Leeds make three changes for the game; Liam Cooper, Jamie Shackleton and Pablo Hernandez replace Pascal Struijk and Ejanni Alioski who drop to the bench and Rodrigo who was absent due to COVID protocol.
Leicester bring in Albrighton and Thomas for the injured Evans and Castagne.
A sombre start with the Leeds players locking arms while the last post was played at an empty Elland Road. Thoughts too to the family of World Cup winner ‘Nobby’ Stiles who was remembered on the night.
Leeds should have been ahead within a minute, Harrison headed a cross back across the six yard box but last week’s hero fluffed the chance by heading the ball straight at the Leicester City keeper. At this level you miss a chance and you can be punished and United were within a minute, Robin Koch made a right ‘balls up’ of a back pass giving Albert Steptoe (Vardy) a clear run on goal, instead of scoring he set up Barnes who beat Meslier easily, two minutes gone and Leeds were behind.
Barnes could have doubled his tally but he was denied by a brave save by Meslier. The Leeds defence was struggling with the pace of Vardy and Barnes, the later having another effort superbly saved by Meslier. Leeds were guilty of giving their opponents too much respect and sloppy passes didn’t help their cause. Bamford had another chance when he was set up by a good move by Costa and Ayling, the striker put the ball past the post from just outside the six yard box.
Leicester made it two after twenty minutes, Vardy had an header saved by Meslier unfortunately for the keeper the ball ran to Tielemans who slid the ball into the empty net. It could have been worse when Meslier spilled a cross and it nearly slipped into the goal, fortunately the keeper redeemed his mistake by dropping on the ball before it ended in the net.
Bamford had Leeds’ last chance of the half but when one-on-one with Schmeichal, unfortunately the former Leeds keeper came out the winner and the chance was gone. An awful half from Leeds with Leicester being far the better side and United were given a lesson in finishing. City deserved their two goal lead and to be honest could have doubled their tally.
Leeds started the second half with a change, ‘Little Ian’ Poveda replaced Jamie Shackleton who to be honest didn’t pull up any trees, but neither did anybody in a white shirt in the first half. Interestingly Leeds pulled a goal back within minutes of the second half starting, Stuart Dallas put in a ball that bounced through white and blue shirts and past Schmeichal into the net to give United a hope of getting back into the game. He was booked a minute later for clattering into a Leicester player and leaving him in a heap.
This was United’s best period of the game and they pushed City on the back foot and they were desperately unlucky when Pablo Hernandez beat Schmeichal all ends up but the ball smashed against the bar and bounced to safety. It was a superb effort from the Spaniard, Klich also had an effort but his effort was wide of the post.
Maddison replaced Praet and Bielsa surprisingly removed Hernandez with Tyler Roberts after sixty minutes, much to the annoyance of the Leeds midfielder who stropped off the pitch with an ‘icy’ stare toward the Leeds bench. Meslier then denied Barnes with a smart save as City came back into the game. Leeds had a penalty shout turned down by the referee after Ayling went down in the area.
Leicester made it three on eighty three minutes after substitute Madisson sent Vardy away and he finished superbly past Meslier. The goalscorer was replaced by Wes Morgan soon after his goal. City rubbed salt in Leeds’ wounds when after a challenge by Klich on Madisson on the edge of the area. It went to VAR and the TV monitor before the referee awarded the penalty. Tielemans netted sending Meslier the wrong way in injury time.
Full Time: Leeds 1 Leicester City 4. The win was City’s fourth away from home this season.
Leeds MOTM: Nobody first half but Pablo breathed life into Leeds before being strangely substituted when Leeds had Leicester rocking, Stuart Dallas also let nobody down too.
Marcelo Bielsa: "The result was fair. In the first 30 minutes it was difficult for us to defend, and in the hour we dominated, we weren't able to create enough danger.
"The distribution on the pitch was not correct and it was very difficult for us to defend in the first 30 minutes. We allowed them to make the final passes with too much comfort and ease."
Brendan Rodgers: "My players were tactically brilliant. You have to deny Leeds space, if it becomes a basketball game, as they've shown, they can cause any team problems. We denied the space, made it difficult and then had the quality when we had the opportunities.
"We were amazing, we've got so many players out and right across the team it was a really good team performance. This team has got an amazing mentality, lots of young hungry players.
"You need to have more than one way to play in the modern team. My teams will always look to dominate and control where we can, but you can also control the game without the ball and especially against teams with real quality.
"You still have to have that concentration to block and press at the right moments. I'm pleased with our flexibility and how we are developing and improving."
Leeds v Leicester City statistics:
Shots: 11-10 On-Target: 4-8
Successful Passes: 540-212 Final Third Passes: 128-47
Chances Created: 7-6 Recoveries: 64-57
Successful Crosses: 1-4 Tackles Won: 19-20
Stats by LUFCDATA
The result says it all really, a game that changed within sixty first half seconds and unfortunately if you miss chances at this level they will cost you. Leeds played better in the second half and IF Pablo’s shot goes in it could have been a different story. On to Palace.
By Keith Ingham