Leeds United 1 (Raphinha 48)
Everton 2 (Sigurdsson 9, Calvert-Lewin 41)
Well, Leeds’ unpredictability is fast becoming almost predictable! I’d guess that, whereas most Leeds fans thought we’d get beat at Leicester, the same ones would have been buoyed by that performance and would have assumed we’d thus beat Everton! There had been all those whispers before the game about how another win in this one would make a challenge for a European place, if not likely, then certainly not out of the question.
Leeds bossed the first half too, in the same way we boss most halves we play, but, we know only too well that if we can’t put the ball in the net during such spells then, sure as eggs is eggs, the opposition will break away and score or win a corner kick and score from that, or, as in this case… both!
Going two-nil down by half-time in the Premier League is not really a sure fire way of winning a game and it was thus here. Leeds played well enough second half and got the boost of an early goal to make the challenge more achievable but, as we all know, that little bit of quality to open up a decent Premier League defence just wasn’t available to us today. Seeing a midfield pairing of Stuart Dallas and Tyler Roberts for much of the second half doesn’t inspire confidence and, by the time Pablo Hernandez was called on, the game was too close to its conclusion and everything we did was too hurried and Everton stuck to their defensive discipline almost perfectly to restrict Leeds to a few half chances and nothing more. The pitch, brand new, looked smooth enough but it looked as though the players were having trouble getting any traction on it with the Leeds players, strangely, slipping about on it more than the visitors; some new footwear will no doubt already be on order. We should also remember that the other best chance of the second half fell to Calvert-Lewin who was foiled by Meslier so it was probably nearer to 1 – 3 than 2 – 2.
So, in summary, this was a result that any thinking Leeds United fan could probably have predicted given a few minutes in a darkened room with some recent match videos. And yet it was our own defensive shortcomings that really did for us. An 8th goal this season conceded to a corner and we never seem to get any better at it do we? We’ve not really had chance to see how Koch and Llorente might solve this problem so, for now, we just have to accept that there will be more in the coming games. It’s not even as if we gave Everton much practise at them; they only had one! Only needed one! The breakaway goal is really just something that we have to expect because of the way we attack in numbers and a good team will often exploit the space we leave at the back unless we can get our noses in front during the game.
Nothing to worry about tonight though; we are what we are at the moment , especially while we are missing the likes of Rodrigo, Koch and Llorente. We are, and will probably have to be for the foreseeable future, a top quality Championship side toiling away in the Premier League. We will win a few and, mainly to the top sides - those with the billion pound squads - we’ll lose a few. Looking at the table though we should at least be able to play without fear as, at the moment we remain 15 points ahead of that all-important bottom three. Those bottom three would have to find table topping form to make inroads on us and we’d have to fail to win most of our remaining games for that fear to come back.
It’s now a matter of cruising to the end of the season, working with what we have and ensuring we do pick up points against the struggling sides. Then, bring on that summer transfer window and let’s slot some more quality into the ranks and, preferably in players who don’t get injured every five minutes!
Leeds Utd Everton
Possession 63% 37%
Shots 16 10
On Target 7 6
Corners 7 1
Fouls Committed 12 12