory over Palace
09 Feb 2021 08:36 am, by YorkshireSquare
Good Morning. It's Tuesday 9th February, and her are the latest headlines from Elland Road…
The most stress free performance of the season?
On Monday night Leeds breezed passed Crystal Palace in what felt like one of the most stress-free performances of the season. The early deflected strike from Jack Harrison settled the nerves and set the tone for the game before Patrick Bamford sealed the points early in the second half with a cool side foot finish to strike home the loose ball following Raphinha’s saved effort. In truth, Palace never really threatened and Leeds should have had more, Pascal Struijk particularly guilty of not taking his chances.
Raphinha will take the plaudits following his outrageous nutmeg of Gary Cahill which left the veteran defender dazed and confused but Liam Cooper and Mateusz Klich were outstanding in the heart of the team. Cooper marshalled the defence in a near flawless performance and Mateusz Klich, back to his best, pulled the strings in midfield making crucial pass after pass. Leeds now move a point ahead of Arsenal, their opponents at the weekend, into the top half of the Premier League table.
Post-match reaction from Bielsa & Hodgson
After the game Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa said: "It was a deserved triumph. We could have scored a few more goals. We defended well and conceded very few chances. The performance of the team was even and constant. It was very important we didn't concede a goal today, it was an objective for today. It's too early to think about the Europa League. Right now we don't have the consistency to imagine any higher up the table."
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said: "Everything depends upon the opposition and we met a good team. I'm disappointed in the way we started each half. It is of course going to put you on the back foot against any team, not least one of Leeds' quality. You try to encourage your players not to make mistakes in those moments to give your opposition a head start if you like. I don't think we created enough to get back into the game and we had to work really hard to make sure they didn't score more goals.”
Phillips injury the only potential downside
Monday night was a game where the core of the team stepped up and dominated; Cooper, Klich, Dallas, Ayling and Bamford. Kalvin Phillips was no exception, doubling up on Eberechi Eze to great effect. Phillips may not have had too many changes to play the ball forward but his defensive performance was solid, the fact that Palace’s £17 million summer signing was evidence of that.
But Phillips left the pitch after 88 minutes with a potential calf injury, having played on for half an hour in a certain amount of discomfort. Speaking after the game Marcelo Bielsa did not know the extent (if any) of Phillips’ problem but it is a concern with Arsenal next up on Sunday. Who would you plain in the defensive midfield role if Phillips is unavailable? Pascal Struijk has established himself in the centre of defence and moving him forward could destabilise things.
Could it be time for Jamie Shackleton to take a bigger role?