A solid two-nil win saw Leeds bounce back to winning ways after Saturday’s disappointing loss at Blackburn. The win over an extremely limited Ipswich side has put Leeds back at the top of the table on goal difference. Pablo Hernandez produced a sublime display to show yet again that he is the most crucial player in the Leeds squad. The Spanish magician was clearly the best player on the pitch and curled a beautiful cross to find Kemar Roofe for the opening goal. Kalvin Philips deserves special praise for his performance at centre back. The young Leeds native showed a high degree of composure which was crucial to Leeds keeping a clean sheet. The first half was frankly awful to watch. Leeds upped the pace in the second half and ended up comfortable winners. Another big home game awaits on Saturday against Nottingham Forest. Leeds go into the game as the top team in the championship, and I fully expect that they will still occupy top spot come eight o’clock on Saturday.
Pablo The Saviour:
The former Valencia star gave an excellent performance on Wednesday night. Spatial awareness, subtle pace and a fantastic football brain are just three of the qualities expertly shown by the Leeds number 19 against the tractor boys. The cross for the opening goal was inch perfect and showed what the Leeds attack has sorely missed over the past month. Kemar Roofe looked much fitter compared to the game at Ewood Park. The striker’s constant energy and smart running provide Leeds with a much better attacking balance. Samu Saiz produced another tired display and could be due for a rest. I must add that I think that Gianni Alisoki is better playing at left back compared to the left wing. I thought it was great to see Tom Pearce get on for the final half hour. Jack Harrison didn’t have a great game, and he will probably return to the bench on Saturday. It is entirely possible that Adam Forshaw will start the game on Saturday against Forest. The midfielder worked well beside Mateusz Klich when he came on in the second half. The Polish international showed again that he is guaranteed to start when he is fit as he controlled the midfield.
Leeds Up the Pace:
I was very concerned after the poor performance against an average Blackburn team on Saturday. The defending for the two Blackburn goals was amateurish, but the lack of pace and speed of passing was the most alarming issue for me. The final half hour against Ipswich was excellent and a welcome return to form. The high-octane attacking play and the fast passing in the last quarter was great to see and puts the poor display at Blackburn firmly in the past. The Bielsa philosophy which was so evident in August and September was in full show as Leeds returned to the summit of the Championship. I firmly believe that when this Leeds side attacks with high energy and quick passing, there is no other side in the league that can stop them. Leeds are having an average of 65% possession in all games. The total control of territory added to the fast incisive attacking gives Leeds a platform to dominate all matches in this league. On Saturday night, I think its fair to predict that Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka will attempt to stifle the Leeds attack by sitting deep and using the pace of Lewis Grabban to stage counter-attacks. I think it’s imperative that Leeds start the Forest match with the high-intensity pressing and passing shown at the end of the Ipswich victory. I am incredibly confident that Leeds will win if they can keep Forest scoreless.