26y/o has got bottle – Three things we learned from Leeds in win v Blackburn
Leeds United got off to a fast start by their standards at Elland Road on Saturday, scoring twice with just 35 minutes on the clock against Blackburn.
Patrick Bamford got the first from the penalty spot after Luke Ayling was brought down in the box. He sent the keeper the wrong way and then set Jack Harrison up for the second five minutes later.
The Leeds defence has been brilliant this season and had even improved from set-pieces, but switched off completely after a Stewart Downing corner. He put it inside the six-yard box and Derrick Williams stole in for a free header to make it 2-1 at half-time.
That’s the way it stayed but it wasn’t pretty in the second half and it really didn’t need to be that hard. Losing Liam Cooper to injury is a big worry as well.
Still, the three points is all-important as are our three talking points from the game at Elland Road…
1. Goals galore!
Okay, that might be an exaggeration but it certainly feels that way. Leeds have struggled for goals this season. 19 in 15 Championship games with an xG of over 28 tells the story of the season [WyScout] and Leeds had only scored more than once at home in a single game ahead of today’s match. That was last week and Leeds kept their scoring up today. Patrick Bamford got the first and he showed why Marcelo Bielsa has kept faith with him when he made the second just five minutes later. Bamford took a ball down from a cross and set up Harrison who passed the ball in off the post for the second. The Leeds players should be careful – the home fans are starting to get used to this.
2. Bamford has bottle
Patrick Bamford has got bottle. No goals since August and plenty of fans on his back after 10 blanks. However, when Luke Ayling was tripped in the box and Leeds awarded a very rare penalty, Bamford grabbed the ball and took the penalty himself. And it was cooly taken. Maybe not as cool as Matuesz Klich, but the 26-year-old striker sent the Blackburn keeper the wrong way and you could see what the goal meant to him as he celebrated. He’s obviously a popular player in the dressing room as well, and the rest of the Leeds team mobbed him in a collective outpouring of relief. The penalty was just what he needed – make no mistake, with Eddie Nketiah out it was absolutely vital he started scoring – and hopefully the floodgates will open now. Next mission – scoring from open play.
3. Phillips the difference
Leeds weren’t at their best today but they managed to grind out a result and this was their fourth straight win at home. Passing was going astray and the football wasn’t flowing at Elland Road, but Kalvin Phillips was propping up the side from midfield again, and his battle with Bradley Dack defined the game. Without Phillips, Leeds would be a very different side. Holding onto him over January shouldn’t be an issue but it’s so, so important.
In other Leeds United news: Exclusive – Paul Robinson claims Newcastle keeper would be ‘ideal’ for Leeds if Casilla banned