Derby County 1 (Lawrence 12)
Leeds United 4 (Klich 5, Roofe 21, 60, Alioski 64))
Wow, wow, wow! How many of these imperious Leeds performances am I going to have to see before I’m convinced we are the real deal? Once again I felt we were coming up against one of the promotion likely lads today and I thought that to come away with a draw would have been a fine result. But I’ve come away from Pride Park thinking that Derby are maybe not the side I thought they were. Whether that is more to do with us than them I’m still unsure! Remember, they had the advantage over Stoke in having seen the Potters fail to get to grips with us last week so that, you’d have thought, would help them come up with a cunning plan. But if anything, Derby were even less able to cope with us today than Stoke were!
Fitness is clearly a major advantage we have; once again in the latter stages today when Derby were trying to get back on terms, they just didn’t have the legs for it, while we looked as fresh as when we started! That’s a bit easier of course when you have a three goal lead, but even so it was crystal clear we had the advantage in that area.
But throughout the game Leeds looked sharper than the home side, our passing was neat and tidy, we retained the ball well, and when we lost it we were like terriers in getting it back. Add to that some well taken goals and this, in my view, was even more the complete performance than last Sunday! I’ve never been a great believer that a coach can make much difference but I have to admit that Bielsa has got this group so well organised and so well drilled in their roles that it is helping them all look much better players than we saw last season except in flashes now and again.
Once again today every player did their bit and I’m looking forward to seeing the player ratings on the usual websites. Mateusz Klich had another fine game as did Samu Saiz who really looks to be enjoying his football at the moment. Pablo was as masterful as ever and Kemar Roofe once again ran his socks off and scored two good striker’s goals. It’s difficult to rave too much about the defence as Derby can hardly be said to have tested it that much but what we needed to do we did efficiently enough. I’m probably not the only Leeds fan still worried that a central pairing of Coops and Berra isn’t going to be a match for the best attacks we’ll come up against. There was another little question mark over Bailey Peacock-Farrell today too, the Tom Lawrence equaliser looked a fine free-kick but seeing it live I thought Bailey was placed well enough to get something on it which he didn’t. No doubt we’ll have a look at Jamal Blackman against Bolton in the week and maybe he’ll stake a claim sooner than we think.
Presumably we will now see the second XI come out to play against Bolton in the cup and then it will be interesting to see if Bielsa still sticks with his 1st XI next weekend against Rotherham. If we really are Championship favourites, as some Bookies have made us tonight, then we have to be despatching so-called lesser sides like Rotherham – although even they managed a win today against Ipswich. Surely they are not of the calibre of Stoke and Derby though are they? It’s the sort of game that has brought us down to earth in previous campaigns so it’s another test of the Bielsa Boys’ real quality. Bring it on!
Derby C Leeds Utd
Possession 46% 54%
Shots 12 17
On Target 4 7
Corners 3 5
Fouls 10 19