Plenty of positives for Marcelo Bielsa as Leeds United 'dominate' against Leicester City
A point against one of the consistently top teams of recent years and a lively display in front of another packed Elland Road crowd showed that Leeds United are now getting their act together, but it should have been even better for the team according to Marcelo Bielsa.
The Whites head coach did his usual quick analysis of the match and on chances created, attacking threat and possession he felt United should have been walking away with all three points.
Raphinha put Leeds ahead with a clever free-kick in the first half only for Leicester to equalise straight from the restart with an even more impressive strike by Harvey Barnes.
Only a couple of fine saves from former Leeds keeper Kasper Schmeichel kept the visitors in the game at half-time and a string of missed chances after the break ensured Leicester would escape without the defeat they could have faced.
Yet City would have walked away with a win had it not been for VAR who ruled out Ademola Lookman's effort for a marginal offside decision.
Nevertheless Bielsa was happy with his team's efforts.
He said: “All the values in the game put us in front of Leicester.
“We created double the amount of danger they did, we dominated a large amount of the game, we defended well and attacked well, but even if we deserved to win, we didn’t manage to obtain it.
“We managed a good performance, given they are an important opponent.
“We took the ball off them a lot, had a good possession because it was dangerous and these are all aspects to value and apart from that, it was a very beautiful game to see."
A number of players impressed in possibly Leeds' best display of the season so far, but it was a particularly important day for midfielder Adam Forshaw who started his first league game for two years and earned praise from Bielsa.
He added: “It's a prize for his perseverance, he spent two years without playing and he never gave up.
“You also have to give value to people who collaborated in his recovery, it's very difficult to come back and play at this level after two years having not done so and more than any consideration, Forshaw got this by himself.
“It's a message for those who doubted and a message for those who can imitate a similar behaviour.
"If everyone knew the amount of situations he’s had to overcome throughout these years, they would understand that what I'm recognising is deserved.”
Forshaw and Kalvin Phillips helped Leeds to be a dominating presence in midfield as they swarmed all over Leiecster at times.
The visitors had their moments on the break, but the Whites quickly showed their attacking intentions with Rodrigo forcing the first save from Schmeichel in the second minute following a forceful run.
Harvey Barnes drew a comfortable save from Illan Meslier at the other end in a lively start to the game, but United were quickly back on top with Jack Harrison's deflected shot being superbly saved by Schmeichel who then followed up by denying Phillips from the resulting corner.
Dan James fired wide from just inside the box before the opening goal came as Raphinha's angled free-kick found its way into the far corner of the net after evading Rodrigo in the middle. It was definitely more of a shot than a cross, however, and was the Brazilian magician's fifth goal of the season.
The joy was not to last long with Leicester scoring 10 seconds after the kick-off, Boubakary Soumare flicking on a high ball to give Barnes some space on the left flank from where he cut in past Diego Llorente to curl in an exquisite shot into the far corner of the net.
More pressure almost resulted in a Leicester own goal when Ricardo Pereira sliced the ball towards his net in an attempted clearance, but Schmeichel was alert to keep the ball out.
The visitors did fashion a chance late in the half when Youri Tielemans finally got around Forshaw only to shoot over when in space in the area.
Tielemans went closer with a well struck shot in the opening minute of the second half after a needlessly given away corner had not been cleared.
But that was not the cue for City to take charge. Far from it. Egged on by a louder and louder crowd, United piled forward and for a spell their opponents could not get out of their own half.
The ball would not go in for Leeds, however, with the best of the chances coming when Phillips flicked on a Raphinha corner, but Harrison somehow managed to put the ball over from two yards out with the goal gaping.
James hit a snap shot over, Roidrigo's 20-yard shot was comfortably saved and James tried to repeat Barnes' effort from earlier, but sent his shot wide from almost the same spot.
The next big miss came in the 56th minute when Stuart Dallas' perfect cross found Rodrigo in space in the area, but the Spanish forward volleyed wide.
Leicester did manage to take the sting out of the game a little and thought they had scored when Vardy flicked on a corner and Lookman put the ball in the net at the far post. But their celebrations were cut short by the VAR decision.
Relieved United poured forward again, but James was unable to find the target with a couple of shots.
At the other end, Illan Meslier had to be alert to smother the ball at the feet of Tielemans following a mistake by Liam Cooper on the edge of his own box while Caglar Soyuncu sliced a shot wide when well placed in the area.
After the excitement of the earlier part of the game it faded somewhat in the last 10 minutes although at the start of added time Raphinha did blast a shot over.
Leicester City 1
Sunday, November 7, 2021
Leeds: Meslier; Dallas, Llorente, Cooper, Struijk; Phillips; Raphinha, Forshaw (Cresswell 90), Rodrigo, Harrison (Roberts 83); James.
Leicester: Schmeichel; Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Castagne; Ndidi, Tielemans (Dewsbury-Hall 77); Lookman (Maddison 80), Soumare, Barnes (Amartey 70); Vardy.
Referee: Darren England