Leeds hung on for the three points in an tight affair at a sodden Elland Road. The match winner was Patrick Bamford who beat Pope from the spot after the keeper had brought down United’s top scorer.
Leeds made one change, Pascal Stuijk coming in for Liam Cooper. Luke Ayling captained the side.
Burnley also made one change with Dale Stephens coming into their starting X1.
Leeds: Meslier, Ayling(c), Struijk, Phillips, Dallas, Alioski, Klich, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison, Bamford.
Leeds were ahead within the first five minutes, Patrick Bamford was flattened by Burnley keeper Nick Pope and after dusting himself down United’s top scorer sent Pope the wrong way with an excellent penalty. It was the striker’s tenth goal of the season.
United had opportunities to increase their lead but Rodrigo and Raphinha didn’t make the most of good chances that came their way. Pope easily saved Rodrigo’s effort and Raphinha put an effort into the South Stand.
Burnley thought they had levelled matters just before the twenty minute mark, Meslier making a hash of a clearance and the ball dropped to Barnes who scored. The referee didn’t refer the incident to VAR and disallowed the goal for a foul on Meslier by Burnley centre half Mee.
Bamford unfortunately blocked Harrison’s goal bound effort and then the busy Raphinha had an effort that Pope easily saved and at the other end ex Leeds striker Chris Wood headed an effort well over the crossbar.
The second half Burnley dominated from the start, Sean Dyche’s half time teamtalk must have impacted on his team as they took the game to Leeds. Lawton and Brownhill both forced Meslier into saves as Leeds rocked a little by the pressure the Lancastrian’s. Leeds with Kalvin Phillips, Luke Ayling and Pascal Struijk defending their goal as if their lives defended on it.
Bielsa introduced Pablo Hernandez and Jamie Shackleton to give the Leeds team fresh legs as their opponents continued to ask questions of their hosts. Hernandez was then denied by a superb save by Pope as the clock clicked towards the last ten minutes.
Dyche sent on Jay Rodriguez and Dale Stephens for Erik Pieters and Josh Benson with Burnley chasing an equaliser, Rodriguez fired over at the far post after being picked out by Brownhill.
Meslier then had to be at his very best to produce a fine save to keep out Barnes' effort out as Leeds stood firm amid a number of late Burnley set-pieces. The last being a free kick that just cleared the Leeds crossbar.
Ayling, Phillips and Phillips were outstanding and despite a couple of nervy moments Meslier made a couple of important stops when Burnley were pushing hard for an equaliser. Raphinha had a good first half but faded in the second. Rodrigo was ‘busy’ but has had better games. Patrick Bamford led the line superbly and gave Pope not a chance in hell of saving his spot kick early doors.
Leeds MOTM: Kalvin Phillips, it times it looked as there were three of him on the pitch.
Marcelo Bielsa: "It was very difficult. Burnley could have drawn the game in the second half, they were two different halves. In the first we were able to impose our game, in the second, especially in the last part, it was difficult for us to neutralise their strengths.
"The first half went according to how we want to play. In the second we couldn't avoid playing the way Burnley wanted to play. If they had drawn, it wouldn't have been unjust. But I value the effort we put in to avoid them drawing.
"I sincerely feel there has been an evolution in the way we defend set-pieces. It was a necessity for us, I express it as a big effort we put in because in the second half when we couldn't impose ourselves and Burnley dominated for a large period, we had the character to fight."
Sean Dyche: "I can't see the penalty for Leeds myself, Nick Pope gets a clear foot on it. Football is in an odd place. The one at the other end where we had a goal disallowed, it's not a foul, it can't be a foul. Ben Mee has his eyes on the ball.
“I have no clue where the game is at physically now. The lucky thing is everyone will see it, that's a bizarre incident. That can't be in the game. It should be a penalty for us - you can't run and knee someone in the back. I'm very aggrieved by that, those moments are important. I merely asked the referee what time he would like me in, that's it. He didn't answer me. I will be going in to ask him what he thought. There's not many people who agree that the game needs tidying up so at times you are a lone voice."
Possession: 51%-49% Shots: 11-14
On-Target: 4-6 Big Chances: 3-2
Chances Created: 7-12 Succ. Passes: 315-271
Succ. Final Third Passes: 40-117
Crosses: 12-37 Corners: 4-12
Ball Recoveries: 53-54 Interceptions: 8-6
Tackles Won: 17-11 Clearances: 36-15
By Keith Ingham
After last weekend’s forgettable result at the hands of Man. Utd. the attention of the fans now turns to the Christmas fixtures with Burnley and West Brom.
First up on Boxing Day lunch time is a white versus red rose clash with Sean Dyche’s outfit at Elland Road.
It sees a return to Leeds for Chris Wood, a top scorer in his last season at the club and left back Charlie Taylor. Both left on not the best of terms and will be determined to put one over their former club.
Leeds have struggled defensively before last weekend’s heavy defeat and set pieces have been a massive problem for the recent under strength department.
Deigo Llorente is back training but the game with Burnley might come too soon for the centre back, with Liam Cooper rated only 60/40 it may fall on the shoulders of Pascal Struijk to deputise in the centre of defence.
Marcelo Bielsa will probably keep faith with the players on duty last Sunday as he has never been one to adapt a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to any defeat. The Head Coach is very loyal to his squad and even in defeat they showed in the match many aspects of the performances that already has seen them earn seventeen points this season.
The last time the two teams met was in the Carabao Cup in 2017 at Turf Moor, Leeds that night won the tie after a penalty shoot out (5-3). The game had ended 2-2 with the United goals coming from Sacko and a Hernandez penalty. Wood had equalised for Burnley also from the penalty spot with a minute to go.
These games are usually very tight affairs and won by the odd goal.
I don’t expect this to change on Sunday. Leeds 2-1.
By Keith Ingham
Team News: Leeds unchanged. Casey and Costa come into the 20. Man. Utd make four changes; De Gea, McTominay, Fred and James coming into the starting X1
Leeds: Meslier, Dallas, Ayling, Cooper(c), Alioski, Phillips, Klich, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison, Bamford.
Leeds were beaten 6-2 in a game that could have ended 10-4 to the hosts. A day fans and players will want to forget but despite the heavy defeat many observers gave them credit for their attacking display.
Leeds found themselves two goals behind in the first three minutes as the hosts tore into them from the first whistle, the goalscorer for both was McTominay. Despite the setback Leeds could and should have halved the deficit but Bamford put an effort wide when put through by Mat Klich and the game was only seven minutes old.
Marcus Rashford had another chance to increase the hosts lead but Meslier made a smart save to deny the winger. Leeds striker Bamford also had an oppprtunity but was judged in an offside position as he put the ball past De Gea.
Unfortunately for Leeds it was 3-0 after twenty minutes as Bruno Fernandez seized on more poor defending to give the hosts a match winning lead. Leeds to their credit simply brushed themselves down and both Bamford and Alioski had efforts, Bamford’s effort from a Klich pass shot over, Alioski’s effort was blocked by a Manchester defender.
Raphinha also had an effort saved by De Gea. You could hardly take your eyes off the game as it went from end to end.
Just before the break Lindelof made it 4-0 heading in a Shaw’s corner that had been headed across the Leeds penalty area by Martial. Again Leeds didn’t give up and got a goal back, Liam Cooper heading Kalvin Phillips corner past De Gea. It was an amazing first half but not for Leeds. 4-1 at the break.
Marcelo Bielsa brought on Pascal Stuijk and Jamie Shackleton for Kalvin Phillips and Mat Klich at the start of the second half. Fred found Martial and the striker should have made it five but his effort went wide. Five minutes into the half Rodrigo found Raphinha but the winger’s header was superbly saved by De Gea, the ball bouncing off a post and out for a corner.
Luke Ayling denied McTominay getting his hatrick with a last ditch header after James put an inviting cross to the opening goalscorer. Leeds had another opportunity to reduce arrears but Alioski’s cross was cleared by McTominay and fell to the foot of Raphinha but De Gea pushed the winger’s shot around the post.
James made it five when Rashford found him twenty yards from goal and the winger went past Ayling and put the ball between Meslier’s legs and into the net. It got worse for Leeds when Martial was judged to be fouled in the area by Struijk, after a check by VAR the penalty was taken by Fernandez who sent Meslier the wrong way to make it 6-1.
Meslier denied Martial with his legs as the striker left Leeds substitute Leif Davis, on for the injured Liam Cooper on his backside. With less than twenty minutes Leif Davis crossed the ball for Raphinha, the winger laid it off to Stuart Dallas who beat De Gea from outside the penalty area. It was a superb goal by the Northern Ireland international.
Leeds claimed a penalty when both Davis and Bamford went down in the area following an incident in the area, Bamford appeared to be hit around in the eye by a Manchester defender, VAR ruled that it was no penalty. Harrison then had another chance for Leeds but the winger put his effort was saved by De Gea.
Martial gave Manchester substitute Cavani a chance but the striker’s effort was saved by Meslier. Another substitute Telles also had an effort on goal but Meslier put a strong hand down to deny him. Meslier also denied Maguire from a corner and when Fred went into the area he stopped his attempted cross reaching Cavani.
The last action of the game saw Raphinha crossing the ball but Bamford missed it but it fell to Harrison who missed the target when he really should have buried the opportunity, it was a poor miss by the Leeds winger.
It was a good game but not defensively, both teams, especially Leeds left a lot to be desired but nobody could say it was boring.
For Leeds MOTM Meslier caught the eye and didn’t have much chance with all six goals, the defence will have nightmares about today and the midfield, apart from Raphinha and Rodrigo will know they could have done better but Manchester really dominated that area. Bamford just had one of those days ... again.
Leeds MOTM: Illan Meslier. Kept Leeds from getting a bigger hammering.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "That was fantastic ! From the first minute we had a plan to get after them, go forward when we got the ball and of course Scott gets two goals in the first three minutes which is a great start to the game.
"We found a way of getting them going. Just imagine if that had 75,000 people here. It would have gone down in history as one of the better Man Utd performances against Leeds here at home.
We're one third into the season, not even at the halfway point. So league position is not something we're going to look at. We look at improvement in the team, look at improvement in fitness - because we knew we were going to be lagging behind in fitness and I think it showed in the first few games. But now we showed we're getting a fitter and stronger team."
Marcelo Bielsa: “The chances created in the first half were similar in the amount of opportunities, the difference in the first half was that they took their chances and we didn't.
The way that both teams attacked was different. They took advantage of our misplaced passes when we were trying to create an attack and that's how they created the majority of their chances. When we weren't able to finish our attacks, our return was not as quick as their transition.
It's very difficult to take, we're very sad and we regret that we weren't able to make more of the game."
Note to self. It’s only one game!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.
By Keith Ingham
On Sunday Leeds take a trip along the M62 to go to a place called Salford where manure play. It’s a game that cunjours up images of Bremner and Best, Weatherall heading in at the Kop end and cantona scoring a penalty and standing in from of the same stand with thousands in front of him wanting to string him up on a lampost in Beeston.
I was introduced to this rivalry around the age of 12. I heard about the epic battles in the 1965 and 1970 FA Cup semi finals between the two teams which Leeds triumphed, after replays to go on to reach the Wembley final.
Unfortunately they lost the first one in 65 to Liverpool after extra time and also lost the second one when Chelsea won 2-1 in a replay also after extra time, ironically at Old Trafford after the first one at Wembley had ended 2-2 on the worst pitch ever seen at the showpiece final.
My Dad and Uncle Fred took me to Elland Road to watch Leeds face their old enemy, I was in the Kop, hardly saw any of the game apart from the celebrations of the away fans after Man U won the game 1-0 with a goal from their winger Anderson. What I witnessed pre game and post game was gangs for fans from both sides trying their best to knock each other’s heads off.
The ‘thin blue line’ tried their best to keep the fans apart with some success but what I saw stuck in my mind and probably because of it wasn’t taken to a game for a very long time!
Around that time Leeds beat Man U 5-1 and Southampton 7-0 and that season just missed out on the double, after finally winning the FA Cup they lost their last league game at Wolves 2-1 so the title went to Derby County. I started attending games in 1974, the season that United won the title and the other United were relegated to Division Two thanks to a goal by ex red Denis Law. A happy season for us.
The two teams met once again in an FA Cup semi final in 1977 but this time it was Man U that triumphed 2-1 and went on to lift the FA Cup. Leeds were relegated in 1982 but that season I stood in the Stretford End and saw Brian Flynn get the winner in a 1-0 win. After the the relegation there were no regular meetings until the promotion year in 1990. The first season back both games ended in draws, a 0-0 at Elland Road and a 1-1 at old farmyard.
The following season Leeds beat their Salford rivals to the Division One title, their first one since Billy Bremner lifted the trophy in 1974. The two teams drew their league games 1-1 home and away but Man U won both the League Cup(3-1) and the FA Cup(1-0)ties at Elland Road. Incredibly that season the two teams met three times from the 29th of December 1991 to January 15th 1992.
In 1994 Man U finished Howard Wilkinson’s tenure at the club after their 4-0 win at Elland Road, the Leeds board decided to dispense of the man who had taken a team struggling after missing out on a FA Cup Final and promotion in 1987 to promotion in 1990. What he did will live long in the history of the club but it wasn’t the nicest way for the two parties to part.
I took my two daughter to the game in ‘94; much to the consternation of my then wife Sue. We were in the East Stand a few blocks from the away section. My eldest daughter Gemma loved the game which Leeds won 2-1 with goals from David Wetherall and Brian Deane, it was the second time Eric Cantana had returned to Elland Road, the first had ended in a 0-0 draw.
In the second half Man U were 2-0 down but were awarded a penalty with less than twenty minutes to play. Up strolled Cantana who beat John Lukic from the spot and stood arms by his side as the Leeds fans vented their hate on their former favourite.
My youngest daughter was far more interested in watching the advertise boards change and also found a couple of quid on the floor much to her delight. Oh the innocence of the young.
The next season Leeds started the Christmas period of games with a game against them on Christmas Eve and once again won the game, this time 3-1 with goals from Gary McAllister(penalty), Tony Yeboah and another one from Brian Deane. That was a bloody good way to start the festive season.
The last season in the Premier League in 2004 saw Man U win 3-2 at Elland Road and the return game ended in a 1-1 draw. The teams didn’t meet for six years until they were drawn together in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Leeds were a Division One club whilst Man U had been Premier League title winners the previous season and had never lost at home to a lower league team for a number of years.
The never to be forgotten game ended with Leeds celebrating with 9,000 fans at the final whistle after a 1-0 win. “Jermaine Beckford scored a pretty good goal in the scum s#%t hole” is regularly sang by the faithful during games that are televised just to show the mancs we haven’t forgotten that famous cup win that saw Alex Ferguson face go even redder at the final whistle. This was one game he really didn’t want to lose!
The last time the two teams locked horns competitively was a League Cup tie in 2011 where the mancs got a little revenge by claiming a 3-0 win at Elland Road against a under strength Leeds side.
The one thing missing on Sunday will be the fans. These kind of games really need fans participation and the rivalry it brings and it will be less of an event without them but will be a game that neither set of fans or players will want to lose.
I for one can’t wait to watch it!
By Keith Ingham
Newcastle United WLLWW
Leeds unchanged. Leif Davis replaces Costa on the bench.
Newcastle United make four changes; Federico Fernandez returned to the side after a spell out with coronavirus, while Ryan Fraser was back after his hamstring problem. Miguel Almiron dropped to the bench, along with Emil Krafth.
Leeds put behind two recent defeats to record their second home win in the Premier League and their first win over Newcastle since 1999. Without doubt this was a five star performance attacking wise from United and the 5-2 win whetted the appetite for the trip to Salford on Sunday tea time.
After a couple of defeats a few nerves had appeared and after the first minute they may have slightly increased, Frazier beat his marker and floated a ball that beat Meslier’s leap but thankful bounced off the bar to safety. It was a somewhat nervy start by Leeds.
Their first site of the Newcastle goal went to Klich but his effort didn’t trouble Darlow, Harrison who had been singled out by some fans as not playing well went on a run that ended with a Rodrigo effort that sailed into the Norman Hunter Stand. Raphinha who started the game impressively got around his marker but was judged to be offside much to his annoyance.
Leeds best chance went to the head of captain Liam Cooper who headed a Harrison corner powerfully towards goal but Darlow saved the effort very impressively. A scramble in the Newcastle area gave Mat Klich another effort but once again it was high over the ball into the NH Stand.
Newcastle had been quiet for a while had an effort on goal by Frazier and three minutes later(28) they were ahead. A ball was put across the Leeds penalty area and Wilson headed it towards the far post where Hendrick put the ball past Meslier to give them the lead much to mine and other fans annoyance. Another cheap goal to give away from a ball into the box.
Rodrigo and Raphinha had efforts that lacked direction and conviction. The Brazilian also had an effort that Darlow saved and when the ball came back to him he headed the ball over. Leeds were level on thirty five minutes, Raphinha made an excellent run that led to him putting a ball over that Rodrigo headed against the bar, luckily for United it dropped onto Patrick Bamford’s head and the top scorer headed into the empty net.
Now many fans would jump to chastise a half and half scarf and we pass no judgement on anyone who is a collector.
But a half and half Lufc shirt? Shut up and take our money!
We’ve been lucky enough to purchase shirts from Replica Sports and we’ve become big fans of the brand and their merchandise. Even donning El Loco snoods on our travels around Leeds and beyond.
If you’d like to register an interest then feel free to contact us on Facebook or show your support for the brand on their own Facebook page on this link;
Note: These are not official Lufc branded products and do not hold the brand name of Leeds United.
West Ham LWWWL
Leeds make one change; Rodrigo comes into the starting X1 in place of the injured Robin Koch. Pablo Hernandez and Jamie Shackleton return from injury onto the substitutes bench.
West Ham make one change; Benramha comes into their starting X1. His first full start for West Ham.
Leeds got on the front foot in the early minutes, Liam Cooper played a superb ball through to Patrick Bamford who was felled by West Ham keeper Fabianski in the second minute, Klich hit the resultant penalty poorly towards the goal and Fabianski saved the effort.
VAR ruled that the keeper was off his line and the penalty was retaken. This time Klich beat Fabianski to his right and United were one up.
The opening goalscorer Klich nearly made it two but Fabianski claimed the ball before the midfielder could get to the ball. West Ham striker had two efforts on goal, his first was easily saved by Meslier, then Luke Ayling blocked his effort and the ball rolled into Meslier’s hands. Rodrigo who had looked impressive early doors had an effort on goal but it went well wide.
Raphinha made the most of a glorious run and played a ball towards Bamford but unfortunately for the eight goal striker it failed to reach him. West Ham had a decent chance but Bowen fired over the bar but were level just before the half hour mark.
A corner was put into the Leeds penalty area, Soucek easily beat his marker Stuart Dallas and although Meslier got a hand on the ball it went into the net for their equaliser. It was an end to end first half and United had a chance when Raphinha put through Rodrigo but the Spaniard failed to beat Fabianski from six yards. Alioski found himself in the referee’s book for a clumsy challenge on Benrahma.
Leeds should have gone into the break ahead but from six yards Patrick Bamford failed to test Fabianski with his poor effort. The last action saw Luke Ayling shoot towards goal but it was easily saved by the busy West Ham keeper. A decent first half by the hosts but the chances they created were spurred and they would regret it by full time.
Leeds surprised many by introducing Helder Costa for Jack Harrison and Jamie Shackleton for Ejanni Alioski after the half time break. One of the substitutes Shackleton burst past the West Ham defence and found Bamford but the striker put his effort wide of the post.
Haller who was making a nuisance of himself had two efforts on goal, the first was blocked by Ayling then Meslier saved his effort and put the ball over the bar. Benrahma put an free kick into the South Stand and was bollocked by his teammates for his selfish effort. The best Leeds could offer was a great shot by Kalvin Phillips but Fabinanski pushed his effort wide of the goal.
Leeds introduced Tyler Roberts for Bamford with 15 minutes to play to try and get the leveller. One substitute who didn’t impress was Helder Costa who continually gave the ball to the visitors, so much so who should have been wearing a black West Ham shirt! A very poor performance by the winger.
West Ham went ahead with ten minutes to play, Costa gave away a cheap free kick away and from the kick Agbonna beat Cooper and the ball flashed past Meslier and into the net. From then on it was Meslier against West Ham and he saved superbly from Haller who tried an overhead kick but the impressive keeper was equal to the spectacular effort. The West Ham goalscorer nearly doubled his tally but a post denied the defender.
Leeds should have rescued a point but Rodrigo headed an late effort into the hands of Fabianski when he really should have put the ball into the net. It was a chance you’d expect a 27 million pound striker to bury but unfortunately he didn’t much to my annoyance and probably many other United fans. Robert Snodgrass, a hero of the 2009/10 Division one promotion side got a few seconds at the venue he graced in his time there.
This defeat hurt, it really hurt. I’m big enough to take a defeat but Leeds are shocking at defending set pieces and every time a team puts a ball into ‘the mix’ you really feel the worse will happen. Not impressed as I said earlier with Costa and a few more of the players on duty.
MOTM: Illan Meslier, apart from their first goal(thought he should have done better) kept the score respectable. Without him another hammering could have happened.
Marcelo Bielsa: "It was a fair defeat, the type of game that doesn't surprise us. We prepared ourselves to face a game of the characteristics it had today and they were superior.
On conceding from set-pieces: "We know about this problem and we're doing everything necessary to try and correct it, it's not sufficient but we have to insist this problem has less influence on our games."
David Moyes: "It's a really good result but we had another setback after 30 seconds. There are some terrible decisions that are happening at the moment. Whoever saw it must have had [Fabianski's foot] x-rayed. The decision was rubbish.
"We had periods where we had big chances. Their young keeper was outstanding tonight and kept them in game. To come to Leeds and get a result is really good."
By Keith Ingham
West Ham LWWWL
Leeds entertain West Ham United on Friday night Sky moved game. It comes after the news that United will be without both their expensive centre back signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente for the forceable next few games.
Koch has a knee problem that has needed surgury and it could take him until the early months of 2021 before he returns, if reports in the German publication ‘Bild’ are true. Llorente could be out until the Boxing Day game with Burnley at Elland Road, so far the Spanish international has only played just over eighty first team minutes since signing for Leeds.
It means that either Kalvin Phillips or Luke Ayling will be in centre defence for the games with West Ham, Newcastle United and the game at old farmyard when we play the scum. Bielsa doesn’t see the absence of the two centre halves as a problem and has rejected the idea Leeds will recruit another in January as he has Ayling, Phillips, Struijk and Casey who can go into the back three or four.
West Ham have had a mixed start best summed up by last week’s defeat to Man Utd. On top for the first thirty minutes, getting a goal but failing to increase their lead before collapsing in the second half giving their visitors a 3-1 win at The London Stadium. Despite the defeat they are eighth and three points ahead of Leeds, they have a strong squad and should not be taken lightly by United.
Marcelo Bielsa has already announced his team, it will be Meslier, Dallas, Ayling, Cooper(c), Alioski, Phillips, Klich, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison and Bamford leading the line and hoping to increase his eight goal tally for the season, an impresssive start for a player many fans doubted could ‘cut it’ in the Premier League.
Many United fans will be delighted by the fact that Raphinha and Rodrigo are about to be unleashed against ‘the Hammers’. Rodrigo has been used mainly as a substitute since his summer move but looks a treat when introduced by Bielsa in the second half of games.
Rodrigo vs Declan Rice
An eagerly awaited start for Rodrigo could Leeds the added attacking dynamic they have been clambering for in recent games. The Spaniards ability to receive the ball in midfield and push forward will surely mean West Ham will employ measures to prevent him having opportunities near goal.
Young English hopeful Declan Rice is likely to continue his position between defence and midfield in a Bielsa-esque system of 3-3-1-3. It’s remained to be seen how Rice will deal with his latest duties against the Spanish International.
Leeds haven’t won a game by 2-1 this season, but I think this is the one they will and gain an important three points. Leeds 2-1.
By Keith Ingham