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Leeds Player Ratings - Leeds 2 - 0 Birmingham

A much tougher opponent. A much tougher game. A very important victory.

Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images

Leeds United were given a very tough test by a Birmingham City side who based on this evidence will soon start making their way up the league table. Again, Leeds kept a clean sheet, again Leeds took the three points. We’re Leeds United, we’re top of the league.

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 - Distribution with his feet wasn’t as good as it was on Saturday but from his throws it was better. Made the saves he needed to make but needed to be braver/more decisive when coming for the ball and had to be rescued by Luke Ayling’s terrific goal-line clearance just before half-time. Can’t criticise him too much, 6 league clean sheets in a row. 6.5/10

Luke Ayling - While Ayling wasn’t at his best by any stretch, he still defended well and filled in competently at centre-back once Leeds lost Liam Cooper to injury. A bit less going forward than you normally get from him but he had another very good performance. Gains some extra credit for the aforementioned amazing goal-line clearance. If we go in at 1-1 instead of 1-0 it’s a different game. 8/10

Pontus Jansson - Looked really nervous for the first few minutes for some reason. Played some terrible passes which put Leeds under quite a bit of pressure. However, one good long pass sorted him out and after that he was imperious at the back. Won his share in the air especially from corners where he was brilliant. Had some of his usual terrific blocks. Another fantastic performance from the best centre-back in the division. Still haven’t conceded with him in the side. 8.5/10

Liam Cooper - Another good game for the Leeds skipper, had one or two moments where he was beaten a little too easily but overall played well. Had to go off with an injury but Thomas Christiansen said post match that he should be fine for the trip to Millwall on Saturday. 7/10

Vernon Anita - Had a solid game at left-back and I thought he looked a bit more comfortable after switching to the right following Cooper’s injury. Got beat too many times one-on-one but Jota is one of the better players in the league so can let that slide. Think of his previous performances this season (Newport aside) and you have a pretty good idea of this performance. 6.5/10

Eunan O’Kane - Had a few misplaced passes but so did everyone else. Thought he had a very good game in the middle of midfield, kept his discipline when it was needed and broke forward well when the opportunity presented itself. Fantastic volleyed pass over the top for Lasogga which lead to the opening goal. We have options in midfield and will have to rotate at times but he is our best right now. 8/10

Kalvin Phillips - Another who wasn’t at his best but not bad by any stretch. Looked a bit tired throughout the whole match and I think Millwall away may call for a start for Ronaldo Vieira. Still got stuck in well and continues to prove himself to be a very good midfielder in this league. 7/10

Ezgjan Alioski - Fairly quiet game for the Macedonian who hasn’t quite replicated his away form at Elland Road. Some nice work to beat players and was fouled quite cynically a fair few times which shows that Birmingham’s players were worried about the threat he possesses. Unfortunately, couldn’t quite make good on that threat in this match. 6/10

Samuel Saiz - Another goal for Saiz in a game where he produced some moments of real quality. Followed in well for his goal showing the instincts of a player in good form. One chance where he worked the ball towards his left-foot to shoot but instead attempted a rabona was a sign of his confidence but at 1-0 it probably wasn’t the time to try it. 6 goals and 1 assist in 8 appearances for the club. Another great performance in a great start to the season. 8/10

Pablo Hernandez - Another who looked tired but his performance wasn’t as good as that of Phillips. Never really got fully into the game and his lack of defensive work made life harder for Anita behind him. Millwall away doesn’t seem like the game for him and I think he will drop to the bench for that fixture, probably for the man who replaced him in this game. 6/10

Pierre-Michel Lasogga - Worked really hard without seeing as much of the ball as you would like. Had a hand in both of the goals. His chasing caught up with him and for the last 20 minutes he looked very tired. Fitness will come with game time though. A solid performance to follow his spectacular debut. 7/10

SUBSTITUTES

Kemar Roofe (For Alioski, 60mins) - Fairly quiet going forward but his main job in this game was to be disciplined on the wing and he did that job fine. Solid but unspectacular. 6.5/10

Gaetano Berardi (For Cooper, 69mins) - Great to see him back and was his usual dependable self at left-back when required. Gave the ball away a bit too much but priority one was keeping Birmingham out and that was a success. 6.5/10

Stuart Dallas (For Hernandez, 80mins) - What a difference a proper pre-season makes. Much more direct than last season and looks to be playing with more confidence. Had other options available to him but drove inside and struck the ball with his left-foot to seal the match for Leeds. Millwall is the game where I think he gets the start his form has deserved. Only a cameo, but a great one. 7.5/10

While it wasn’t the free-flowing, opposition destroying performance we were treated to Saturday, this performance gives me more confidence in the teams chances of automatic promotion this season. Birmingham played well in this game and to keep another clean sheet and win the game shows the strides made from last season. The crowd in general clearly has more faith too. In the spells where we were giving the ball away too much and dropping deep to counter Birmingham’s threat the crowd could have got quiet and nervy but they didn’t and Dallas’ winner nearly took the roof off the stadium.

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