On the weekend that Championship football returned after over three months, Leeds United only went and did the most Leeds United thing you could imagine. Never a club to follow trends, Leeds fell 2-0 away to Cardiff, joining Bristol City as the only other side to lose away from home. Not only that, Leeds’ statistics read like any other game this season with the Whites dominating possession, passing and shots at goal, but the most important statistic, the result, going against Leeds.
Leeds went 1-0 down on 35 minutes after an aimless first-time pass from Kalvin Phillips landed in the path of Junior Hoilett who carried it 25 yards before a left footed strike beat Ilan Meslier. Leeds continued to dominate possession afterwards but rarely tested Smithies in the Cardiff goal. Their best chance of the half looked to have Smithies beaten when a Roberts cross found Harrison 10 yards out but his shot was blocked by an offside Patrick Bamford.
Leeds carried on much in the same vein in the second half with Roberts having Leeds’ best attempt on goal, being denied at point blank range by an excellent recovering save by Smithies after Luke Ayling had done well to knock the ball into the United forward’s path.
Leeds were once again punished for a defensive lapse as Liam Cooper underhit a pass out to the left which was easily picked off. Glatzer found himself with plenty of space on the edge of the box and was able to take a touch before rifling a shot past Meslier. Leeds continued to push forward but Cardiff packed the penalty area and frustrated Leeds until the full time whistle.
Here are the player ratings provided by KC. You can tell me how wrong I am @mightywhitespod or @ThruItAllLUFC on twitter.
Ilan Meslier - Was probably beaten a bit too easily from Hoilett’s shot but he’s pretty low down on the list of issues with the goal. Outside of that had very little to do. Cardiff scored with their only two shots on target and there was nothing he could do about their second. Distribution was fine and didn’t take any unnecessary risks like others in the back line. 5/10
Luke Ayling - A very hit a miss performance but was better going forward than he was defensively. Rose well to win a knockdown for a Tyler Roberts effort that was well saved. Like a few in the side he was caught holding on to the ball a bit too long and played a few risky passes around the penalty area, one of which was picked off before luckily being recovered. Subbed on the hour mark for Alioski. 5/10
Ben White - When in possession in Leeds’ half he often lacked the speed needed going forward. That being said, he was willing to carry the ball into the opposition half before picking out a pass. Another performance to file under solid but unspectacular. 5/10
Liam Cooper - The only person at fault for Cardiff’s second. After receiving the ball from a Meslier goalkick he underhit his pass to Alioski that was easily intercepted before finding it’s way to Glatzel who punished Leeds. Much like his defensive colleagues, his play was on the slow side, allowing Cardiff to get organised. 4/10
Stuart Dallas - Starting out at left back then moving to the right after Ayling’s departure, Dallas was probably Leeds’ most reliable player going forward. In the first half he whipped in a number of in-swinging crosses but Leeds couldn’t fashion any chances from them. He had one of the Whites’ better chances, hitting a half volley narrowly over after a poor Cardiff clearance. He constantly pushed forward and created problems for Cardiff. 7/10
Kalvin Phillips - Like Cooper, his performance in this game will solely be remembered for his costly error. He looked to play a first time pass out to the right but it was aimless and easily picked up by Hoilett who dribbled at the Leeds defence before his left footed strike gave Cardiff the lead. Shortly after was booked for a typical Kalvin tackle of frustration. He looked to get on the ball but Leeds were just too slow when they had possession. Was able to thread a nice ball through to Bamford which he just couldn’t reach. 4/10
Mateuz Klich - Anonymous in the first half. Anonymous in the second. If it wouldn’t have been for his needless yellow card you wouldn’t have known he was playing and his 83rd minute replacement by Robbie Gotts was long overdue. 3/10
Never get anything at Cardiff.— Andrew Paterson (@andrewrp240480) June 21, 2020
Harrison forgotten how to cross, Klich invisible, Costa awful.
Two silly errors.
Only Fulham next
Helder Costa - Copy and pasting a player rating from October of this season: “Was clear to see today that he can get up and down that wing and make things happen but it didn’t come off every time today, was knocked off the ball rather easily today but he will get there I’m sure.” Much like Costa’s early performances he was able to beat his man but the end product was lacking. Replaced by Poveda after 75 minutes. 5/10
Tyler Roberts - Unfortunately he is always going to be compared to Pablo Hernandez when he plays at 10 and today he wasn’t able to be the talisman that Leeds needed. Bacuna did a good job of keeping him quiet especially in the second half but Roberts had a couple of chances on the ball to push Leeds forward and create openings. It was his cross that led to Harrison’s shot being blocked by his own teammate and it was his shot that was well saved by Smithies from close range. 6/10
Jack Harrison - A tough day for Harrison. His first touch is clearly still there and the majority of his choices were the correct ones but they were very quickly followed by an overhit pass that put the ball back in Cardiff’s possession. It was his shot that looked goal-bound before being blocked by an offside Patrick Bamford that would’ve drawn Leeds level. 6/10
Patrick Bamford - Did very little to get himself into the game and saw very little of the ball as a result. That being said, he was often feeding off scraps and the two occasions when he was found in space would be half chances at best. Much like always, you want to see more work from him harassing defenders and making their lives difficult which didn’t happen. 4/10
Gjanni Alioski (On 61 minutes) - Replacing Ayling and switching sides with Dallas, very little of the play went down the left, especially in defensive areas. Can’t be blamed for the pass to him for the second goal and got forward consistently but was unable to make much impact on the game. 5/10
Ian Carlo Poveda (On 76 minutes) - A surprising choice to come on, it told very quickly that Poveda has not played much football outside of U23s. Got on the ball a couple of times and was confident enough to try to take players on but struggled with Cardiff’s physicality. 4/10
Robbie Gotts (On 83 minutes) - It was surprising that this change was left so late. By the time he got onto the field the game had already gone. Cardiff were camped out on the edge of their penalty area and there was nothing that Gotts could bring that was going to find a way through that. N/A