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Leeds Player Ratings - Barnsley 0 - 2 Leeds

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A very good first half, followed by a solid second half. A win, a clean sheet, a lot of happy Leeds fans.

Barnsley v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Leeds United produced a much improved performance to comfortably dispatch of a Barnsley FC side who were admittedly nothing to write home about. Two very good goals from Samu Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski gave Leeds the three points as well as a much needed clean sheet. The result could have been more comfortable with a couple of missed opportunities, a couple of good penalty shouts, and some poor refereeing when Harvey Barnes could well have been sent off for the home side.

Time now to look at each player and how they performed. As always you can tell me how wrong I am @mightywhitespod or @ThruItAllLUFC on twitter.

STARTING LINE-UP

Felix Wiedwald - Recalled to the side after another poor performance from Andy Lonergan and this was exactly the sort of game the German would have wanted. He wasn’t called into action much but dealt with everything that came his way and made one good save in the second half. Amusing scenes in the first half when he had to borrow a cap from a fan due to the low sun. Had one pass out from the back that was a bit risky. A solid reintroduction to the side. 7/10

Luke Ayling - A very good performance up against Harvey Barnes for the first 45 minutes as he has looked a threat in previous matches. Didn’t allow as much space in behind him which was good to see. Didn’t appeal for the penalty but his terrible dive in the first half wasn’t good to see. Good work for the second goal even if him getting the ball to Alioski may not have been entirely planned. A good outing. 7/10

Pontus Jansson - Had a good game after picking up a yellow card for a pretty cynical foul after only two minutes. Didn’t go into his shell and defended very well. Was pretty good in possession as well and could have had two penalties given in the second half when Barnsley players grabbed his shirt at corners. A good game for the big Sweden defender. 7/10

Liam Cooper - A very good game, even better than that of his defensive partner. His positioning was excellent allowing him to make a lot of interceptions in key defensive areas. Won a lot of headers as well and one of these was a decent effort at goal. A performance that reminded you of his terrific early season form. 8/10

Gaetano Berardi - Much improved performance compared to the Wolverhampton Wanderers match, although against lesser opposition. Made some good tackles and cut out the individual errors that proved costly on Wednesday. A game that should assure he keeps his place in one of Leeds’ problem positions. 7/10

Eunan O’Kane - Both central midfielders were very solid and allowed the attacking four the freedom to cause Barnsley a lot of problems. O’Kane won the ball back well on several occasions and used the ball impressively at times. Leeds looked a lot less solid once he was replaced due to injury. 7.5/10

Kalvin Phillips - Very similar story to O’Kane. A good performance where he wasn’t required to do anything spectacular due to the work of those in front of him. Looks better as a natural CM than he did when used at number 10. 7.5/10

Ezgjan Alioski - The man is in really good form in front of goal right now scoring in each of the last 4 games. The goal today was a very classy finish with his left-foot and along with Saiz and Cooper he was among the best players out there today. In addition to his attacking prowess he also tracked back really well and made a couple of good tackles at key times. Overall, a tie for Man of the Match. 8.5/10

Samu Saiz - Now, the man Alioski is tied with for Man of the Match. The more I watch Saiz play football the more I struggle to believe he is in the second tier of English football. He absolutely ran the game in the first half and neither Barnsley’s defenders or midfielders could get near him. Another goal as well for the Spaniard gives him the same rating as Alioski. 8.5/10

Pablo Hernandez - Outshone by his fellow attacking midfielders but still had a good game. Put in more effort defensively than he did against Wolves which undoubtedly helped Berardi to have a more solid game. His set pieces were slightly improved on previous matches (as was the movement in the box, looks like Gianni Vio may well be having an impact) and his through ball for Ekuban in the second half should really have been finished. Barely gave the ball away as well. 7.5/10

Caleb Ekuban - Kemar Roofe didn’t do much wrong but this was a much more complete display from a centre forward than we’re used to seeing. Missed his one good chance at goal but his link up play with the 3 playing off him was very impressive as was his work rate. Dropped in well to cover a few times when Alioski was caught a little too far forward. Would be amazed if he didn’t keep his place against Aston Villa. 7.5/10

SUBSTITUTES

Conor Shaughnessy (for O’Kane, 58mins) - As mentioned earlier, Leeds looked far less solid without O’Kane. The young Irishman looked far less comfortable than in his earlier appearances as a centre-back. Passing was more as he gave away the ball too much but was strong in the air and won a fair few flick-ons in the midfield. 5.5/10

Kemar Roofe (for Ekuban, 80mins) - Not enough time to really make an impact. Put himself about well but didn’t get on the ball much. Not a great deal to say. 5/10

Jay-Roy Grot (for Alioski, 88mins) - Had one decent run and shot but not on long enough to give a score. N/A