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Bamford masterclass, Ben White replacement, and revenge: what we learned from the win against Leicester

On the back of Leeds’ best performance so far this season, here are three things we learnt from the 3-1 win over the Foxes.

Leicester City v Leeds United - Premier League
Leeds United players celebrate Jack Harrison’s late goal.
Photo by Tim Keeton - Pool/Getty Images

From Patrick Bamford and Stuart Dallas to Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk, there were brilliant performances across the pitch as Leeds United cruised to victory over Leicester City.

The Whites dominated the first half after the Foxes took the lead through Harvey Barnes, but the hosts were lucky that the scores were level at half time. Dallas’ goal was delightful in both the build-up and the finish, and Kasper Schmeichel had to be at his best to keep out Jack Harrison, Raphinha and Bamford.

Brendan Rodgers tweaked his system in the second half and Leeds were soon on the back foot; Illan Meslier was the goalkeeper being kept busiest, while Cooper and Struijk made their case for being perhaps the best central defensive partnership yet this season.

It was Leeds who struck next, though, as Raphinha’s wonderful pass allowed Bamford to smash in his 11th goal of the season. Leicester committed men forward, but the visitors sealed the win with a deadly counter-attack finished off by Harrison.

While the 1-1 draw against Manchester City showcased Leeds’ ability to compete with top sides, and the 5-0 win over West Brom was a demonstration of pure domination, to come from behind against a team with European ambitions and the results to show for it was a huge statement.

Here are three things we learned from the masterclass at the King Power.


Bamford knocking on England door

Leicester City v Leeds United - Premier League
Bamford emphatically fires his side into a surprise lead.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Even when Bamford already had 10 Premier League goals to his name for the campaign, a goalless streak of four matches was enough to sow the seeds of doubt into top flight supporters, who questioned whether they had already seen the best of the striker.

If the fact that he captained himself on Fantasy Premier League for the win over Newcastle United was not a sign that he was still loaded with confidence, his goal and two assists yesterday certainly were.

The 27-year-old was at his best for Leeds, playing a major role in all three goals scored against Leicester. For the first, he drew Wesley Forfana out of position having received the ball from Luke Ayling, before playing a perfectly weighted ball for Dallas to run onto and score the opener.

His goal was as emphatic a finish as any he has scored this season, taking full advantage of the precise assist from Raphinha that took the defenders out of the equation and rifling a first-time effort into the far corner.

Three points were secured when Leeds engaged in a counter attack following a Leicester corner, and Bamford - having pressed his opponents for over 84 minutes already - ran the full length of the pitch before unselfishly passing up the opportunity to score his 100th league goal in football.

Indeed, it was that unselfishness that made it one of his best performances yet in a white shirt. His three key passes were only surpassed by Ayoze Perez (5), and resulted in the creation of three big chances. Having also had his header from a first half corner brilliantly denied by Schmeichel, it was certainly a productive afternoon.

There was no better time to put in a top draw display, with England manager Gareth Southgate watching in the stands. Barnes and Kalvin Phillips may have been higher on his priority list, but Bamford’s all-round performance vastly overshadowed his fellow international hopefuls.


Ben White’s replacement may have been hiding under our noses all along

FBL-ENG-PR-LEICESTER-LEEDS
Pascal Struijk comes close to scoring his first goal for Leeds.
Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The failure to reacquire Ben White from Brighton on a permanent basis was a bitter pill for Leeds fans to swallow, and the Peacocks have been forced to go much of the season without either of his replacements in Robin Koch and Diego Llorente.

While disturbing images of the 23-year-old being fielded in central midfield and at wing-back by Graham Potter might tug at the heartstrings, his actual replacement may have been sitting under our noses all along.

Pascal Struijk would not have expected much first team action this season. However, regular injuries to the summer signings along with Cooper have led to the fourth-choice centre-back making eight league appearances so far.

Having struggled in previous matches, particularly when filling in at holding midfield, the Dutch defender has likely risen up the permanent pecking order after playing a starring role yesterday afternoon.

Struijk completed more passes (55) than any other Leeds player, highlighting his distributive ability despite Leicester pipping the visitors in possession. Defensively, he registered two tackles, four interceptions, five clearances, while he blocked one shot and did not allow an opponent to dribble past him at any point in the game.

You can read more about Struijk’s display against Leicester, along with his overall progression this season, in this brilliant piece by Kyle Newbound.


Leeds play Leicester at their own game - and win

Leicester City v Leeds United - Premier League
Harrison scored from a decisive counter-attack.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

While the scoreline may have flattered Leicester in the reverse fixture last year, their 4-1 win at Elland Road was a result of their resolute counter-attacking style, and particularly the role played by star striker Jamie Vardy.

Injury to the 34-year-old forced the Foxes to change their approach, however, and they have since turned to possession-based tactics while they wait for the veteran striker to return to fitness.

This effectively led to the clubs occupying opposite roles at the King Power Stadium, with Leicester eventually chasing the game and consequently dominating possession while Leeds punished them on the break.

Even before Rodgers’ side lost their lead they limited the Whites in possession, and the switch from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-3 after the interval saw Leeds’ pass success rate drop from 78 to 64 percent.

It is fitting then, having dominated matches while squandering chances last season, that the tables have turned. Revenge is a dish best served cold, as they say.


Poll

Who was your man of the match against Leicester?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Patrick Bamford
    (90 votes)
  • 7%
    Stuart Dallas
    (9 votes)
  • 10%
    Pascal Struijk
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    Liam Cooper
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Raphinha
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Jack Harrison
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Illan Meslier
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
120 votes total Vote Now

What did you take away from the win over Leicester? Who was your man of the match? Vote in the poll above (viewable in browser) and let us know on Twitter.