Leeds lost 4-1 away to Crystal Palace earlier this season so would we be destroyed on the counter attack again? The last match losing to Everton was a painful defeat for Leeds and we needed to see a positive response especially with a tighter defence.
Palace had only 6 players on subs bench due to injury. Leeds keep the same team but again due to injuries players out of position with three out of four new first team signings injured. A look at the subs bench shows largely a youth bench with Gelhardt added. And Kalvin Phillips makes his 200th appearance.
The more aggressive start we have seen from Leeds from earlier this season was there with a goal in the first three minutes from Harrison, really proving his value. Bamford, who had a dispiriting loan spell at Palace started well with better support and more shots on goal. Phillips had man marking duties on Ayew and kept him quiet.
A golden opportunity by Bamford on 21 minutes was woefully wasted by him playing his left foot from the right shooting in the stand. His movement to catch the defence asleep was clever. Raphina is developing into the twin attacking midfielder with Harrison with his fluent link up play. His snazzy move around Cahill on 37 minutes nearly led to a penalty. Struijk’s role as defender was reinforced by two great heading opportunities badly missed. Leeds ended the first half far the better team only one goal up due to opportunities on goal not taken.
After early pressure in the second half from Palace Raphina was running off the ball to pick up a weighted pass from Clich to force a save from Palace that Bamford, this time in the right place, casually taps in the net with his left foot. Bamford scores his 100thcareer goal.
After that Leeds passed it around until the 83rd when Harrison capitalised on a Palace mistake but hit the crossbar – another record for Leeds with the highest number of crossbar hits – 14 – by a Premier League so far this season. It was an object lesson in learning from previous match against Palace and controlling the match. Leeds go back to the top half of the table for the first time since November 2020.
Bamford interview afterwards shows what a media personality he can become. Despite a new pitch (from Tottenham) he admitted he needed much longer studs to stay standing up on the slippery pitch. A few nuggets about the Bielsa way too – always running, even though he is a striker his first role is defending, and always mixing it up on the pitch. Twelve goals this season – will he now be considered for England?
Man of the match: Raphina