Leeds United 2 (Roofe 22, Cooper 66)
Ipswich Town 0
I think it is beyond any reasonable doubt now that the key to the ignition for the Leeds United bulldozer that swept away the likes of Stoke, Derby and Norwich is actually Pablo Hernandez. Starting last night for the first time since that Norwich game at the end of August, Pablo was the inspiration behind everything good that Leeds did against a struggling though resolute Ipswich Town. Like his namesake and fellow countryman Picasso, our Pablo was the artist who managed to bring together all the component parts of our game to ensure the final collage was a thing of footballing beauty. He was involved in everything including assists for both goals and one shot of his own that brought a fine save from Ipswich keeper Bialkowski. I know lots of folk are raving this morning about the faultless performance of Kalvin Phillips – our new Paolo Maldini at the back – but my man of the match was still the influential conductor, Pablo.
It was a game that suited Leeds as Ipswich, try as they might, couldn’t close the quality gap between themselves and Leeds which meant that Pablo, Phillips in a sort of ‘libero’ position cleaning up any lose ball at the back, and Mateusz Klich were able to link together almost unhindered throughout. For some reason Samu Saiz didn’t feature as much as you’d have wanted or expected and I do wonder if his yellow card situation is on his mind; he still has to get to November 30th without another yellow card if he is to avoid a one game ban and no one wants to spend time out of this Leeds side for fear they won’t automatically get back in!
Was there anything wrong with this performance? Well yes, a few things. We still need to find more efficiency in front of goal – we hit the target 5 times from our 18 efforts but too many shots still hit heads in the Kop and not the back of the net. There is this current quiet period that Samu Saiz is suffering from and Jack Harrison was even more anonymous than Samu. We looked even more dominant after the late substitutions that saw Forshaw replace Saiz and young Tom Pearce replace Harrison allowing Alioski to revert to a spot on the wing, albeit the left wing for a change. I wonder again if Bielsa is on the point of resisting the urge to keep trying Harrison and maybe give Pearce an extended run albeit I’m aware that Forest on Saturday will likely pose more threats to our defence than Ipswich did with their meagre three attempts at our goal.
In summary, after several questions were asked after the Blackburn debacle, normal service was resumed again and the ‘must win game’ was won without too much trouble. If Alioski's late shot had found net and not post as it deserved to do and if Bialkowski had not pulled off some fine saves it could have been 4 or 5 nil. There are those selection questions though and we need to start quickly on Saturday against a currently confident Forest side that could interrupt our progress if we are not fully on it. Oh, and we need to find a padded box to keep Pablo in between games!
Leeds Utd Ipswich T
Possession 65% 35%
Shots 18 3
On Target 5 2
Corners 15 0
Fouls 10 12