We won, that’s the main thing. We deserved it too, and completed a double over Bolton Wanderers in the process.
This was a bit of an inconsistent performance but there were a lot of positives to take from it and it was a giant improvement on the previous few matches. Before the game the line-up could have been either a 442 or a 352 with wing-backs so that was the main topic of discussion.
It was a 442 and Leeds started very well taking an early lead through Caleb Ekuban’s first league goal for Leeds United. Bolton had a lot of the ball for the rest of the half but it was Leeds who looked more likely to score, Ezgjan Alioski had a great chance on the break and Pontus Jansson hit the bar with a header from a corner.
Ekuban with the early goal and Leeds have had chances to be further in front. Bolton seeing a lot of the ball but haven't really threatened with it. Better than a lot of what we've seen recently. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) March 30, 2018
Leeds started the second half well too and extended their lead when Pablo Hernandez scored the rebound from an Alioski effort saved by Ben Alnwick. Bolton pulled one back immediately through Adam Le Fondre from a Sammy Ameobi free-kick (Ameobi was Bolton’s best player on the day). The marking didn’t look great but it was a very good header from the experienced striker.
Leeds showed some nerves from this point on and Bolton were pressing forward, former Leeds player Will Buckley missed a great chance with a back post header after Stuart Dallas (back at his less familiar full-back role) got caught under a cross.
However, Leeds were a threat on the break and Caleb Ekuban had two great chances to increase the lead, the second of these being a bit of a sitter, and Leeds should have won the game more comfortably.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell - Not much to do in the first half, had to punch one Sammy Ameobi free-kick away. In the second half, looked like he had no chance on the goal. Claimed a high ball well against Aaron Wilbraham well. Solid enough. 6/10
Stuart Dallas - Won a couple of tackles and a couple of aerial balls but he got caught out of position a couple of times. One moment of real quality in the second half when he broke beyond the halfway line and clipped a great ball over the top for Caleb Ekuban who controlled well with his chest and before being denied by a great save. Picked up a yellow card for going straight through the back of Will Buckley, which was a poor tackle. Had better days in terms of passing. Did ok for a player playing out of position. 6/10
Stuart Dallas is completely wasted at right back. Still it’s our second win this year, we’re gonna win the league #lufc— Liam (@Liamdestroyer39) March 30, 2018
Pontus Jansson - Won a lot of balls in the air today. Hit the crossbar with a header from a corner at the end of the first half. Did some solid work when in possession. Overall, never looked too troubled. Picked up a soft yellow at the end after an altercation with Aaron Wilbraham. 7.5/10
Matthew Pennington - Not as dominant aerially as his centre-back partner but fairly solid today. Won a couple of tackles and also did some nice work covering across when the ball was played in behind the Leeds defence. Headed over from 5 yards out when he should have done better but the flag was up for offside. Best game for a while. 7/10
Defensively Jansson and Pennington solid, Berardi and Dallas (why was he playing with Pearce available?) part ok part iffy. Midfield looked so much better than recent (2 games Forshaw out since signing, 2 wins) TBC #lufc— Michael G (@MGlufc) March 30, 2018
Gaetano Berardi - Before the game I thought it was harsh on Tom Pearce that he was only on the bench but to give Paul Heckingbottom credit, I think playing Berardi at left-back was the right decision today. Had the hardest job of any of our defenders today up against Sammy Ameobi on the Bolton right hand side, Won several tackles but struggled in the air against Ameobi who is much taller than him. Looked calm under pressure and did an admirable job in a tough situation. 7.5/10
Ezgjan Alioski - Playing on the right of a flat midfield four today and had an excellent game. Worked incredibly hard to get up and down on the wing. Had three decent chances, the second coming after a fantastic reverse ball from Pablo Hernandez put him clear of the defence where he really should have done better. Then the third chance which was saved and lead to Hernandez’s goal. Also provided good balls to create chances for Lasogga in the first half and Hernandez in the second half. A constant threat today. 8/10
Alioski got back to England at 2am yesterday after international duty. Heckingbottom spoke to him in between flights from Istanbul to Manchester via Frankfurt. "He was determined to be available. That's the attitude I want."— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) March 30, 2018
Ronaldo Vieira - Back to something approaching his form from last season today. Won a decent number of tackles and showed good strength to hold people off in tight areas. Did quite well in the air and his passing was better than it has been recently (70% completion). Good to see an improvement from him. 7.5/10
Vieira looks solid again. Whatever Heck has been saying to him it’s working.— dean (@deancore) March 30, 2018
Eunan O’Kane - Wasn’t as good as Vieira in the tackle, or in the air. Level of passing was similar (although he did play one shocking pass into midfield that was intercepted and could have been worse). Showed good instincts to clear an Ameobi volley away off the line as well. However, looked like he wasn’t in the right position on the Le Fondre goal. Still wouldn’t make the starting line-up for me but with Adam Forshaw injured for a couple of matches I think both him and Vieira will keep their place in the side. 6/10
Pablo Hernandez - Another classy display from the former Spain international. Got on the ball often in key attacking areas. Managed to get his head on a good cross from Lasogga which lead to the Ekuban goal. Good attacking instincts to follow up Alioski’s shot to get on the scoresheet himself. First couple of set-pieces he took weren’t great but he got his eye in with them after a couple as well. Incredibly important that the club gets him to sign a new contract if it is possible. Man of the Match for me. 8.5/10
Pablo Hernandez vs. Bolton:— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) March 30, 2018
1 goal ⚽
66 touches ( most for Leeds)
5 chances created ( most on the pitch)
Man of the match. Leeds' Player of the season. #LUFC pic.twitter.com/qsRTnt2jfs
Pierre-Michel Lasogga - Good cross for the first goal as mentioned before. Some good moments where he held the ball up well and won it in the air. Some moments where he held it up badly and barely challenged for it in the air. A bit quiet overall. Also, one ridiculous dive in the first half that was really quite pathetic. 6/10
Caleb Ekuban - Took his goal well early on, a good finish. His usual fantastic work rate helped Leeds to get forward. Unfortunately didn’t take either of his very good chances in the second half (first one good save, second one poor finish). Passing was improved as well and there were a couple of moments where Ekuban and Lasogga looked like they might be able to link up well if played together. Should keep his place. 8/10
Mixed opinions on Ekuban. I thought he did well today. Took goal well. Held the ball up well. Got into good positions to make chances. Every forward out there will miss one on ones at sone point. Think he will do well in a 2 up top #LUFC— Scott Sadler (@sadler2511) March 30, 2018
Samu Saiz (for Lasogga, 61mins) - Odd one to score today. Drove Leeds forward well when on the ball. Passing was good with the exception of a couple of times when he had the chance to play someone through on goal. Played a fantastic pass from deep to put Ekuban clean through for the chance he really should have scored. If Heckingbottom is sticking with 442 he may be on the bench again on Tuesday against Fulham. 6.5/10
Saiz not at his best. Looks like he's struggling to find his form at this level again - suppose it's natural after the stop start of suspension then injury. #lufc— AllWhiteStrip (@AllWhiteStripLU) March 30, 2018
Jay-Roy Grot (for Alioski, 82mins) - Came on and played right-wing. Barely touched the ball. Unfair to give a score to be honest. N/A