What a difference it makes to hear a real crowd even if it is Southampton fans. Even if the numbers are low it feels like football is back to what it should be.
Great to see Rodrigo replacing Roberts in the starting line up – he has earned his place while Roberts is still finding his feet. Cooper is also preferred as captain in the team with Stuijk, having made such a huge impression in solidifying the Leeds defence is dropped to the bench. What fans are not so enamoured with is Casilla in goal. It was time he left the club.
Early pressure from Southampton soaked up by Llorente. Great move by Harrison crossing to Raphinha in space with a header to Dallas had a free shot on goal but volleyed wide. Great one touch play. Rodrigo and Raphinha also linking up for another opportunity.
Another change on the corners with Phillips back on duty. The home fans made themselves heard for a penalty on 28 minutes but no VAR needed for that. Southampton continued to press Leeds and steal balls from defence.
It all got a bit scrappy on 33 minutes with Ward-Proust elbowing Llorrente in the throat. Llorrente certainly is in the centre of everything and getting boos from Southampton fans. A good link up for Adams to have a go on target led to a corner but Cassilla flapped the corner and it needed Dallas to clear. In the first half hour Leeds struggled to string passes together. Bielsa will not be happy about that, with Southampton creating twice as many shots and Leeds without a shot on goal.
The casual way Leeds are confident in taking out Southampton in the box was exemplified by Phillips joining in and snuffing out a chance from behind. But in midfield we lacked their energy.
After all the good work Llorente and Phillips did in the first half Bielsa had the confidence to take them off and give Berardi his first time on the pitch. Great to see him back after a long injury. And Struijk also on for Phillips.
Bamford shows why Leeds have more scruples than other teams by staying up when the keeper fouls him, other strikers fall over at the mere touch. Because he stayed up we lost the penalty call. A nervous moment when Bamford misses a header in the box and nuts the shoulder of a defender is flat on the ground for a nervous five minutes. Luckily he is up and back on the pitch with no lasting damage.
Against the run of the play in the second half Bamford scores a poachers’ goal after a deft chip from Rodrigo that Bamford slips past two defenders and then first touch is a nutmeg of the keeper scoring his sixteenth goal of the season.
Casilla is why we cannot defend corners ending up somewhere in the middle flapping about and then on the floor.
And the final substitution sees Roberts get ten minutes with Rodrigo subbed. Bamford was in the mix late on with a pass back to Raphinha in the box who could not resist placing the ball in the net, alas Bamford was a mile offside.
It was all Southampton at the end with Leeds sitting back. This was a good performance by Southampton, passing quickly into the Leeds box but could never convert into a shot on target.
And then in the last five minutes it went manic. First Roberts scores his first Premier League goal, then Struijk is taken off with an injury and Leeds are down to ten men. And then from the restart Bamford sets up Raphinha with a strike on goal which the keeper just manages to save. It was breathless and signified the difference between the two sides: lots of toothless pressing from Southampton, ruthless counter attack by Leeds, and maximum energy till the whistle blows.
Man of the match: Bamford