The Athletic’s Leeds United reporter Phil Hay has said that the club’s ability to score the first goal in games over recent weeks has been key to reigniting their Championship promotion push.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have enjoyed five straight wins in their last five games to lift themselves to the top of the Championship table, seven points clear of the play-off places.
In all of those games, Leeds have gone on to keep a clean sheet after taking the lead, with their opening goal in three of those five wins coming within the first 20 minutes of games.
Those early goals are something that Hay clearly believes have been crucial to Leeds over the past few weeks, as he told The Athletic’s Phil Hay Show Podcast: “The early goals are making a difference, but also getting back to scoring first is making a difference.
Discussing the different complexion that those early goals have given to Leeds’ during those games, Hay continued: “You’re not chasing the game or you’re not hanging in those fixtures where it’s 0-0 and you’re wondering who in the opposition is going to sneak something in from a corner of Hernandez’s shoulder or something like that.”
I can certainly understand what Hay is saying here.
Those early goals are undoubtedly important for Leeds this season, given the advantage it gives them in terms of taking control in those matches.
The fact that they have been able to then go on to keep clean sheets in those games also bodes well for the club, since it highlights the resilience they have in defence when holding on to those leads, something which is particularly important when you consider that three of those wins came by a 1-0 scoreline.
As a result, it seems there is plenty for Leeds to be encouraged about at both ends of the pitch as they look to seal their place in the Premier League for next season, whenever that may be.