Leeds United’s recent run of form continued on Saturday at Elland Road, where a dominant effort was rewarded with three second-half goals to defeat Valerien Ismael’s Watford side.
Many outsiders predicted that when Daniel Farke’s side ‘clicked’ after a rocky start to the season on and off the field, they would become one of the strongest forces in the Championship, and this appears to be the case as Leeds extended their unbeaten run to six league games with a 3-0 victory.
From the perspective of the Whites, here are the three important lessons from the emphatic triumph.
Unyielding in attack
Farke’s men have taken 77 overall attempts at goal since their first victory of the season at fellow high-flyers Ipswich, but haven’t always gotten their just rewards for asserting their dominance, particularly against Hull and Sheffield Wednesday, and Saturday’s game looked like it could have followed suit.
However, a quickfire double from Joel Piroe, who has already become a fan favorite since joining from Swansea, and an unexpected source in the form of Sam Byram midway through the second half ended any chance of another frustrating stalemate before Jaidon Anthony sealed the deal a minute from time.
Farke’s side have also begun to share the goals around, which is a requirement for any successful second tier outfit.
“Second half we were able to convert our dominance into great goals, we could have scored perhaps a few more.
“But we then also showed the discipline to stay concentrated and focused. Although we would have won the game anyway, we had the greediness, when it was 2-0, to bring it over the line.” Farke told the BBC post-match.
A result like this shouldn’t perhaps come as much of a surprise, as Leeds have the fourth-most affective attack in the division so far, with a rating of 6.82 as per WhoScored – averaging 15.6 shots per game with 5 of those on target, as well as 11.1 successful dribbles per 90, such is the quality Farke has in forward areas with Crysencio Summerville really showing his worth in the last two games, despite not registering a goal or assist.
Solid defensive foundations
After leaking the second-worst amount of goals (73) in last season’s Premier League, it was imperative that Leeds eventually began to put foundations in place at the back, and this has definitely been the case with four clean sheets in a row, with Watford only registering one meaningful attempt at Elland Road which came in the 95th minute.
At Elland Road, Leeds have only conceded an average of 6.5 shots per 90 in their four home outings so far, a league high, and this aspect of their performance was what pleased Daniel Farke the most on Saturday afternoon.
“That we returned to the dressing room with a clean sheet is for me the most pleasing topic today.
Illan [Meslier] was not much involved today but in the 95th minute he had to be there with a save to stay that concentrated and focused.”
Confidence building ahead of facing struggling Southampton
Having already touched on the Whites’ recent abundance of chances created, Farke’s side will perhaps be pleased they travel to St Mary’s next to face a Southampton side in disarray, and with the manner of goals Russell Martin’s side have gifted the likes of Sunderland, Leicester, Ipswich and most recently Middlesbrough, it’s hard to not see a way in which the likes of Summerville, Piroe and Rutter will get so much joy in attacking areas.
The Saints have conceded an average of 13 shots and 11 interceptions per 90 at St Mary’s, with Martin’s possession-heavy style failing to cope with such a high press, something which this Leeds team is beginning to become synonymous with.
Having displayed a ruthless side to their game at Millwall, scoring with their only three shots on target, it feels that perhaps next Saturday’s lunchtime kick off on the South Coast could follow similar proceedings.