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Player Grades: Millwall 1-0 Leeds United

Leeds lose a match for the first time this season

Millwall v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Millwall has the reputation as being a difficult place to go and pick up points, and so while it’s disappointing that Leeds United lost and had the clean sheet streak ended, stuff happens. Leeds are still top of the league, even after the loss, only right now the club is level on points with Wolverhampton and Cardiff City, with 17, although Leeds has the superior goal difference of the three.

The undefeated streak had to end, it’s just a shame that it happened at Millwall. No one likes them, they don’t care.

STARTING LINEUP

Felix Wiedwald: Made a number of critical saves during the match, and pretty much could do nothing about the goal that was scored as the Leeds defence fell apart in front of him. Easily the busiest match for him in terms of saves so far this season, and was pretty much up to the task. A few times it would have been beneficial for him to grab and hold the ball, but can’t really fault him that much for the result. 8/10

Luke Ayling: Had a number of crosses and runs down the right-hand side during the second half, and really did well to get involved going forward the few times Leeds looked dangerous. Was his usual solid self in the match, but his crosses never seemed to connect when he was able to get forward. 6/10

Pontus Jansson: Had a number of good headed clearances as Millwall applied a ton of aerial pressure into the box. Was maybe a little bit at fault for the goal, but given the amount of pressure that was heaped on the team, would be a bit unfair to blame it entirely on the big Swede. Went off injured with about 10 minutes left in the match, and while this result is concerning, his health is of much more concern. 7/10

Conor Shaughnassy: The young lad was drafted into the first team as captain Liam Cooper was unable to go. Did a decent job of defending, given how much attacking that Millwall did, but still struggled at times to deal with the physicality of the opposition. 6/10

Vurnon Anita: Was carved up like a turkey in the first half by Jed Wallace and Northern Ireland international Conor McLaughlin. Almost all of the pressure came from Millwall’s right during the match, and Anita looked overwhelmed. Stuart Dallas helped out tracking back in the second half, but Anita was quite poor during the first half. 4/10

Eunan O’Kane: Was not able to put his usual stamp on the game from the middle of the pitch with Millwall dominating time on the ball. Leeds had trouble stringing passes together going forward and had a lack of attacking pressure from the wingers, largely because the O’Kane and Phillips were unable to get on their game. 5/10

Kalvin Phillips: Along with O’Kane, was unable to really get going in the midfield. The team had trouble recovering the ball once Millwall got it in their half, and Phillips wasn’t able to create many turnovers and spent most of the afternoon somewhat anonymous, besides a few tackles and a few fouls. 5/10

Gjanni Alioski: Had a few good first steps in the first half, but as time went on, never really seemed to get into the match. As in the Preston match, seemed to be knocked off the ball easily and wasn’t able to create much with the ball not seeming to come out to him. Tracked back to help out Ayling on defence, but wasn’t able to get the ball at his feet in space, where he does his best. Was subbed off at half-time. 6/10

Pablo Hernandez: Seemed absent from the match, with only a little interplay between him and Saiz really creating any danger for Leeds in the first half. Seemed out of gas in the first half, as the lack of rotation is seeming to cause him problems. Left Vurnon Anita all alone too often, and didn’t really track back on defence. Wasn’t a surprise to see him come off at half-time. 5/10

Samuel Saiz: Had a tough day at the office. Provided some attacking spark, but was often left isolated and forced to dribble instead being able to pick out passes. Millwall focused much of their defence on stopping him and not giving him a lot of time and space on the ball to put passes into the feet of the attacking players. Was the only real credible goal-scoring threat for Leeds today. 7/10

Pierre-Michel Lasogga: Came inches from drawing Leeds level near the death, but wasn’t able to get his head to the ball from a free kick. Had very little service, but caused problems when the ball did come near him, which was not nearly enough. 6/10

SUBSTITUTES

Stuart Dallas (45’): Came on in the second half for Pablo Hernandez. Immediately helped defensively, and moved well without the ball, but wasn’t able to really put a stamp on the match either 5/10

Kemar Roofe (45’): Also came on at half-time, but like Alioski, wasn’t able to really get his foot on the ball. Never really was much of an attacking threat, and didn’t really threaten Millwall defenders at all. 4.5/10

Jay-Roy Grot (72’): The big lad came on right before Millwall was able to break through. Provided a little more threat than Saiz did in the air, but wasn’t able to really threaten the defence. Showed some flashes with the ball at his feet and moved well, but didn’t really have enough time to get on his game. Would like to see what he can do if given a start or at least a half. 6.5/10

The injury to Pontus Jansson, combined with Liam Cooper and Matthew Pennington both being out means that the club is pretty thin at central defence going into the match at Burnley on Tuesday and back home against Ipswich Town next Saturday. Look for Shaughnessy and Ayling to start in central defence if the other three can’t go. Also look for Gaetano Berardi to get some match time as Christiansen will be forced to shuffle the deck a bit against Burnley in the League Cup.

The loss had to happened eventually, and while it’s disappointing, it’s good to get that over with and get on with the rest of the season. MOT