A late goal from Stuart Dallas rescued a point for Leeds United against against a Preston North End side that set up well and pressed Leeds very successfully.
For half an hour Leeds were unable to get out from the back as Preston pushed men forward to block Leeds passing routes out of defence, forcing the ball long. Preston won a lot of those long balls, but even when Leeds did the space to pass the ball out, their passing was in no way up to the usual standard you would expect.
Leeds lost the ball 183 times against Preston, and haven't managed a higher tally against any other opponent in a single match this season. Huge credit to the way Alex Neil's side set up to press high to disrupt us playing out from the back in the opening 25 minutes. #LUFC https://t.co/T382EkLT4y— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) December 27, 2019
Leeds did improve throughout the game and were the better side in the second half, in the end Leeds deserved their equaliser - but it came via a large deflection so there was certainly an element of luck about it.
Kiko Casilla - Had a “Kiko moment” early on when he rushed out to make a slide tackle about 25 yards from goal, which lead to a big chance for Brad Potts. He played a pass into Kalvin Phillips that was a bit risky which lead to this, but Phillips’ pass should also have been much much better so I can understand why Kiko rushed out.
Had to go long a lot more often with his passing which didn’t help in terms of his overall distribution. No real chance with Alan Browne’s goal, only had one other save to make and it was a simple one. 6/10
Luke Ayling - Worst player on the pitch in the first half, gave the ball away a lot in dangerous areas and Leeds were lucky to get away with it. Better in the second half but still not up to his usual level. I was surprised he wasn’t substituted, but then he got the assist for Stuart Dallas’ goal, showing how little I know. 4.5/10
Seriously get Ayling off! Sick of his poor touch, giving ball away & falling to floor. Get Eddie on & put Dallas RB! #LUFC— Lee Aston (@lee1aston) December 26, 2019
Ben White - Looking back on the game, the only player I can’t remember making significant errors in the defence. His usual calm self, solid performance. Left three against one for the goal so can’t be blamed on that front. 7/10
Liam Cooper - Not his best day by a long way. Seemed to be in wrong areas on a lot of occasions in terms of positioning, especially on the Preston goal. His passing, particularly long passing, was nowhere near the standard we have seen since Marcelo Bielsa took over. 5/10
Liam cooper went to pick up the midfielder and left white 3v1 at back he’s having a car crash game like derby on semis last season #lufc— Liam Moore (@LiamMoo19110227) December 26, 2019
Ezgjan Alioski - Lost the ball trying to dribble out in the first half on a few occasions and much like Ayling, Leeds were lucky to get away with it. Was a bit unlucky going the other way however. Put an effort over from a Helder Costa cross with the goal gaping, but it was a bit of an awkward ball to hit. Hit the post with an excellent effort from distance. All his usual work-rate was on display as well. 6/10
Alioski only player to come out of that with any credit. #lufc— John Borison #GetPromotionDone (@John62747999) December 26, 2019
Kalvin Phillips - Seemed overrun throughout the game. Partly because his performance wasn’t up to scratch and partly because the combination of Dallas and Klich in front of him wasn’t working. Some really sloppy passes when Preston pressed him. Took a lot of set-pieces and don’t think he took a good one. 5/10
Cooper Phillips and Klich had an awesome Christmas Day #LUFC— Dave Bramley (@d_bramley) December 26, 2019
Helder Costa - When he got on the ball he did look dangerous, but he barely got on the ball. One excellent moment when he chased 60 yards after a lost cause and won the ball from the defender on the goal line, before playing a one-two with Eddie Nketiah and crossing for Alioski who could have scored. One of the least guilty in terms of giving the ball away. 6/10
Stuart Dallas - As always, worked really hard. Looked uncomfortable in the central midfield role. Never got to grips with the game. Had Jamie Shackleton or Tyler Roberts been fit (or if Robbie Gotts actually existed) there would surely have been a change made whether he went off or moved to right-back. However, he scored the equaliser, which has to bump up the rating a bit. 6/10
First 30 minutes absolutely terrible. Changed towards the end slightly. Feel sorry for Dallas he’s never a central midfielder. Sloppy play. Can only get better. #lufc— Gary Devonport Talking Shutt (@dingleburtdevTS) December 26, 2019
Mateusz Klich - Myself and KC (on our podcast) have spent a season and a half saying we think Klich is twice the player when he plays a bit deeper and arrives late, this was one for our side of the argument. Had a slow start and the way he gave the ball away before Preston’s goal was really poor. Did have some good moments as well but certainly never got to his usual level. Almost didn’t play due to injury from the looks of the warm-up, wonder how large an effect that had. 5/10
• Klich not in the last bit of warm up with #LUFC outfield nine— MoscowhiteTSB (@MoscowhiteTSB) December 26, 2019
• Gotts called over to stand in, perhaps a late injury means he’s starting?
• Then Klich comes jogging out the tunnel to take over and looks like he’ll be okay
Another day in the life of Robbie Gotts, footballer
Jack Harrison - Very rare to say this, his first touch wasn’t very good on a lot of occasions. Bad first half, better in the second, not up to par, same as a few of the players. 5/10
Patrick Bamford - Not great but he won’t have had many games in a Leeds shirt where he had less help from his teammates. When he did get the ball his hold up play was good. Biggest criticism was he got two really good passes that put him in behind and he messed up his first touch on both occasions. The fans reaction to him being substituted showed that they did not agree with the decision for him to go off. 6/10
MB defo made right sub yesterday. We were much more lively with Nketiah. That said, I really rate Bamford, they just offer different styles #lufc— Jordana Lambert (@JoJrl) December 27, 2019
Eddie Nketiah (for Bamford, 63mins) - Made a good impact, was helped by Preston dropping back. Got the ball and ran at people and had an excellent header saved well by Declan Rudd. Had more impact than Bamford in this game. 6.5/10
Bielsa on Eddie Nketiah v Preston:— Tom Carnduff (@TomC_22) December 27, 2019
“I saw Nketiah tonight with a good level, light, fresh to run, in a tough match and comfortable on the ball. He unbalanced a lot of situations, he was fast, comfortable in small spaces and able to unbalance the match.” #lufc #afc pic.twitter.com/zrnAVhBhus