Leeds United managed to snatch themselves a well-deserved point at Griffin Park on Tuesday night as Liam Cooper’s goal earned a 1-1 draw against promotion rivals Brentford.
Although the draw means that Fulham can knock Leeds out of the automatic promotion spots on Wednesday night with a win against Millwall, there was a major improvement by the Yorkshire giants as they managed to avoid defeat in the capital city.
A 25th-minute Kiko Casilla blunder allowed Said Benrahma to score for the Bees, leading to concerns that it would be yet another defeat for the Whites in their bid for promotion before Cooper scored a rare goal to level the scores 13 minutes later.
Overall, Leeds’ performance was a massive improvement on what fans have experienced in the last few weeks and on another day, the Whites may well have returned to West Yorkshire with all three points in the bag.
Here, MOT Leeds News has looked at three things we learned about Bielsa’s men in their draw at Griffin Park.
Casilla has to be dropped
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Bielsa is not a fan of chopping and changing his starting line-up – we get that. But there is no way that he can continue to let Casilla play in goals when he is making errors that lead to goals in pretty much every single match. What was he doing when Benrahama scored on Tuesday night? Leeds like to play it out of the back but to be able to do that successfully, you need a goalkeeper who is confident with the ball at his feet. Casilla is conceding cheap goals way too often. The Athletic journalist Phil Hay said after the match that Casilla “has to be dropped” and hs “confidence is shot”. Hay is spot on. Let’s hope Illan Meslier starts at the weekend.
Phillips absolutely vital
Kalvin Phillips returned from his suspension to put in one of his best performances in a Leeds shirt for several weeks. We all knew that Phillips would be missed during the three-match ban he picked up in the defeat to QPR last month but to see him back, and on form, at Griffin Park was a great sight to see. According to stats by WhoScored, Phillips completed 87 per cent of his passes, which was more than any other player who started the match on both sides. He also made two tackles and one interception to help Leeds’ defence break down Brentford’s attacks. It was a complete display by one of Bielsa’s best players.
The start of a revival?
Leeds’ form since mid-December has been miserable. Out of the last six matches, only QPR, Luton and Hull have been in worse form than the Whites, who’ve been reeled in by the chasing pack and find their top-two spot under threat ahead of Fulham’s next match on Wednesday night. However the performance at Brentford was very promising and as it was against one of the best sides in the division, is this the start of a revival in Leeds’ form? We hope so and a win against Bristol City will do wonders this weekend.
In other Leeds United news, Clinton Morrison has claimed Bielsa will be “disappointed” with this £35,000-a-week player.