After the easy defeat to West Ham in the Cup Leeds play their strongest players which is not easy with nine first team injured. It was a tough game to watch with five goals – Harrison shows his maturity with a Jack Trick.
Struijk is back to strengthen the defence. Rodrigo is back on the bench. Seven teenagers on the Leeds bench – the injury crisis continues for Leeds. Harrison and Raphinha are the channels for Leeds to get the ball forward.
Leeds started brightly – high intensity and earned an early goal. Harrison having an early shot on goal. Long range ball for Raphinha to chases and wins with pace, who passes to Klich who has a fierce shot on goal which is parried the ball only as far as Harrison who sticks it in the net. Game on.
West Ham immediately go on the attack. Then Forshaw goes down on 20 minutes and is substituted with Lewis Bate. Firpo rubbing his leg and is moved into midfield then subbed for Hjelde. The injury crisis feels like it is worsening for Leeds.
Leeds then suffer to West Ham corner Bowen scoring against Leeds again. Dallas clearly lost Bowen and Meslier could have come and punched it.
Leeds respond out of nowhere with Harrison creating a corner and then Ayling does something Leeds rarely do by losing his man and heading into an empty net – however Harrison gets the last touch and does something he rarely does and scores two goals in a match.
Koch had a busy half and ends up with a yellow card at the end of the first half for retribution on Antionio’s earlier foul. Leeds end the first half improbably ahead. James has a couple of near misses – he is not quite there with the final article. You just want him to get that goal he is trying so hard.
Roller coaster second half
Leeds succumb to their problem this season of conceding early in the second half. A spell of five minutes where Leeds could not get the ball out of their half with Ayling twice conceding. By 50 minutes we are at 2-2.
After a period of sustained pressure where West Ham penned Leeds into their own final third Leeds then spring a surprise. Steeling the ball Raphinha then makes a perfect pass to Harrison who chips the keeper. Harrison has scored his first hat trick for Leeds.
Raphinha is showing his resurging prowess with a free kick that hits the cross bar. Leeds could have more than three goals. On the hour Bielsa makes another change bringing on Rodrigo for Bate. Bate came on as a sub but it was a tough game for him.
It all got too exciting when Raphinha made a perfect cross to an unmarked Klich to score but Rodrigo was on the touch line and off side. Leeds were having the upper hand until 80th minute when there is a second disallowed goal, this time for West Ham.
Ten minutes to hold the lead, it has been a hard game to watch. At the death West Ham should have scored. Free kick for West Ham on the half way line straight down the side with a cross into the penalty box but Bowen can only chest it over the goal. Leeds switched off and nearly paid the price.
It was a victory in the face of so much adversity. Dallas and Ayling struggled but kept fighting in defence. Klich is improving. Rahphina is getting back to his best with great assists. Leeds edged it on goal attempts which is a promising sign of an improving team performance. Back to back wins, a precious away win, beating a top four side. It’s priceless.
Bielsa after the match called it an even game and beautiful game. The type of game that it was offered us the space to attack. On to Newcastle next: Rodrigo will be more competitive, Bamford could be an option. Less chances of returning: Roberts and Shackleton. We have to sustain the performance.
Man of the Match: Jackie Harrison.