Bristol City 1 (Weimann 79)
Leeds United 3 (Hernandez 26, Bamford 57, Harrison 72)
We all wondered how the first game would go, there were so many things swirling about in our minds. Bielsa told us this team couldn’t reach the levels they achieved last year… and yet here we were with virtually the same team with only Ben White and Helder Costa to boost our ranks and having lost one of the stalwarts in Pontus brick-heading Jansson. We all expected a really tough game from a Bristol outfit that was also largely unchanged and which had a fine end to last season. Well, this was a bit like turning the clock back to that first game last season when we also came up against what we all thought would be a top side – Stoke were just down from the Premier League then – and once again we've dealt with them pretty comprehensively!
Leeds dominated the possession as we always did last season; no change there then and for 75 minutes we outplayed Lee Johnson’s lads much as we dealt with the Potters. By the end even the score was the same; a comfortable 3 – 1 victory for the Mighty Whites… or Mighty Grey and Pinks as we were today.
Bielsa surprised many, me included, by leaving Helder Costa on the bench and hence Ben White was the only new face in amongst last season’s crew; he may not yet be as big or as strong as Pontus but he gave a different sort of a display that was every bit as important for us. As for the rest, they were all at least as good if not better than they managed last year. In particular, Pablo Hernandez maintained his fine form that he’s shown throughout pre-season and he deservedly won the man of the match award from Sky and scored with one of his now trade mark curling shots that was unstoppable . The award was handed over by Patrick Bamford who had perhaps one of his best outings in a Leeds shirt as he grew into this game. OK he should maybe have hit the target in the first half but in the second he got stronger and stronger and not only finished another piece of Pablo magic to grab the second goal but also put himself about all over the pitch in a display many Leeds fans have been wanting to see for months. I’ve been his biggest critic but fair play Patrick, that was far more like it today.
Something changed in the final 15 minutes and we saw the hesitant nervy Leeds that often came to the fore in the second half of last season. We’d kept Bristol out of the game until then but then we gave them a sniff of redemption and somehow lost our way. It was too little too late from the home side though despite giving them a soft goal to give their fans something to cheer. It will be something Bielsa noted and something he’ll want to eradicate. We won’t always be three goals to the good as we enter the last 15 minutes so we need to keep our focus throughout.
We also have no idea how good or bad the home side is and how they will perform this season but most pundits expect them to be there or thereabouts. For Leeds it was the perfect start and if we can now follow this up against Forest next week then who knows, with Costa still to add into the mix properly once he’s Bielsa’d maybe we are better placed than many thought. There are still four days left in this transfer window too so it may be a matter of “don’t go to bed yet!”
Bristol City Leeds United
Possession 41% 59%
Shots 13 18
On Target 3 4
Corners 4 6
Fouls Committed 8 12