Leeds United opened the season today with a well-played three-one win over hosts Bolton Wanderers. Thomas Christiansen started his debut as Head Coach for Leeds in style as he was victorious in his first match of the new Championship season. While the three points are fantastic, the injuries to two members of the already questionable defence will give Leeds fans a little heartburn tonight, but the time to worry about that is tomorrow. Kalvin Phillips had a MOTM performance, scoring twice to lead the team to victory over Bolton.
Kalvin Phillips - MOM— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) August 6, 2017
On target: 2
Doubles his career goals tally
Leeds 1st opening day away win in 2nd tier since 1984 pic.twitter.com/dxt7XUFetx
Leeds opened their account today early as Kalvin Phillips rewarded his manager’s faith in him by knocking in a goal in the 7th minute off of a Pablo Hernandez corner kick that was played short to a streaking Phillips who then hit a spinning shot into the far corner of the net.
Leeds had some nervy moments in the 23rd minute as a Bolton corner refused to be cleared and after a few headers back and forth, Leeds was finally able to clear the ball out into touch. New Leeds keeper Felix Wiedwald did himself no favors on the play by missing a punch to send the ball clear Bolton did well to keep the ball alive.
Kemar Roofe did well in the minute to send a cross into the box that Gianni Alioski was somehow able to beat his man to send the ball back into the six yard box where Chris Wood made no mistake and put the ball off the bar and into the net.
46' Team news from half time, Berardi dislocated his shoulder, which was treated by the medical team 1-3— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 6, 2017
Leeds United’s depth at defence was tested in the first half as starting left back, and fan cult hero, Gaetano Berardi was taken off after appearing to injure his shoulder. He was carried off on a stretcher, which is concerning as the lack of depth at left back and defence in general. The club later confirmed that Berardi dislocated his shoulder.
Bolton got a goal back in the 39th minute as Bolton’s Gary Madine scored on a corner kick. Wiedwald failed to get to the ball and looked desperately out of place as the Bolton man easily won the header and sent the ball past his defender and into the net.
Leeds hit back quickly, as in the 42nd minute Phillips and Wood were both judged to be onside by the assistant referee and after Wood caused the keeper to come out and make a play for the ball, Wood then made a simple pass in the box to Phillips who put scored his second on the day to restore the two goal cushion for Leeds.
Leeds and Bolton both traded chances in first half stoppage time as Alioski did quite well to get to a low cross from Kemar Roofe that he JUST sent over the bar. Bolton’s Madine did well to then turn around and tried an audacious attempt on goal that went just wide from about 40 yards out.
The second half started much slower than the first half, with the best chance coming from Alioski forcing a good save from the Bolton keeper Howard at the near post after Wood couldn’t get a foot on a good cross into the six yard box from Roofe who was sprung free by a nice ball into space down the right hand side.
Vurnon Anita, who had come on for the injured Berardi in the first half, did well to test the Bolton keeper as he put a shot onto frame that Howard bobbled and almost spilled.
Matthew Pennington came off injured in the 64th minute after a rough challenge, forcing young Conor Shaughnessy to come on. Bolton immediately looked to exploit the young defender, as they forced him on a corner to defend in the middle of the box where he made some comically bad defending to pull Madine’s shirt above his head to draw a fairly cheap penalty for Bolton which was converted by Adam Le Fondre. Hernandez had a wonderful shot bounce off the crossbar a few minutes later, as Leeds went back on the attack to try and restore their two goal lead.
The rest of the game was a fairly back and forth affair, as Leeds looked to counter as Bolton attempted a comeback. Hadi Sacko came on for Gianni Alioski late in the match to inject some fresh legs and pace into the side to help keep Bolton coming down the left hand side as the Bolton wide players looked to advance in search of the tying goal. Taylor from Bolton did well to deny Wood a second goal in the depths of stoppage time and Hadi Sacko missed an easy chance to stab the ball home for a fourth goal.
Conor Shaughnessy looked his age as Leeds continued to have nervy moments at the back. With an already thin defence at the club, if the injury to Pennington is serious at all, surely the club will have to look for reinforcements in the transfer market.
Kalvin Phillips was easily the man of the match as he scored a brace in the first half while Leeds were running rampant. While there were some serious questions raised about both him and Wood being offside for the third Leeds goal, the opening goal for Phillips off of the corner was pure class.
While the injury situation is a bit unnerving, it is good to get three points on the road on the opening match of the season. All Leeds Aren’t We!!!