Stoke City 0
Leeds United 3 (Dallas 42,Alioski 50, Bamford 66)
I was nervous ahead of this game, our fluency had not been as great in the previous couple of games and I expected a real battling performance from a struggling Stoke. I needn't have worried; this was a massive statement by Leeds that all is very much in order at Elland Road and we look the best in class at the moment.
Having criticised the team for the performance at Wigan and then seen a slow first half against Brentford there was still some doubt in my mind as to whether we had the wherewithal to take this Championship by storm even though our results have been so good in this first month of the season.
Well, having witnessed a totally dominant display at Stoke this afternoon, I’m now in no doubt whatsoever!
You would have expected Stoke to come out all guns blazing today, on the back of a poor opening four results and being rock bottom of the table and with manager Nathan Jones’ future seemingly in the balance. Well, Jones dropped his England goalkeeper and made 5 other changes and gave the captain’s armband to 18 year-old defender Nathan Collins and I guess they gave it their best shot. It was nowhere near good enough to stop this Leeds United juggernaut though!
Leeds dominated throughout and it was only a matter of time before we took the lead and then ran away with the game. The first goal did take a while to arrive, the 42nd minute to be precise but it was well worth the wait: Adam Forshaw carried the ball in midfield before shifting it inside to Harrison, Harrison played it first time to Hernandez and Pablo, with his incredible vision, slid the ball first time between two Stoke defenders for Stuart Dallas to run onto. Dallas finished like an accomplished striker!
Pablo, who’d been quiet against Wigan and Brentford by his standards, was heavily involved again in the second goal, just five minutes into the 2nd half. Pablo stabbed the ball forward to Klich, got it straight back and then played it again first time into the feet of Patrick Bamford. The often gangling striker showed some tidy footwork to control the ball and work it past a defender before sliding it perfectly across the face of goal where Gjanni Alioski stole in at the back post to finish; the Stoke defence looked mesmerised!
Bamford himself grabbed the third on 66 minutes, but once again it came from the inspiration of Pablo Hernandez. This time he sized up a perfect through ball into the feet of Alioski who took one touch before lashing it towards goal on the angle from the left side of the box. Federici managed to block that one but it only rebounded out to Bamford who hammered it home with his favoured left foot.
It was a clinical display of attacking football and the three we did score hardly does justice to our supremacy in this game. Costa, Nketiah and young Shackleton all got minutes towards the end and with power like that on the bench these days there will be many a Championship manager worrying about playing us. No doubt we will get to see the likes of Costa, Nketiah, Shackleton, Jack Clarke and the rest on Tuesday as we face Stoke again in the Carabao Cup but the next game of real importance is the Swansea match next Saturday; come through that unbeaten as we go into the first international break and we will be looking very good indeed! Bring it on!
Stoke City Leeds Utd
Possession 35% 65%
Shots 7 21
On Target 2 10
Corners 4 4
Fouls Committed 9 11