Leeds United 5 (Klich 45 pen, Costa 47, Cooper 57, Hernandez 72, Bamford 90+3))
Stoke City 0
I mentioned luck as being important in my last piece after the Blackburn game and I’m going to mention it in passing again now. As early as the third minute Ben White was caught in possession just outside our own box and, in trying to retrieve the situation, gave away a free kick and got himself an early card. It was the sort of error in the sort of place where sometimes we’ll be punished with a goal from the free kick; today we weren’t . After that though, a couple of sitters missed apart, this was a sumptuous performance from Leeds that didn’t really need a helping hand from Lady Luck – maybe that Liam Cooper goal, but he deserved it!
Stoke were set up with five at the back to mimic the few sides to have been successful at Elland Road this season, it worked for the majority of the first half but Stoke are a poor side and, as Leeds grew in confidence that this game was there for the taking, so the chances started to come.
For Leeds to grab the iconic five goal nap hand to nil under Bielsa is a new thing! Our previous best under Bielsa was four - nil and we’ve achieved that a few times. We have scored five once before of course, in that nine goal thriller at St Andrews earlier this season. It is one of the conundrums of this season and last that we have failed so often to turn totally dominant possession into totally dominant score lines. Mostly it’s been that old failure in front of goal.
We had a couple of sitters go begging today – Bamford’s that found the bar from 6 yards and the one Matty Klich somehow screwed wide from three of four yards – but in general our finishing was top notch and 11 on target from 19 tells it’s own story.
The confidence we should have gained tonight could yet be invaluable as we head into the final four games. Swansea on Sunday will be tough as any visit to South Wales always is; but at our best we ought to be good enough to beat a side that has already lost seven on their own patch. Before that of course our three rivals for those two automatic promotion places will have played so we could have more pressure… or less as we kick off.
Leeds U Stoke City
Possession 72% 28%
Shots 19 5
On Target 11 0
Corners 7 3
Fouls Committed 8 8