Leeds United picked up their first three points of the season against Watford.
An industrious Leeds began the game on the front foot and continued their intensity throughout the full game, barely giving Watford a chance to breathe.
Diego Llorente returned to the first team picture as Charlie Cresswell goes to the bench. Crysencio Summerville misses out on the squad due to a virus.
Watford’s Peter Etebo misses out and is set to be out for a lengthy time due to a torn quad, Tom Cleverly also returns to the bench. Ozan Tufan gets his first start and is partnered by Francisco Sierralta.
Leeds: Meslier, Firpo, Cooper, Llorente, Dallas, Shackleton, Phillips, Klich, Raphinha, James, Rodrigo
Subs: Klaesson, Roberts, Harrison, Gelhardt, Hjelde, Greenwood, McKinstry, Cresswell, Struijk
Watford: Foster, Rose, Ekong, Tufan, Sissoko, Femenia, Sarr, Dennis, Sierralta, Kucka, King
Subs: Bachmann, Ngkaia, Kabasele, Masina, Hernandez, Pedro, Sema, Cleverley, Gosling
The home side started on the front foot with Raphinha pinching the ball from Danny Rose and driving into the inside before his shot was blocked by Troost-Ekong; who then recovers to block Dan James’ effort.
Stuart Dallas then called upon Ben Foster after a very incisive run into the area, with the stopper keeping his low effort from breaking the deadlock early.
The Northern Ireland midfielder was then gifted a second bite of the apple when Junior Firpo burst forward before giving Klich the ball who set up an on rushing Dallas who’s effort cannons wide.
Leeds then broke the deadlock when Raphinha’s corner cannoned off Kucka and fell into Diego Llorente’s path who sends the ball past Foster.
The home side could have doubled their lead when Troost-Ekong accosted Dan James who had driven in the box with Simon Hooper waiving away the wingers protest. It seems VAR is still not on the Whites side when it comes to decisions.
Foster was then called upon when Raphinha was through on goal, the seasoned keeper managed to push the winger too wide for his shot to be on target.
In a game that finally showcased why Leeds have persisted in the addition of Dan James with the winger excelling throughout the game, driving the ball forward at every interval and shaking defenders from both the left and right of midfield.
Leeds then nearly felt their current luck had continued when Watford had the ball in the back of the net after Ilan Meslier spilled the ball from a corner, only for a foul by Christian Kabasele to save his blushes.
The home side nearly sealed the three points with only minutes left after Tyler Roberts beats Ben Foster from a spilled catch and has his first effort cleared off the line and his second acrobatic effort crashes against the post.
An extremely well deserved three points for the home side who could have finished the game comfortably if it wasn’t for a spirited Ben Foster and a lack of a killer touch.
The industrious midfield of Phillips, Dallas and Klich finally look to have built a strong understanding in the middle of the park and were able to
Man of the Match: Raphinha - always dangerous and a constant threat on either side of midfield. Nearly every attack came through the fleeting Brazilian.
Leeds now enter the international break with the illustrious first win in the bag and a favourable away trip to winless Southampton to come next.
If a win the either side of the international break can be obtained, the slow start to the season can be overlooked and Leeds can be back on track.
By Ryan Ingham
Leeds suffered another defeat at Elland Road but there are some positives to take out of the 2-1 loss.
The first half especially Leeds created enough chances to be comfortable before the break but faded in the second and West Ham saw their chance and took it with goals from Bowen, deflected off Firpo a#%e and Antonio in the last minute.
Leeds brought in Shackleton and Cresswell for his Premier League debut. Rodrigo led the line as Bamford was sidelined.
West Ham saw the return of Antonio from suspension with Viasic dropping to the bench.
Leeds opened the game well with Phillips shooting wide from distance in the early minutes. West Ham first effort came minutes later, Antonio forcing Meslier into a save.
Benrahma also forcing the French keeper into another fine save soon after. In an end to end first 15 Dallas shot wide from outside the area before the first goal arrived just before twenty minutes.
A long ball found Rodrigo who forced himself into the area, he slipped the ball to Klich who in turn put it right on the foot of Raphinha, the Brazilian took aim and the ball flew past Fabianski and into the net. Raphinha rushed to celebrate with the fans and was booked for doing it. The goal forced West Ham forward and Ogbonna had a effort on goal but it was too high.
He shoots he celebrates.
Just after the 30 minute mark Raphinha tried his luck again when found outside the area, unluckily the ball struck the base of the post and bounced to safety. West Ham had two late chances as the game approached the break, Arron Cresswell got behind Leeds but his cross just was too wide of Antonio’s outstretched leg.
Then their best chance of the half fell to Fornals who sprinted towards the Leeds goal, all that was in front of him was Meslier but the keeper spread himself superbly and the chance was gone. A mention for young Charlie Cresswell who had a very impressive first half on his home debut.
Leeds brought on Jack Harrison for Dan James after the break. The first corner of the half found Cresswell but his header went wide. Raphinha went another run but after beating the West Ham rearguard he failed to find a white shirt in the penalty area. West Ham thought they’d equalised when Soucek needed after a melay in the six yard box. The referee was advised by VAR to check the incident and he disallowed the goal and booked Antonio for elbowing Meslier in the face.
Leeds had an excellent chance to go two up but after Raphinha made his way into the penalty area, he slipped a perfect ball to Mat Klich but with Harrison free to his left he tamely put a shot towards goal, it must have been deflected as the referee awarded a corner to Leeds. He (Klich) should have hit the ball hard towards the goal but unfortunately he didn’t. Big chance missed and Leeds would pay for it three minutes later as West Ham equalised.
Bowen made his way from the corner of the penalty area, his shot had power but lacked direction until it hit Cooper’s foot then Firpo’s a*** and went past Meslier. When your luck is out, it’s out!
Meslier was booked for complaining of being manhandled by Antonio once again. Jamie Shackleton had a fine run but with no end product before Raphinha was substituted by Tyler Roberts, he was treated at the side of the pitch with a ice pack. The Leeds substitute was booked within minutes of coming on as Leeds went for the winner.
Unfortunately in one of these breaks the ball was won by West Ham, they moved it forward quickly and with time nearly at 90 minutes Antonio flicked the ball over Shackleton, drew Meslier out and fired into the corner of the net to cause celebrations in the West Stand from the visitors fans, some raced on the pitch to celebrate with their players.
Antonio wins it late.
Football can be cruel and it usually is, especially recently and the game ended 2-1 to West Ham. I was pretty dejected walking out of the ground, I though Leeds deserved at least a draw for their efforts.
Good performances by Jamie Shackleton, Charlie Cresswell , Kalvin as always, Raphinha superb in the first half and a better 90 plus minutes from Rodrigo. We will play worse this season and end up with three points.
Man of the Match: Raphinha, scored one and was unstoppable in the first 60 minutes. Charlie Cresswell also deserves credit for his first Premier League appearance.
ON TO WATFORD!
By Keith Ingham
After waiting since 2020 to get her boots on we were able to catch up with Laura Bartup; who is enjoying a blinding start to her Leeds Ladies season.
A hat-trick against Barnsley and goals against Chester-le-street have catapulted Leeds Ladies to second in the table, winning five games on the spin since their opening day loss.
Laura, who joined from Doncaster prior to the Covid 19 epidemic has been a very visible star during this resurgence and we can’t wait to see more from her!
Where are you from?
I was born in Grimsby but from a little village called Goxhill
When was you’re first interest in football. School, college or anything else that made you want to play the game?
At 8 years old, I was too shy to join at an even younger age. Watching my big sister play was way got me into football and my family are football mad
Who is your biggest influence?
Biggest influence- my sister she’s my rock!
Who was your favourite player/idol when growing up?
Cristiano Ronaldo, I was obsessed with him as a young child. In the female game I admired kelly smith, she’s world class
First Leeds game at Elland Road?
First Leeds game was everton this season
Who is somebody you aspire to be like?
I aspire to be my own person and hopefully a hero at leeds united women getting promoted through the leagues
Do you have a favourite moment playing for Leeds Ladies?
Scoring 4 goals against Barnsley
Where is your place in the world?
Favourite place is somewhere where it’s nice and hot
What is your Pre-match meal?
Pre match meal is usually spaghetti on toast with a poached egg or pasta depending on the time of the game
Brown sauce or Red?
100% red sauce
We would like to thank Laura for answering our questions and say it was a pleasure to meet her at Everton with her lovely mum Rachel.
Good luck to Laura for the rest of her season and we look forward to seeing her bag more goals!
By Keith Ingham
Leeds United face a home test against a buoyed West Ham who defeated Manchester United midweek.
After a penalty win, the Whites will be looking to turn their form around with a fixture that last year did not bring much joy.
West Ham were on the receiving end of 6 points when the teams faced eachother last season and it will be hard to see this result continuing to bear fruition from the London side in the current state of things.
Injuries, poor form and previous results are bound to linger in the mind and Leeds will be hopeful to break their current duck against the visitors.
The Whites are crippled by injuries at this moment in time with Patrick Bamford, Diego Llorente and Robin Koch all set to miss out once again.
Several plays have been listed as questionable including Luke Ayling, Raphinha and Jack Harrison. Pascal Struijk misses out due to his suspension.
West Ham will be without Ryan Fredericks who is only a backup and Michael Antonio returns from his suspension.
West Ham: WWDDL
Declan Rice vs Kalvin Phillips
Inseparable for England, fierce rivals for today. Both Phillips and Rice will be looking to show their qualities in a game that will continue the debate of who is the better holding midfielder.
Rice will be expected to burst forward if Moyes has done his homework on Bielsa’s man to man tactics and it will be up to Phillips to halt all forward bursting midfielders.
Head to Head vs West Ham
Games won: 48
Games drawn: 29
Games lost: 29
Last five results: WDDLL
Last five results at Elland Road: WWWDL
With a side in flux and test to secure three points in the league, Leeds’ backs are against it for the visit of West Ham but that could work to their benefit.
West Ham will see today’s fixture as a potential three points and this brings a vibrancy and attacking intent to their game, something Leeds will relish.
By Ryan Ingham
Leeds United host Liverpool in what could be a Sunday thriller that plenty of fans would have highlighted when the fixtures were released.
In a game that has been marred by the controversy of the Brazil national teams complaint against the Premier League; it looks like Leeds will now have Raphinha available for selection, with Liverpool seeing the return of Fabinho, Firmino and Allisson.
The game has been a thrilling encounter in both exchanges last year; with a ding dong battle for supremacy on the opening game of the season and a feisty 1-1 at Elland Road.
Leeds will have a near fully fit squad to choose from ahead of the clash with the return of Junior Firpo and Mateusz Klich from Covid. Robin Koch remains unable to be selected.
New signing Dan James could be set to feature for the whites.
Although now available for selection, Roberto Firmino is not set to feature for Liverpool along with James Milner and Takumi Minamimo.
The midfield trio
Leeds have shown to be exposed in their usually rigid midfield in the Premier League this season. The likes of Phillips, Rodrigo and Dallas will have their hands full today with an exciting trio of Fabinho, Elliott and Henderson.
The battle both defensively and offensively will be won or lost in the middle third of the field today and could see a few cards during the game.
Can Phillips keep Elliott from carrying the ball forward while Dallas keeps Fabinho from his marauding runs? We will see come 4:30pm.
Head to Head vs Liverpool
Games won: 22
Games drawn: 23
Games lost: 51
Last five results: DLLLD
Last five results at Elland Road: LLDLD
Leeds’ start to the Premier League has been shaky and still without a win. The visit of a Liverpool side buoyed by an unbeaten start to their season will make it all the much harder to grind out a positive result.
By Ryan Ingham
Leeds face Burnley on Sunday hoping to get their first win of the season. The last two game have brought some improvements, the midfield looked stronger with the trio of Phillips, Dallas and Klich but the defence still looked porous against Everton and even Crewe in the Carabao Cup got efforts that Meslier had to deal with before Leeds scored a trio.
Marcelo Bielsa in his press conference on Friday said that Deigo Llorente came through 45 minutes in the cup tie without problems and is available if picked for the game on Sunday. He had no information on who else will be in the starting X1. It would be a surprise if he made many changes to the team that faced Everton.
Leeds did the double over Burnley last season, a very nervy 1-0 win at Elland Road and a 4-0 battering of their Lancashire hosts later in the season at Turf Moor. Burnley survived the drop by getting some important wins at the business end of the season. They finished 11 points ahead of relegated Fulham in seventeenth place.
Rodrigo beats Peacock-Farrell for one of his two goals last season.
This season they’ve brought in Wayne Hennessy and just this week re-signed former Leeds player Arron Lennon. So far this season they’ve lost both games, a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton and were defeated 2-0 at Liverpool. They did progress at Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup 2nd round thanks to penalties.
Leeds do well, usually at Turf Moor and will be confident getting three points. Leeds 2-1.
By Keith Ingham
Leeds and Everton fought out a exciting 2-2 draw at a full Elland Road. The game was the first most had seen there since the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town back in February 2020. The emotion of remembering past heroes and fans lost during those months was clear to see and I had myself a few tears as both sets of players and fans saluted them with a minutes applause.
Kalvin Phillips and summer signing Junior Firpo started as Leeds made two changes from the opening-day defeat at Man Utd. Rodrigo moved to the bench, Robin Koch injured.
Rafa Benitez drafted Yerry Mina and Alex Iwobi into the Everton starting line-up as he made two changes from the opening-day win over Southampton.
Everton were the first to show intent as Doucoure put an effort into the Kop and Gray tore down the wing and sent a cross that just eluded the toe end of Calvert-Lewin. In return Leeds played some smart football with Raphinha mostly involved moving the ball from left to right but not threatening Pickford’s goal.
Klich had a effort deflected wide and Phillips put on over the bar after a short corner routine. Bamford did tremendously well to win the ball despite getting fouled but it came to no avail, much to the annoyance of Leeds’ number 9. The first goal surprisingly went to Everton after Calvert-Lewin clashed with Cooper in the penalty area, the referee was alerted by VAR and after checking the incident he awarded the penalty. Calvert-Lewin, despite the antics of one bare chested fan in the Kop rubbing his belly put the ball past Meslier. 1-0 Everton.
Calvert-Lewin claims a penalty.
Leeds urged on by the capacity crowd tried their best to get the leveller but when it came on 41 minutes it was from a ricochet off an Everton player that bounced to Bamford who set off towards the Everton goal. He saw Klich and with a deft flick put the ball on a plate for the midfielder and the Polish international finished superbly. A goal that was met with adulation all around Elland Road. Meslier did make a good save to deny Doucoure just before the break to keep Everton out.
Half Time 1-1.
Klich levels matters.
Within minutes of the second half Everton claimed a second, the ball was moved towards the Leeds goal and bounced off a defender before it was moved to Gray, it looked as he had spurned the chance but he recovered and beat Dallas before despatching a shot that went past Meslier and into the net. It could have been worse for Leeds minutes later but Meslier saved Calvert-Lewin’s header when he was unmarked in the area.
Leeds after those two moments set about finding an equaliser and both Dallas and Raphinha were denied by Everton defenders as the visitors hung on to their lead. At the other end Meslier denied Calvert-Lewin with a smart save. Bielsa looked to his bench to improve things, Roberts and Shackleton replacing Klich and a tired looking Firpo on the hour.
Leeds moved Dallas to left back as Shackleton came into midfield and the youngster had a fine appearance always wanting to move Leeds forward. The equaliser came with under twenty minutes to play, a corner came back out to Phillips who put in a superb cross that was cleared into the air and fell to Cooper who laid the ball into the path of Raphinha, the Brazilian saw a gap at Pickford’s near post and with precision and power put it past the England goalkeeper. A fine goal.
Raphinha makes it 2-2
The referees note book had a few names go in it, Coleman and Doucoure for late challenges as Leeds went for the win. Cooper was wide from a free kick, much to his annoyance and Struijk also was wide of the Everton goal from another free kick. Both teams had efforts in the last ten minutes, for Everton Townsend tested Meslier and Coleman put an effort wide of the post. Substitute Keane had their best chance from a corner but he headed straight at Meslier. Bamford had an effort blocked for Leeds.
As the ninty minutes mark past both Roberts and Bamford claimed penalties, the first on Roberts looked like a fine tackle by the Everton defender. The one involving Bamford looked more close as both players looked like they were holding each other but despite protests from Bamford strangely VAR saw no wrong doing by the man in blue. It looked from my view that it was as debatable as the one given to Everton earlier in the game. Full Time 2-2.
It was an absorbing contest with two good teams on view, I think Leeds shaded it, they definitely did on possession. It was a superb return to the stadium and fans cheered their favourites around the ground at the end of the game. They’ed waited a long time to celebrate the Championship title and a return to tge Premier League with their heroes.
Rachel and Leeds ladies Laura Bartup.
God it was good to be back !!
By Keith Ingham
Leeds United will look to undo last weekends wrongs as they face Everton.
A capacity Elland Road crowd will await the Whites; who have not experienced the stadium full for a home fixture since their 2-0 win over Huddersfield before Covid tore apart the country.
This game will be a return to home and former familiar surrounds for not only the players; but also a massive opportunity for the fans to finally feel like life is back to normal.
Leeds will look to correct any doubts after their humiliation at Old Trafford; a 5-1 defeat that won’t do anything but ask questions of how Leeds will settle in the Premier League in the clubs second season.
Everton will look to continue from their bright start to Rafa Benitez’s reign; a surprise comeback 3-1 victory at Goodison was plenty more than what fans and pundits expected for the club with several questions hanging over it.
Kalvin Phillips could be set to feature for Leeds having been an unused substitute at Old Trafford but may not be in line for a start. Diego Llorente will not be in contention. Junior Firpo could make his first start in front of a packed Elland Road.
James Rodrigues will continue to be absent from the Everton squad. Ben Godfrey, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jean-Phillipe Gbamin and Andre Gomes missed out on the clash against Southampton. Moise Kean could be set to feature.
Raphinha vs Lucas Digne
There was a lot more to be designed of Leeds’ dynamic winger at Old Trafford and a first home game with a full Elland Road will bring not only pressure; but the support that the Brazilian has been waiting for.
Everton’s flying full back Lucas Digne showed flashes of brilliance last season and will want to continue to impress on cementing his spot in the France back four at the Euros.
Will Raphinha be able to transcend in front of the home fans and showcase his ability against another tough opponent?
Head to Head vs Everton
Games won: 52
Games drawn: 32
Games lost: 34
Last five results: LDWWL
Last five results at Elland Road: WLDWL
It’s going to be a whirlwind of emotions for both fans and players tomorrow in a packed Elland Road and another test awaits Marcelo Bielsa. This time we hope to see three points and Elland Road knocking.
By Ryan Ingham