My 3 Thoughts on Brighton-Leeds United
Leeds suffers its first loss of the season in a 1-0 defeat on the south coast
Leeds United fell back to earth in the Premier League after last week’s 3-0 win over Chelsea with a 1-0 defeat at Brighton on Saturday. Pascal Gross scored the game’s only goal in the 66th minute. Here are my three thoughts on the game:
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• Leeds wasn’t sharp enough in this one. I’m still not sure how second-half sub Luis Sinisterra failed to finish a sitter in the 61st minute that would have given Leeds a 1-0 lead at a time when it was playing better after a one-sided but scoreless first half in Brighton’s favor. (Gross scored five minutes later for Brighton.) Leeds wasn’t as clean on set-pieces as it had been in previous games, both on deliveries and shot attempts, and Rodrigo was noticeably off after scoring a league-leading four goals in the opening three league matches. Expected goals isn’t always a great measure for individual games, and this was one of those cases: Brighton had only a slight advantage in xG (1.94 to 1.81), but on the eye test it certainly seemed like Brighton had a bigger advantage in chance creation over the 90 minutes. The bummer for Leeds and Jesse Marsch was that they gave up the game’s only goal during a second half when Leeds actually performed better on the field than it had in the first half. The injured Patrick Bamford was missed today, and you could see why Leeds has been interested in adding a forward and left back in the transfer market. It seemed like that interest had died down in recent days, but will it spark again after this game?
• Brighton is good. Graham Potter’s side is now on 10 points after four league games even after the big-money departures of Marc Cucurella and Yves Bissouma, which shows how good the club’s recruitment has been and how promising Potter is as a coach. Leandro Trossard was threatening again in this game, Ecuadorians Moisés Caicedo and Pervis Estupiñán had their moments, Danny Welbeck played a role in the goal sequence, and the back line of Joel Veltman, Adam Webster and Lewis Dunk did well to help Brighton keep a clean sheet. Also, it’s a game of inches: I think the early incarnation of VAR in England might have chalked off the goal for a hairline offside, but the incarnation we have today did not, and I’m actually OK with that. Brighton’s next four league games are home to Leicester and Crystal Palace and away at Fulham and Bournemouth, so look for them to stay near the top of the league standings for a bit here.
• The Leeds Americans were OK. Tyler Adams went the full 90, covered a lot of ground and continued to do what he does well. (He even found himself higher on the field at times than in previous games, though that’s not his forte.) Brenden Aaronson was probably the best Leeds attacker on the day, though that was relative since Rodrigo was off his game and there wasn’t nearly as much danger created by Leeds (or Aaronson) compared to last week against Chelsea. I was a little surprised that Marsch chose to bring Aaronson off in the 82nd minute for Joe Gelhardt, but Marsch probably wanted to give Gelhardt some minutes. If anything, I thought Marsch was a little too early with some of his subs (not just Aaronson, but also taking off Marc Roca in the 59th minute for Mateusz Klich), which is interesting after Marsch was too late with his subs in the 2-2 tie at Southampton two weeks ago. Is it a bummer if you’re a Leeds fan to lose your first game of the season? Of course. But the team is still in better-than-expected shape after four league games, and there’s a golden chance to get three points at home against Everton in a quick-turn-around game this Tuesday.
What are your thoughts on the game? You can join the discussion in the comments below.
Interesting on the subs…agree that the first batch might have been a bit early though Gelhardt seemed late. He does make a difference. Siniestra was very good too. Lineup should be interesting for a mid-week game as changes have to happen, right?
Leeds are a promising very young team full of speed and creativity. Marsch is the king bee the personality but will be out if they struggle. His demands are high and that’s good but will they have strength for a long tough PL season. Enjoy them whilst you can.