Leicester City 1 (Barnes 13)
Leeds United 3 (Dallas 15,Bamford 70,Harrison 84)
Who on earth still bothers to bet on Leeds? Most Leeds fans thought Leicester City would have just that little bit of extra quality that would see them cruise to a win in this one. The Foxes were on a great run, had second spot in the table in their sights and Leeds had only manged two wins against sides in the top half so far, never mind a top three side!
When Leicester took the lead having cut through us like a knife through butter in the 13th minute, Harvey Barnes latching onto a loose pass from Liam Cooper and then just running straight through us, it looked like being another long afternoon. But the key for Leeds was that we got back on terms very quickly. Our response, within a couple of minutes, was probably just what was needed to sow the seeds of doubt in their minds and the nature of the goal sort of said, “Whatever you can do we can do better!” Luke Ayling, revelling in being in his strongest position marauding down that right wing, played a pass to Bamford and his lovely ball stroked into the path of Stuart Dallas drew a clinical finish from the Irish Rover. It might well have been a reminder to the Leeds players of what they are capable of too.
For the rest of the first half Leicester continued to look dangerous on the break and yet it was Leeds who managed to create the better chances and, but for a couple of world class saves from Kasper Schmeichel, Leeds could easily have led 3 – 1 at the break.
Leicester did a bit of a reshuffle at half time and, for a while it seemed to have turned the tide but still Leeds looked to counter and it was a quick break that ultimately did turn this game in our favour. Pascal Struijk was quick to intercept a pass in midfield, he pushed the ball to Raphinha and the Brazilian, razor sharp, played a first time ball into the path of Patrick Bamford. Paddy 'Hot Shot' Bamford did the rest with a sumptuous left foot shot from the corner of the box into the far top bin giving Schmeichel absolutely no chance. Some of the finishes that Paddy has come up with this season suggest he’s spent many hours on his shooting practice since those Championship days of regular missed opportunities.
Leeds out-leicestered Leicester with the third that came ironically from a Leicester free kick in a dangerous position outside our own box. That was headed clear by Pascal Struijk and picked up by Dallas on the left flank. He knocked it forward to Klich and Klich poked it first time into the Leicester half. Patrick Bamford was onto it, crossing the half way line with Leicester committed at the other end and he raced away with Jack Harrison pumping his little legs to his right. Bamford saw the run and as Schmeichel closed on him he pushed the ball across for Harrison to stab into the open net!
We rode our luck once or twice – notably when VAR decided that Liam Cooper’s rugby tackle on Fofana early in the second half was not deserving of a penalty and when our regular frailties were shown at another corner that Soyuncu won in the air and somehow the ball evaded two Leicester men at the back post – but this was a stirring performance from Leeds and showed that above all else, what you have to be in the Premier League is clinical in front of goal. Leeds hit the target with seven of our eight attempts at goal while Leicester achieved 8 from their 18. Leicester are also the first side this season to achieve a greater share of the possession than Leeds. If we can maintain the defensive resolve we showed today and continue to put chances away we’ll coast to the end of the season.
Now, the next challenge is to repeat the dose against Everton on Wednesday; do that and we can almost start planning for some cracking Premier League trips next season!
Leicester City Leeds Utd
Possession 51% 49%
Shots 18 8
On Target 8 7
Corners 6 4
Fouls Committed 17 16