Leeds United played their first match under Marcelo Bielsa, and for at least the first half, it was a wonder to behold. The team pressed high, hounding and harassing every time a Forest Green player got the ball, creating turnovers and chances galore. If the finishing was improved by just a bit from the Leeds players, the match would have easily been completely out of reach after the first half.
However, as good as the pressing game was, the scoring touch seemed a bit rusty and the high press slowed down a little bit in the second half as Forest Green seemed to take advantage of the Leeds players who slowed down a bit in their first preseason match.
Good start guys. See you soon! ❤️ https://t.co/gAB3PRnTSZ— Pontus Jansson (@PJansson5) July 17, 2018
Time to rate how the players did, and as usual, you can tell me how you think I’m wrong in the comments below or @ThruItAllLUFC on Twitter.
Perhaps could have done more to stop the shot at the end of the first half for the only Forest Green Rovers goal, as it seemed to hit him in the hands, only to bounce off of him and go into the back of the net. He made some good saves in the second half to deny Forest Green any more goals, but will probably want that goal back. Didn’t have a lot to do in the first half before the goal. 6/10
Luke on during tonight’s 2-1 win pic.twitter.com/zfrOxmJ9zs— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 17, 2018
Luke Ayling: In the first half was brilliant, as he always seemed to be popping up out of nowhere in the Forest Green box, totally unmarked, while at the same time being able to get back in time to clean up defensively. Didn’t have quite the same impact in the second half, but still had a fantastic game. His goal was very well taken. A great performance. 8/10
Liam Cooper: Kept the captain’s armband, for now, under Bielsa and had a pretty solid game. Made a number of decent cross-pitch passes that sprung the team down the right wing. Could somehow still be getting a starting job under Bielsa, if for no other reason that he’s a left-footed centre back. 6/10
Gaetano Berardi: Played at central defence this match, and did well enough, although he’s just not big and physical enough to play the position week-in, week-out in the Championship. Had another solid, if unspectacular, game. 6/10
Stuart Dallas: Seemed to play as a left wing back, and did well to combine down the left hand side with Gjanni Alioski. Made some good runs forward and provided some decent balls into the box. Will have to improve defensively to play as a wing back. 6/10
Kalvin Phillips: Seemed to be deployed as a holding midfielder shielding the two central defenders while the fullbacks and wings went up the pitch. Did a surprisingly good job of it as well, getting in the tackle and seeming to time his runs up the pitch well. Allowed Adam Forshaw a chance to get forward. If he plays like this all season long, Leeds is in for a treat. 7.5/10
Adam Forshaw: Was a class above today. His passing was crisp, he did well to help recover the ball when possession was lost in the other team’s half, and was probably the man of the match overall. 8/10
Pablo Hernandez: Looked good, delivered a good corner kick that lead to the first goal. Wasn’t quite his old self, as the timing on a couple of the runs in the box weren’t quite there, but that will come with time. 7/10
Gjanni Alioski: Looked a tad rusty out there at times, but otherwise still did a decently good job getting forward. Should have done better to get a shot away, as his extra touch created enough time for the Forest Green keeper to get in position to deny the goal. 6/10
Samu Saiz: Along with Forshaw, looked a different class out there. Unlike last year, when he would go on marauding runs to nowhere, only to give up the ball, did a good job of looking to pass and advance the ball. Even worked well on pressing. 8/10
good lord, Roofe's been playing decently, but he'd have been able to get to a couple chances better, he'd be sitting on a hat trick— Thru It All Together (@ThruItAllLUFC) July 17, 2018
Kemar Roofe: Scored a goal and assisted on Luke Ayling’s tally, but probably should have had at least two more goals. Got into good positions and did all the work he needed to do, but couldn’t covert all of his chances. He scored two hat tricks last season, one against Newport County and the other against Queens Park Rangers, but often wasn’t able to duplicate those performances week-in, week-out. If he figures out how to convert all of his chances, has a chance to be the next Dwight Gayle. If he doesn’t, then Leeds need a new striker that can convert those chances. 6.5/10
No substitutes were used.