Leeds United weren’t great, but were able to claim a crucial 2-1 win away at Newcastle United. Goals from Raphinha and Jack Harrison either side of Miguel Almiron’s strike were enough as Leeds saw off late pressure from the hosts.
After a start which saw many players going down injured, including a game ending Hamstring injury for Diego Llorente, Leeds took a fairly early lead. After Ezgjan Alioski won possession Patrick Bamford broke forward and found Rodrigo in the box, his angle was closed off but he calmly played the ball to Raphinha who calmly passed the ball into the bottom corner.
The rest of the first half wasn’t great, but the start of the second half was really poor from Leeds and they were punished for it. Miguel Almiron was put through by good link up play and he had all the time in the world to finish and make it 1-1.
That woke Leeds up for a few minutes and Leeds were soon in front again. Rodrigo found Raphinha on the right, he drove inside and played a lovely lofted ball to Jack Harrison. His touch and deft finish was outstanding and Leeds were back in front.
Loving the nonchalance of Jack Harrison— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 26, 2021
Raphihna picks him out and Leeds' lead is restored with the coolest of finishes! pic.twitter.com/LszbSsqeoA
However, Leeds immediately got sloppy again, gifting Newcastle possession in key areas and giving them a route back into the match. Jamal Lewis and Jamal Lascelles both hit the bar.
Illan Meslier - Lucky with a poorly dropped cross from a corner. Came off his line excellently to deny Callum Wilson when Liam Cooper’s headed back pass was left a bit short. Almost saved the goal but it would have been an unlikely save. Made a good save from a Shelvey header with 15 minutes to go. Another from Schar with 10 to go. More than made up for the early error. 7/10
Luke Ayling - Lost the challenge in the build up to Newcastle’s goal but I put more blame on the poor pass than on him. Won a few headers and tackles. Not as much threat going forward as you would like to see but kept getting up and down the right side. 6.5/10
Diego Llorente - Off with a hamstring injury after eight minutes. Frustrating. N/A
Liam Cooper - A few errors in judgement but came up with a few key headers when he needed to. Did well against Wilson for most of the game. 6.5/10
The sort of win you take.— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) January 26, 2021
Radrizzani was talking about challenging for Europe further down the line and there are things in that game tonight which shows where Leeds are going to have to improve longer term.
But hell, 14 points clear of the bottom three at the halfway stage.
Ezgjan Alioski - Good tackle to start the move which resulted in the first goal. Went forward well on a couple of occasions but he was skinned too easily one v one. He also gave the ball away really sloppily on the edge of the box and had to deliberately handball it to stop a great chance. 5.5/10
Kalvin Phillips - In the first half, having him back in his role made a big difference. Tackled well. In the second half, Leeds lost their shape which hurt the midfield and he was no different. 7/10
Raphinha - Excellent, calm finish to put Leeds 1-0 up. Excellent assist to set up Jack Harrison for his goal. A couple of poor decisions such as going for goal from a tight angle with Bamford waiting in the middle, and didn’t chase Jamal Lewis back well enough in the second half at times, but still a very good day at the office. 8/10
Blistering counter-attack— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 26, 2021
Leeds' big summer signings deliver the goods as Rodrigo finds Raphinha to open the scoring at St James' Park!
That's a beautiful finish pic.twitter.com/CcdL5d4JW2
Stuart Dallas - Had a good first half in the middle of midfield. Less impressive there in the second half but still had his moments. Moved to left-back for the last 30 minutes and did fine. 7/10
Rodrigo - Did well to find Raphinha to get the assist for the first goal. Involved in the build up to the second goal as well. Looked really good on the ball at times but there were some sloppy moments too. Didn’t offer enough defensively when Newcastle were consistently breaking through the middle in the second half. 7/10
Jack Harrison - Fantastic finish to put Leeds 2-1 up, a deft finish with the outside of his left-foot. Didn’t make the most of his other openings and lost the ball a bit too much. Good energy getting up and down the left. 6.5/10
Patrick Bamford - Involved in the build up to the first goal. His touch seemed off throughout the first half. Awful pass to Ayling which put Leeds in trouble for Almiron to make it 1-1. Substituted almost immediately afterwards. 5/10
Pascal Struijk (for Llorente, 9mins) - No complaints at all. Won a few tackles, positioning was very good to make a few key interceptions. Will probably be enough to keep his place alongside Cooper, unless Marcelo Bielsa does not want to start with two left-footed players. 7.5/10
Mateusz Klich (for Alioski, 56mins) - Generally good on the ball when he came on, but he didn’t get on the ball as much as he would like. As with Rodrigo, needed more from him when the game was going against Leeds late on. 6/10
Tyler Roberts (for Bamford, 60mins) - More lively than Bamford. Made a few good tackles and linked up well when he could. Highlight was a great backheel to set up a chance for Klich which was blocked by an arm. Struggled to chase back with Fabian Schar when he brought the ball out from the back. 6.5/10