Leeds United beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Elland Road after a very good performance, it should have been more as there was a distance between the sides but Leeds’ finishing was the one part of their performance that wasn’t as strong as the rest.
Leeds took the lead with the first meaningful moment of the game. Stuart Dallas found Jack Harrison on the edge of the box, and his right-foot shot was deflected beyond Vicente Guaita.
Real class performance and result tonight. Managed the game brilliantly and barely gave Palace a kick. You can see they're learning each game. Cooper btw, outstanding. #LUFC— FocusOnLeeds (@FocusOnLeeds) February 8, 2021
Leeds went close again soon after when a good Patrick Bamford header was saved by Guaita, Bamford and Pascal Struijk then both missed great chances that should have seen Leeds at least two goals up at half-time.
Leeds did get their second early in the second half. Leeds pressing won the ball high up the pitch, Mateusz Klich played a very good through ball to Raphinha, his shot was saved well by Guaita but Bamford calmly finished the rebound.
Leeds had more chances, including another sitter for Struijk. For two was enough for as comfortable a win as Leeds have had all season.
Struijk scored loads of goals for the U23s - headers, volleys, tap-ins & penalties too. He’s on a hat-trick of misses today but the reassuring thing is that he’s getting into the right places. The goals will definitely come. #lufc— (@tommy_lufc) February 8, 2021
Illan Meslier - A few simple saves, a few simple passes. 7/10
Luke Ayling - Very involved in attacks down the right. Barring one terrible piece of defending to let Batshuayi turn and set up a chance for Eze, he was very good. 7.5/10
Pascal Struijk - Untroubled defensively in the first half. Headed one tough chance over, then made a mess of a great chance a few minutes later. Missed another fantastic chance early on the hour mark, again with his head. Although he missed the chances, getting them speaks highly of his movement. 7.5/10
This didn't go in. This didn't go on target. We're hilarious at times. pic.twitter.com/sNAGJvcdMc— I Hate Leeds (@ihatelufc) February 8, 2021
Liam Cooper - Untroubled throughout, did everything he had to well. On the ball he had one of his better days. 8/10
Ezgjan Alioski - Solid outing at left-back, defended well when called upon. His lack of confidence in his right foot cause some issues when looking to pass.
Kalvin Phillips - Won the ball in the build up to Leeds’ second goal. Did a great man marking job on Jordan Ayew and managed to get himself free to receive the ball once Leeds won possession back. Did pick up an injury which forced him off late on, hopefully that isn’t too serious. 8/10
Raphinha - Had a lot of early success with his pressing. As good a piece of skill as you will see to beat Gary Cahill. Put in several excellent crosses from set pieces in the first half. A threat everytime he touched the ball in the first half. His shot that was saved before Bamford’s follow up to make it 2-0. 8.5/10
Stuart Dallas - Picked up the assist for the opening goal, although it wasn’t really a chance creating pass. Good both on and off the ball throughout. Leeds’ midfield feels much more balanced with him in there. 7.5/10
Mateusz Klich - Good through ball to Raphinha in the build up to Leeds’ second goal. Much more involved in the play and looked back to his level, much better than his previous performances. 7.5/10
Jack Harrison - Good strike with his right foot to give Leeds an early lead, a bit lucky with the deflection. Unlucky with a strike that hit the bar late on. Lots of energy down the left and came inside well when he could. 8/10
Patrick Bamford - Had a good header saved early on. Skied a great chance when through on goal that he made himself. His movement caused a lot of problems early on. Calm finish on the rebound to make it 2-0 early in the second half. Late on, dropped in well both to chase back and to give a passing option as Leeds wound the game down. 8/10
Jamie Shackleton (for Phillips, 88mins) - N/A