It has been an emotional rollercoaster week. Bielsa leaving has been heartbreaking. And now we have to start again with Marsch in charge. Time to move on as we play away against Leicester City. Leeds are the wild card as it is unknown how the players are reacting to the loss of Bielsa and how they respond to Marsch. Fans are already back him: “Marsching on together.” Leicester City, however, have two key players back in particular Vardy. Leicester City go in to this match as the favourites.
Two changes with no Llorrente and Rodrigo up front with James. Rodrigo has rarely shown his real skill so it will be interesting to see if this is his best position. Bamford back on the bench. Klich is favoured over Forshaw. Klich to me is a championship player not really making an impact this season whilst Forshaw to me has been important in filling the boots of Phillips. The four four two formation is new and it will be interesting to see how it works for the players.
Leeds have two weaknesses this season. Firstly, poor goal conversion rate. Secondly Poor set piece defending. This perfect storm led to few goals being scored and many goals conceded. A priority for Marsch to fix.
Early on Leeds show they are pressing Leicester high up. In the first two minutes positive signs with a through ball to James who went through two defenders to force a save fro m Schmeichel. Then a run from Dan James shows his pace with Rodrigo and Harrison either side, Schmeichel saves a direct shot from Harrison.
Vardy is Leiester’s go to man as they play long balls to him – Struijk picks up a card early on as Vardy’s knows he can outpace him. Ayling also has the pace of Barnes on the left to cope with.
Pressured attacking by Leicester early on is soaked up – Leeds defence holding strong. Leicester dominate possession and Leeds have to be patient. Leeds are getting shots but still need to be more clinical – Harrison and Rodrigo linking up but passing not accurate not quite there. And Rodrigo’s shots still going wide.
At the end of the first half Leeds finding opportunities. Counter attacking with James’ pace and players going forward. Huge chance for Leeds with Firpo staying up after feeding the ball to Harrison, Schmeichel deflects and Firpo has a direct shot saved. Firpo yet to score for Leeds.
Then the corner which causes chaos in the Leicester penalty box with a short kick taken and Raphinha having a shot but ends up as a foul. So far Leeds have managed to cope with Leicester corners with Albrighton having a direct header that Meslier soaks up.
First half shows Leeds have defended with discipline and attacked with pace and numbers. No goals conceded is a relief.
Leeds come out in the second half with controlling possession. First corner of the second half with Rodrigo flicking a header on but Schmeichel is there. It’s the Leeds fans who are the loudest. And then another attempt from a Firpo cross with Raphinha side footing but Schmeichel in the way again. And then a Raphinha attack but goes wide.
Leicester lose their marquee striker early in the second half. And then Rodrigo is replaced by Gelhardt whose first touch is a shot just off target. Leeds show their discipline with a Leicester counter attack snuffed out by Leeds players getting back in numbers.
After all the positivity Harvey Barnes then breaches Leeds’ defence with the first goal of the match. A rare moment when the Leeds’ defence is breached. Leeds respond by taking off Klich and bringing on Forshaw and gets a yellow card with his first touch.
In the last fifteen minutes Roberts is favoured over Bamford to replace Harrison. But a tackle on the edge of the box leaves him wounded and a passenger unable to run but we are unable to replace him. He is only able to walk and hop on the pitch.
Disciplined Leeds defence. Patient build up for attacks coupled with counter attacks using the pace of James. Leeds still struggle the pace of strikers and Rodrigo needs to be more clinical with shots. This was a more measured performance without the chaotic style of Bielsa. Leeds need to find that ruthless edge.
Effectively Leeds were beaten by one moment from Leicester and Schmeichel’s saves and then effectively reduced to ten men for the end of the match.
Man of the Match: Dan James