It’s been a good week for Leeds United following more wins for Marcelo Bielsa’s men which saw them take advantage of West Brom’s slip up on Saturday.
Wins against Middlesbrough and Hull City have seen them forge a gap between themselves and third placed Fulham, enhancing their promotion prospects this week.
The 4-0 demolition of Hull City came in perfect tandem with West Brom’s failure to beat relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.
And, Mateusz Klich’s low driven shot into the corner of the net after exchanging passes with Pablo Hernandez was enough for Bielsa’s side to walk away from Teesside with a much-needed three points the Wednesday prior.
Leeds followed that up with an emphatic 4-0 demolition of Yorkshire rivals Hull City at the KCOM on Saturday afternoon; Luke Ayling got the ball rolling with his deflected effort curling just inside the post, the lead was doubled through Hernandez, who slotted home to send the away end into raptures, before substitute Tyler Roberts produced the exact impact that Bielsa would’ve wanted as his quick-fire double put Leeds well and truly out of sight.
Here we look at TWO hot and TWO not from Leeds United’s busy winning week…
Hot: Tyler Roberts
Where else could you start? Roberts started as just a substitute at the KCOM on Saturday lunchtime but would go on to have the biggest impact on proceedings. Two goals in the space of three minutes has got his name on the lips of all Leeds United fans this weekend. The Welshman’s first tested his ability to smash home a delicate lay-off from Klich; his powerful drive past George Long topped off an incredible passing move that started on the edge of the United box.
His second was so very different to his first, but Klich was at it again. He received the ball 30 yards from goal and clipped a ball into the penalty area that was met with a thumping diving header from Roberts. Long watched in awe as his header flew into the top corner.
But does this give Roberts enough leverage to cement a place in the starting 11 for Leeds’ West Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town next week?
Despite the quality of the players that were chosen ahead of him on Saturday, his form suggests that he might be one to look out for as they entertain the Terriers. With Huddersfield aiming to become more disciplined at the back, the gaps in which Roberts likes to work in may appear later on in a cagey affair.
Hot: Defensive solidity has returned
Mateusz Klich can consider himself rather unlucky to not appear in this list, but Leeds have looked so assured at the back this week. Bielsa appears to have drilled it into these players exactly where he wants them positioned and how to move out from the back under any circumstance imagined. Despite Kiko Casilla missing the game against Hull with Illan Meslier stepping in, Leeds did not look like conceding.
The two clean sheets against Middlesbrough and Hull have given Leeds four consecutive clean sheets, which implies that they are making huge strides at the back. Leeds give themselves such a good platform to go on and win games with the confidence of feeling invincible when running towards their own goal.
Despite the loss of Pontus Jansson to Brentford at the start of the season, it can be argued that Leeds have been better off for it, with all of Bielsa’s defenders appearing very capable whenever they are called upon.
Not: Kiko Casilla
Kiko Casilla has had a tough week this week. From the highs of a clean sheet away at the Riverside through to receiving an eight-match ban on Friday after being found guilty of racially abusing Charlton’s Jonathan Leko. The goalkeeper was also fined £60,000 and has been ordered to attend an education course.
The incident took place back in September during Charlton’s win over Leeds United and has thrown serious question marks over his head. The Spaniard came to Leeds with a wealth of experience at the top level having been on the books of Real Madrid and has pulled off many top saves for Leeds this season. This incident will surely put a grey cloud over his legacy at Leeds United for years to come.
Not: Fulham’s form
So it hasn’t been that bad a week for Leeds United. However, with Fulham picking up seven points from the last nine available, it suggests that the Londoners have found themselves a bit of form. Since their defeat to Barnsley last month, the Cottagers have been impressive with both play-off hopefuls Swansea City and Preston North End beaten at Craven Cottage in recent weeks.
This will no doubt keep the pressure on Leeds for the remainder of the season. Despite the gap between the two sides currently being five points, the management team, playing squad and the supporters of Leeds United know that gap can quickly evaporate from before their eyes.
David Nugent put through his own net to give Fulham the lead, but despite Preston pressing for an equaliser in the final stages, the counter attack was sprung and was eventually finished by Aboubakar Kamara.
Despite this, Fulham have a tricky run-in with them still to visit both West Brom and Leeds in the coming weeks.
Surely it will be these results that decide the fate of Fulham’s season.