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Leeds Player Ratings: Leeds 1 - 1 Sunderland

Leeds barely survive a visit from almost relegated Sunderland

Fulham v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship

Leeds United played Sunderland, one of the worst teams in the Championship, to a one-all draw today at Elland Road. Leeds were left to rue missed chances, as Ronaldo Vieira, Gjanni Alioski, and Samu Saiz all hit the woodwork with shots that really should have scored.

However, any other scoreline would have flattered Leeds, as Sunderland looked dangerous all match and the defence was rescued by Bailey Peacock-Farrell multiple times. Sunderland have been dire for months, and if the brass at Leeds think that this team is close to the playoffs with these players, they need to take a long look in the mirror.

STARTING LINEUP

Bailey Peacock-Farrell: One of the few positives of this season has been the outstanding play of the young keeper. He’s looked the part of a starting keeper throughout most of the second half of the season, even if his goals against record isn’t special. He did a great job stopping a number of quality chances from Sunderland. 7/10

Gaetano Berardi: Had an average, at best, day until the final minutes of the match when he saw red after making an absolutely rash two-footed tackle that missed the ball. A red card no matter what, and was a fairly needless challenge that could have been avoided by some more competent defending. It’s ridiculous that the (substitute) captain of the team should get drawn into these types of situations again and again. 3/10

Paudie O’Connor: Didn’t look out of place in the starting XI today, and given his performance today should be in contention to replace Matthew Pennington in the lineup for the rest of the season. You can tell he’s played first-team football before, as the occasion didn’t seem to rattle him. Might have been guilty of a little mistake for the Sunderland goal, but there were plenty of other players around him that screwed that up as well. 6.5/10

Pontus Jansson: A solid, if unspectacular, performance from the big Sweden international. Was good in the air, but perhaps could have been more of a threat from set pieces. Put himself in a position to get carded for dissent AGAIN after Berardi’s daft tackle, and if he’s to be seen as a leader on the team, he needs to walk away before getting in trouble. 6/10

Stuart Dallas: Dallas is not a fullback and Gaetano Berardi is not a left back, yet here we are once again. Most of the attacks in the first half from Sunderland went through McGeady and it was because Dallas couldn’t handle his pace or stop him from getting the ball into the box. Heckingbottom gets a bit of a free pass for “not his players” among many of the fans, but selecting a winger to play out of position against one of the worst teams in the division instead of a young fullback in Tom Pearce drives me nuts. At the very least, given how much Dallas was struggling, Berardi and Dallas should have been switched. 4/10

Ronaldo Vieira: Hit the post in the first half, played well enough in the middle of the pitch, and did a decent job in the midfield. Might have done better to mark McNair in the box on the Sunderland man’s goal, but perhaps he and O’Connor didn’t communicate and thought the other one was taking him. 6/10

Kalvin Phillips: Was sacrificed in the second half after Leeds were chasing the result. Had played well until then, made a few good tackles and passes. 6/10

Pablo Hernandez: Man of the match for me. He scored the only goal and only the out-stretched knee of Lee Camp stopped him from scoring a second. Was the only spark of attacking presence for Leeds for most of the match. Without him, Leeds would be lost. Sign him already. 7.5/10

Samu Saiz: Where has the dominate Saiz gone? He’s not looked as good in the second part of the season as he did at the start. He was cruelly denied a goal from a free kick, but otherwise didn’t really test the keeper. Played a bone-headed backheel to Alioksi that the winger missed which resulted in a turnover that a better team would have scored from. Needs to get back on the same page as the rest of the team. 5/10

Gjanni Alioski: Speaking of where players have gone, how long has it been since Alioski scored a goal? He, too, was denied by the post, but if he buries a few more chances last month Leeds aren’t looking at 15th place again. Can do a job tracking back, but his finishing has left a lot to be desired. 5/10

Pierre-Michel Lasogga: So the pouting, can’t be arsed PML is back. Pointed in exasperation at the space in front of him after Hernandez’s shot went off Camp’s knee in the first half as if he had any chance to get to the ball. Seemed to shy away from headers and wasn’t anywhere near the ball in the first half. He got a chance on a corner, but somehow was turned around backwards and headed the ball behind him towards the goal with a header that never would have scored. Watching him move made me want Ekuban back in the lineup. 5/10

SUBSTITUTES:

Kemar Roofe (65th minute for Phillips): Came in while Leeds were chasing the game. Looked more likely to score than Lasogga, but then again, almost did. Could feature as the starting striker in the final five matches. 6/10

Caleb Ekuban (79th minute for Lasogga): While Ekuban may not be able to finish, he at least moves around and gets into scoring positions. Was a breath of fresh air after the static, immobile Lasogga had lumbered around the pitch for the first 80 or so minutes of the match. 6/10

Vurnon Anita (90+2 minutes for Saiz): Came on in the dying minutes of the match after Berardi had been sent off. Wasn’t on the pitch long enough to get a rating. N/A