MOT View: One 28 y/o gets 5, the other a 9 – Leeds player ratings in 2-0 win v Huddersfield
That is the sign of a side who will be promoted. Despite not being at their best, Leeds United picked up yet another three points against Huddersfield.
Marcelo Bielsa was forced into a couple of changes for the West Yorkshire derby, with Ezgjan Alioski and Gaetano Berardi replacing the influential duo Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips.
It was Mateusz Klich who came closest in the first half, hitting the post from a smart corner routine. Huddersfield almost took the lead towards the end of the half, as a curling ball into the box led to Steve Mounie heading towards goal only for Kiko Casilla to pull off a great save.
Alioski sent Leeds on their way in the second half, volleying home from the edge of the box under pressure. Pablo Hernandez made sure of the three points, heading home a deep Jack Harrison cross.
Here are the MOT ratings from the Huddersfield clash…
1. Kiko Casilla – 8
The Spaniard gave us all flashbacks of the play-offs last season when charging off his line in the first half. Apart from that, he was solid once again – making a number of good saves throughout the clash, none better than from an Elias Kachunga header in the second half from point-blank range.
2. Luke Ayling – 9
On an afternoon where Leeds needed someone to step up in the absence of Cooper, Ayling did exactly that. The 28-year-old stand-in captain was superb once again and marshalled the defence well through some tricky periods.
3. Ezgjan Alioski – 7
Coming in for Cooper was never going to be easy, but Alioski did well on the left-hand side. The Macedonian came up with something special enough to win any game of football, volleying home from the edge of the box.
4. Ben White – 6
It was a new role for White, filling in for Phillips and he looked well out of his depth in the first half. Going into the second half the Brighton loanee played a lot deeper and helped control the game after Leeds took the lead.
5. Gaetano Berardi – 6
Another defensive option that struggled at times. Berardi was against the powerful Mounie and was beaten in the air easily at times. That didn’t get the Whites’ hero down now, and he kept his head in the game and was solid in the second half.
6. Stuart Dallas – 5
It never quite came together for Dallas throughout the clash. On a number of occasions, the 28-year-old took a number of poor touches in the opposition half when chances to counter arrived for Leeds.
7. Mateusz Klich – 7
Those two goals against Middlesbrough have given Klich the boost he so desperately needed. The Pole was buzzing around the park, and when he is in that mood he can be so hard to stop. Klich also stepped up after the goal, helping out in defence when he was needed to clear the danger.
8. Pablo Hernandez – 9
Hernandez is coming into his own in a more central role this season. The Spaniard was at the heart of everything, with his one-touch passing a delight to watch, unless you were a Huddersfield defender. He finished the game off with a header at the back stick, well-deserved for the magician.
9. Patrick Bamford – 7
A quiet outing for Bamford, but he did everything expected of him in that lone role. He was a nuisance throughout the game and was visibly tired before coming off for Eddie towards the final 10 minutes.
10. Jack Harrison – 6
Once again, he might have been quiet, but he always finds a way to be involved in the final result. He struggled with his final ball throughout, but his delivery for Hernandez’ goal was world-class, putting it on a plate for the second that sealed the three points.
11. Helder Costa – 8
Costa has divided opinion since arriving at Elland Road, but we think he had another great afternoon on Saturday. The Portuguese international got on the ball at every given opportunity and beat his man with ease before putting dangerous balls across goal. If he can continue this form, he will pay back every single penny we will eventually pay for him.
Eddie Nketiah (For Bamford, 74 minutes) 5
Never really got into the game, making a number of misplaced passes with the game already won.
Oliver Casey (For Klich, 83 minutes) – 6
A great sight to see yet another academy graduate making his debut for the club. Casey made a couple of great interceptions as he cemented the three points at the back.
Barry Douglas (For Costa, 87 minutes) N/A
Too late to give Douglas a rating, but he came on and made sure Leeds kept yet another clean sheet.
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