Leeds United produced a very good second half performance to take 3 points from their trip to Queens Park Rangers. In the first half Leeds were nowhere near their best but stayed in the game in a way they were unable to only a few weeks ago. In the second half they kicked on and were especially impressive at exploiting the space left by QPR once Kemar Roofe put Leeds 1-0 up.
On the podcast we said we needed 4 points from Aston Villa and QPR, we got the 4 points so I can only be very happy with the last few games.
Felix Wiedwald - (For the purposes of the opening paragraph I am going to ignore one 10 second spell towards the end of the second half).
A solid display from the German goalkeeper, made one very good save to come out and smother the ball when Idrissa Sylla broke through at 2-1. Distribution was okay but that is all it needed to be. 6/10
That's as bad a howler as I've seen any #LUFC keeper make since Rachubka, but Wiedwald didn't fall apart. Recomposed himself quickly and got his head back in the game. Credit for that at least.— The Scratching Shed (@TSSLUFC) December 9, 2017
Now, about that 10 seconds: What the actual f**k was Wiedwald thinking, came out for a nothing ball under no pressure whatsoever, panicked and tried to let it bounce, nearly fell over chasing it back after allowing it to bounce over his head. This mistake individually was as bad as Andy Lonergan’s first against Brentford. However, He only made one and I would still have Wiedwald over Lonergan. I would probably be harsher if it had cost us any points. Revised score - 4/10
Awful mistake from Wiedwald. Corner comes way out to Wszolek who sends the ball back in. Wiedwald misjudges the bounce, lets it go over his head and can't claw it out. Hmm.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 9, 2017
Luke Ayling - A good performance from the right-back. Made one error early to give the ball away in a bad area but after that he was very solid. Made some good tackles and in the second half looked back to the player we saw last season. Didn’t over commit going forward as much as in previous games. Exactly what was needed. 7/10
Good to see a bit of the old Ayling today, long may that continue #lufc— ⚜️Iain Ogilvie ⚜️ (@maidasaint) December 9, 2017
Pontus Jansson - Another good performance from the Sweden international, did well up against the height and aerial threat of Matt Smith. His form has really picked up the last few weeks. No real errors that I can think of. A very good game. 8/10
Liam Cooper - Much quieter than his defensive partner but didn’t make errors either. Didn’t notice him that much but whenever I did it was for a positive reason. Has completely established himself as first choice alongside Jansson. 7/10
Gaetano Berardi - As with the rest of the back four he played pretty well. Made one poor error early on which allowed QPR to get in behind him as he tried to let a ball run out of play. Nothing negative after that though. If our back four plays like this all season we should be fine. 6.5/10
Kalvin Phillips - Good combative (a word I often use for Phillips) display in the middle of midfield. One poor tackle for which he was rightly booked but after that didn’t do anything stupid and was disciplined in his role. Leeds were a little overrun in the first half but both Phillips and Vieira improved in the second half. Will keep his place. 7/10
Ronaldo Vieira - Very similar to Phillips. Both played well, both picked up a yellow card. Both will (injuries permitting) start in central midfield for the next match. Vieira made one tackle while on a yellow that was a needless risk to take. 7/10
Ezgjan Alioski - Alioski has been in good form the last few weeks and that continued today. While he didn’t score his cross for the opening goal was judged perfectly and that goal was undoubtedly the most important moment of the match. Got a yellow card for dissent which he shouldn’t do but he was correct that the free-kick should have gone his way rather than to QPR. Looks to have adjusted to the English game a bit more and is becoming a real key player. Looked more dangerous on the left than on the right which hasn’t been the case for most of the season. 8/10
Samu Saiz - Pretty quiet by his standards. Some great dribbling which at times made QPR players look very foolish. One strange moment where he went for a chip instead of hitting with power (he should have hit it with power but to be fair Alex Smithies was a long way off his line). Made the correct decision to pass to Roofe for his 3rd goal. Not as his best but was still a threat. 7/10
Wiedwald losing concentration annoys me as much as saiz doing some stupid trick shot and laughing about fluffing it. Players need to show concentration until the end no matter which end of the pitch they’re at #lufc— @ (@deancore) December 9, 2017
Kemar Roofe - Man of the Match by a mile, obviously. Did ok playing on the left but once he moved up front he was at his absolute best.
Few more stats from today...— Chris Taylor (@LUFCDATA) December 9, 2017
Roofe scores Leeds' first hat-trick in London since McCormack (v Charlton in 2013)
Roofe's second hat-trick in four months (3 v Newport County)
First Championship hat-trick for Leeds since Feb 2014 (McCormack v Huddersfield)#LUFC #MOT pic.twitter.com/YTgYBRfRoZ
The movement for his first 2 goals were very good allowing him to get chances in between much larger players than he is and the confidence he showed for his 3rd goal backed up why most people consider him a much better striker than as part of the 3 in behind. It should also be noticed that he chased down well and did all the work needed without the ball as well. A tremendous performance. 9.5/10
Shown again today that Roofe plays his best in the middle, don’t waste his talent out wide #lufc— Pez (@Pezzamondo) December 9, 2017
Caleb Ekuban - Chased around well and had one decent header after a good cross from Ayling. Then got injured, the fear at the time was that it was the same injury he got earlier in the season. Those fears may be well founded. 5.5/10
Bad news for Ekuban - on crutches and in a protective boot. Christiansen fears it’s the same injury. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 9, 2017
Pawel Cibicki (For Ekuban, 37mins) - A very important performance for a player who needed to prove his worth to both the manager and the fans. Was quiet in the first half much like everyone else but in the second half he was a real threat and he produced a pinpoint cross for Roofe’s second goal.
Will take that all day long. Well chuffed for Roofe.— Biff (@StevieBiff) December 9, 2017
Great news for the team if Cibicki can make himself a genuine option. #lufc
With Ekuban and Roofe likely to start up front he could well have played his way into the starting XI (although if Hernandez is back I would expect Cibicki on the bench). Did the defensive part of his job diligently as well, certainly far more effective than Jay-Roy Grot. 8/10
Christiansen on Cibicki: "If he's here it's because he is good enough. You have to take your opportunities." #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) December 9, 2017
Eunan O’Kane (For Alioski, 69mins) - Did fine but nothing spectacular. Got a decent foot in but couldn’t say his performance was that noticeable. 5.5/10
Matthew Pennington (For Vieira, 79mins) - Came on as Leeds switched to a more defensive formation. Won a couple of headers. Did fine. 6/10