Leeds United increased their chances of automatic promotion and gave themselves a three-point lead at the top of the table with a 3-0 win over Fulham at Elland Road.
MASSIVE WIN! A "scripted" and "patterned" #LUFC defeat Fulham 3-0— Leeds United (@LUFC) June 27, 2020
Goals from Patrick Bamford, Ezgjan Alioski, and Jack Harrison gave Leeds a comfortable win - but in truth in the first half Leeds were second best.
Fulham should have been reduced to 10 men in the second minute when Serbia international Aleksandar Mitrovic deliberately elbowed Ben White but it wasn’t seen by the officials.
I know us Leeds fans have a complex about the EFL and officials, but they keep giving us reasons to have one. #lufc #MOT https://t.co/txUmLEDjNs— Mighty Whites Pod (@mightywhitespod) June 27, 2020
Leeds then took the lead. Helder Costa got in down the right and pulled the ball back to the edge of the box where Patrick Bamford met it first time to finish brilliantly.
Leeds may have been ahead at half-time, but Leeds were second best. Marcelo Bielsa made two changes bringing on Pablo Hernandez and Ezgjan Alioski for Costa and Bamford and 10 minutes into the second half it paid off. Jack Harrison’s cross (now from the right due to the changes) found Alioski who finished well to double the lead.
Bielsa's schooled Parker here. Quality management of a crucial game. Saw the issues at half-time, saw the need for Hernandez's influence and dealt with it all. Five minutes to go. 3-0. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) June 27, 2020
Leeds made it 3-0 when former Spain international Pablo Hernandez played a fantastic pass in behind for Jack Harrison. Harrison held off Joe Bryan to close in on goal and finish through the legs of Marek Rodak.
That ball from Pablo Hernandez #LUFC pic.twitter.com/csQAo9wunq— TotalLeeds.co (@Totallufc) June 27, 2020
Leeds were very comfortable in the second half, and Neeskens Kebano was sent off for second yellow card in stoppage time. Massive win.
Time now to look at each player and how they performed. As always you can tell me how wrong I am @mightywhitespod or @ThruItAllLUFC on twitter.
Illan Meslier - Made a couple of comfortable early saves and a couple of punches which weren’t convincing. Made a couple of early saves in second half too and his quick release of the ball helped Leeds to counter for their second goal. 7/10
Luke Ayling - Solid enough in the first half, Leeds full-backs unable to offer anything going forward in the opening 45 minutes. As with everyone, better in the second half. 6.5/10
Ben White - Biggest moment was getting elbowed by Mitrovic after two minutes. Got rolled too easily on a couple of occasions by the Serbia striker but got back to being 50/50 against him by half-time. Second half White was imperious. Excellent display and Mitrovic barely got a kick in throughout. 8/10
Ben White emptying his pockets #lufc pic.twitter.com/2OMP4klXZp— Barney V2 (@barney___21) June 27, 2020
Liam Cooper - Not as noticable as White in the first half as Fulham always aim towards Mitrovic. Along with White, improved in the second half. Really good second half. 7.5/10
Stuart Dallas - Had to deal with Anthony Knockaert one-on-one and that is not easy. Kept him to long shots but can’t allow too many as he has to quality to score one. Never in trouble in the second half and looked solid when moved into central midfield late on. 7/10
Kalvin Phillips - Man-marking Tom Cairney a lot of the time and did that well, but played too many sloppy passes, as did Leeds as whole in the first half. Massive improvement in the second half. Cairney was subbed having not got into the game but teh rest of his game was far better in the second half. 7/10
Helder Costa - Showed good pace to get away down the right and then excellent vision to find Bamford to set up the first goal. Struggled to chase back against the marauding Joe Bryan in the first half. Not a great half but that one piece of quality on the goal was a difference maker. 6/10
.@SkyBetChamp | @LUFC 1-0 @FulhamFC | GOLO!— Eleven Sports Portugal (@ElevenSports_PT) June 27, 2020
O assalto ao 1º lugar começa com a arranca de Hélder Costa e golo de Bamford! #ChampionshipEleven #ForTheFans pic.twitter.com/Fjl60Q8xRH
Matesuz Klich - Struggled in the first half both offensively and defensively. Played an excellent pass to get Harrison in behind down the right for the second goal. Much better in the second half than the first. 6.5/10
A sexual pass from Klich down the right, Harrison reads it and sends across a pass which Alioski smashes in unmarked. Changes have brought some poises to this. Leeds in control. 2-0 on 58 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) June 27, 2020
Tyler Roberts - A few nice touches but had a lot of the same problems as Klich in the first half. Moved up front after half-time changes and got in behind a couple of times early on leading to chances for himself and Harrison. Leeds looked better with him up top than Bamford despite Bamford getting the goal. 6.5/10
Jack Harrison - Chased with good energy but other than that was very quiet in the first half. Switched to the right wing after the half-time changes, and was unlucky not to score when a good effort was deflected wide. His cross lead to the second goal - although it wasn’t his best he hit it early which meant Fulham weren’t set for it. Good run in behind followed by good pace and strength to hold off Joe Bryan, good finish through Rodak’s legs. Goal and an assist when moved to the right wing. 7.5/10
Jack Harrison salutes the cardboard cutout fans after scoring for @LUFC today. The 23 year old ex-NYCFC and Wake Forest Player is on the brink of becoming Premier League pic.twitter.com/PFYv5meQ02— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) June 27, 2020
Patrick Bamford - Fantastic finish for the opening goal, placed perfectly and confidently. After that, isolated when up front as Leeds couldn’t get their passing going. Chased back well to win it back in the Leeds area after losing the ball. Not involved in the build up, or holding up the ball to his usual levels. 6.5/10
Ezgjan Alioski (for Helder Costa, HT) - Booked within five minutes of coming on for a late sliding tackle. Good finish to give Leeds a 2-0 lead from Harrison’s cross after a lung-bursting run to keep up with play. A bit wasteful when he got the ball in attacking areas following his goal. 6.5/10
Pablo Hernandez (for Patrick Bamford, HT) - Leeds were immediately better because of Pablo’s presence. Played a ball I can only describe as “filthy” to set up Jack Harrison for the third goal. I can’t possibly make enough of the difference he made. Weird to say for a half-time sub who went off, but I honestly think he was Man of the Match. 8/10
Phew! Pablo is such a player, made the difference today and a management masterclass at half time from Bielsa.... #LUFC #MOT— Mark Rowley (@mark_ed099) June 27, 2020
Barry Douglas (for Klich, 80mins) - N/A
Ian Poveda (for Jack Harrison, 83mins) - N/A
Jamie Shackleton (for Pablo Hernandez, 92mins) - Don’t risk Pablo in rain like that at 3-0 up. N/A