Leeds United 2 (Ayling 49, Roofe 71)
Rotherham Utd 0
The feeling I have after this result against Rotherham is every bit as satisfying as those I experienced after the Stoke and Derby games. We were never expected to win either of those games and so the feelings afterwards were tinged with surprise, almost disbelief really as well as pleasure. But having won those games, dominated those teams, the expectation levels had shifted markedly such that the visit of Rotherham was seen as one of those regular banana skins we have often stumbled upon in recent seasons. We have recalibrated our expectations for the season on the back of those early successes and in the belief that Marcelo Bielsa has something of a Midas touch about his football management. If we really were as good as we appeared to be and that we hoped we were then we ought to be despatching the likes of Rotherham comfortably, or so the script read. Everyone expects Rotherham to struggle this season and so to slip up against them would be a very bitter pill to swallow, albeit one we’ve tasted many times during our long spell in the Championship.
And, by half time there was just a touch of nervousness amongst the Elland Road faithful; Rotherham had seen very little of the football in that first half and yet they probably had the better of the chances as one shot rattled the post and spun across the face of goal, while Bailey Peacock-Farrell deserves huge praise for his quick thinking in averting disaster when Captain Coops inexplicably passed the ball along the six yard line with a Rotherham player steaming in towards goal. Leeds had chances themselves but nothing to compare with those.
But the other factor in Leeds early season success has clearly been the level of our fitness compared to that of all of our rivals thus far and as this game went on and Leeds continued to dominate the possession, Rotherham clearly began to tire of chasing the shadows of the Leeds players around Elland Road. Leeds ended the game with 74% of the possession and 17 goal attempts to 9 for the visitors and 7 corners to just 1 for them. That’s pretty dominant stuff.
Still, we had to convert that into goals and with Luke Ayling following up a Cooper header that was saved and then clipped across goal by Roofe for Ayling to dive full length to head home, so early in the new half, you could visibly see Rotherham wilt; the Millers had themselves been ground to dust.
The game was settled with another clinical finish from Kemar Roofe, latching onto a long ball over the top from Kalvin Phillips, running around the outside of the defender and then firing the ball across the face of goal to neatly cannon in off the far post. It was a move we have seen Roofe pull off before and it was devastating in its simplicity.
So, four games into Bielsa’s reign and we have four wins on the board, no other manager in the history of the club has achieved that believe it or not! We are the only side in the Football League still with a 100% record in all competitions. It almost feels like we need to get Chris Moyles out, dust him down and do a new version of his Ken-rique E-Bates-ias - Zero points song, you know the one…
…”They’ve done it! 5 on the spin, 3 points, 2 fingers to the Football League, Point zero, point perfect”.
Are you watching Chris?
Leeds Utd Rotherham
Possession 74% 26%
Shots 17 9
On Target 7 4
Corners 7 1
Fouls 10 8