Leeds United visited Hull today looking to go top of the table with a win while Hull City would have been content with a draw in order to get some points to separate themselves from the bottom three and drag themselves a little further away from the relegation zone.
The first half was largely dominated by Leeds, but a second half goal from Tyler Roberts was all the Leeds would need to pick up all three points against a local rival.
Leeds started out in Bielsa’s famous 3-3-1-3 formation with Kalvin Phillips dropping back into a back three with Luke Ayling and Barry Douglas playing up the pitch as wingbacks. Leeds played in this formation for about the first half-hour, but Leeds soon reverted back to a more familiar 4-1-4-1 with Phillips taking up his usual spot in front of the back four.
Leeds created a number of chances in the first half, none of which could be converted. Alioski really should have scored after going free in box, but he was only able to put his shot wide of the post.
Barry Douglas couldn’t finish a chance that saw him put through on goal and Samu Saiz also hit a tame shot at the goal that the Hull keeper had absolutely no trouble grabbing. Despite all of the talk about the club improving its finishing after the draw away at Sheffield Wednesday, there wasn’t a lot of improvement on display in the first half.
Tyler Roberts broke the deadlock with a spectacular individual effort in the 51st minute. He took the ball at his feet from about 30 yards out, dribbled toward the goal and made a move to buy himself a yard of space before unleashing a shot to the far post that the left Hull keeper flat-footed and unable to dive in front of before going into the back of the net. It was an unlikely goal from an unlikely position, but given the amount of chances that were wasted by Leeds in the first half, it wasn’t an unjust lead that Leeds took.
Leeds had switched back to three at the back before those subs. Klich playing at 10 now in a 3-3-1-3. Dallas wide right. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) October 2, 2018
Hull seemed to come alive a bit after the goal, as they put more pressure on Leeds after falling behind. Bielsa was forced into a few substitutions in the second half, as Adam Foreshaw and Stuart Dallas came on in the game for James Harrison and Samu Saiz. With the changes, Leeds reverted back to the 3-3-1-3 as they looked to bring in a third central defender to deal with Hull’s attack.
Barry Douglas went out injured in the 82nd minute and Leeds held on for the win, with Hull trying, in vain, to get an equalizing goal. Jamie Shackleton came in for Douglas, and after a little shuffle, Dallas went to the left wingback position while Shackleton went onto the right wing. While a larger scoreline would have been better, a win is still a win, especially away from home.
The result left Leeds on top of the table with 22 points, level with Middlesbrough, but top with a superior goal difference of +13. Leeds are also a full five points away from 5th place Brentford, who they will face this Saturday.