Leeds United have risen to 10th in the Premier League table following a comfortable 2-1 victory over Paul Heckingbottom’s Sheffield United on his return to Elland Road.
Jack Harrison’s opening goal was cut out by Ben Osbourne’s equaliser, before a second-half own goal from veteran defender Phil Jagielka sealed the three points.
Stuart Dallas ran the show in midfield, while George Baldock was fortunate to not see red for his reckless challenge on Tyler Roberts.
Here is how we rated Bielsa’s men, who have now reached the 40-point margin.
Illan Meslier - 6
The Frenchman was rarely called into action as Leeds dominated the match; subsequently, Meslier didn’t have to make a single save. Not much he could do about the goal as the assist deflected off a Leeds leg.
Ezgjan Alioski - 6
After enjoying an incredible victory over Germany with North Macedonia, Alioski was not as calamitous as he was against Fulham, even if he did throw in some bizarre moments in defence.
His passing was often wayward, resulting in Leeds’ probing of the Blades’ box ending prematurely, and his crossing lacked accuracy, but he provided a fairly regular threat in the box and had two shots blocked.
Liam Cooper (c) - 6.5
Some fans were not pleased to see Pascal Struijk dropped on the back of some good performances alongside Diego Llorente, but the captain rarely put a foot wrong on his rather lowkey return from illness. Found success in the majority of his duels and passes.
Diego Llorente - 6.5
Having played well in distribution, shown his face down the right wing and contributed with a defensive error, it was what is becoming a typical game for the Spanish defender.
Jack Harrison would not have had his goal had Llorente not battled to get the ball to Stuart Dallas as Leeds played out from the back, and his passing was neat and tidy for the most part. However, an error of judgement saw him step over the ball which was directed into the net by Ben Osbourne at the far post.
Luke Ayling - 7
With Alioski looking out of place on the left, much of the play came down the right and Ayling generally delivered as he almost always does. He contributed with a few dangerous deliveries, including an excellent ball for Patrick Bamford’s chance.
Completed plenty of defensive actions and got stuck in down the right side, enjoying 91 touches of the ball. Ultimately unfortunate that he couldn’t do more to stop the equaliser.
Kalvin Phillips - 7
Given Phillips’ recent involvement with England in the World Cup qualifiers, he played about as well as one could have hoped in the Yorkshire derby. His awareness to win possession back was one of his strong points, particularly as he swept the ball away from John Lundstram before testing Aaron Ramsdale from distance in the first half.
His passing was not as accurate as usual but otherwise it was a sturdy defensive display from the Yorkshire Pirlo.
Jack Harrison - 7
The Manchester City loanee got himself in the perfect position to tap in Leeds’ opener. His movement off the ball made him a consistent threat on the break, and he also contributed with some threatening deliveries, one of which found its way into the net via Phil Jagielka.
Occasionally he held onto the ball long enough to have it nipped away from him, but a solid attacking display all round.
Tyler Roberts (off 81’) - 6.5
The ‘challenge’ on Roberts by George Baldock should have resulted in at least a yellow, but nothing should be taken away from the selflessness shown by the Welsh international.
Overall his passing could have used some work, but he made up for it with the pass of the match to Harrison, who then saw his cross driven into the net by Jagielka. He also got a second assist for the first goal, playing Raphinha into the box. Drove his one meaningful shot on goal not far past the bottom right corner.
Stuart Dallas (MOTM - off 94’) - 8.5
Another superb display from the Northern Irishman who never stops running. He contributed at both ends of the pitch and was unlucky not to score, registering three good shots on goal and glancing the woodwork once.
He played a vital role for Harrison’s opener too, playing a one-two with Ayling before battling to win back possession to kick off the killer move. Excellent all round.
Raphinha - 7.5
In some ways it was a bit of a mixed bag from Raphinha; his movement out of possession was superb, he pulled one or two tricks out of the bag to beat his man and he contributed defensively, but his passing was often lacking in the razor sharp accuracy it so often possesses and he lost the ball once or twice, including during the build-up to Sheffield United’s goal.
He was a constant threat on the break and was perhaps unlucky to only set up one goal. Some of his best contributions, however, arguably came from the way he drew opponents away with some excellent runs that opened up space for his teammates.
Patrick Bamford (off 65’) - 6.5
The striker hoping for a place on the plane to this summer’s European Championships was unable to add to his 14 Premier League goals after enduring one of his quieter afternoons in front of goal.
Contributing with some good off-the-ball movement and was involved with plenty of build-up play, he managed to get one shot away in the second half at the near post but was denied by a block from Ramsdale.
Rodrigo (on 65’) - 6
Returning from his latest injury, Rodrigo tried his hardest to get involved in the final third but the visitors’ defenders were ultimately a bit too sharp for him. Subsequently, he did not feel quite as effective as Bamford in the build-up.
The Spaniard curled a ranged effort into the arms of Ramsdale in the dying moments of the match. It will be positive for some that he featured as a striker, rather than a midfielder.
Klich (on 81’) - 6
A change in what is required from Leeds’ midfield has hit Klich hard this season, along with the continuation of demanding training as he enters the wrong side of 30. He didn’t have a lot of time to effect the game this time round.
Robin Koch (on 94’) - N/A
Made a late cameo as his return to full fitness continues.
Who was your man of the match?
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