Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Player Ratings: Raphinha shows mettle as Leeds snatch late Palace win, though problem position emerges

Crystal Palace full-back Tyrick Mitchell battling Leeds United winger Raphinha 2021

Raphinha earned Leeds United a critical three points when keeping his cool from the spot in injury time, though a problem position emerged on a high intensity night at Elland Road.

Neither side lacked for effort in front of a boisterous Elland Road crowd. Unfortunately, quality was notably absent with neither side registering a shot on target in the first half.

Marcelo Bielsa rang the changes at the break, and the home side took the ascendancy, with Raphinha and Daniel James in particular looking lively.

But the greatest chance fell to substitute Christian Benteke, though in keeping with the theme of the night, a lack of quality in the final third ensured the net did not bulge.

The game appeared destined to remain 0-0 until Marc Guehi conceded an injury time penalty when handling the ball inside the area. Raphinha stepped up and kept his composure to hand Leeds United a crucial three points.

Leeds United

Illan Meslier: Didn’t have a save to make in the first half. Superb reflexes to adjust his feet quickly and gather a slow rolling Benteke effort off the line in the second half. 6/10

Stuart Dallas: Typically vibrant display and sought to make an impact at both ends of the pitch. Maximum effort was typified when attempting to clear a ball on ground-level but only found Zaha’s boot for his troubles. Booked when Zaha’s trickery proved too hot to handle with 20m remaining. 7

Diego Llorente: Radar went haywire when tasked with distributing the ball forward from the back. Stronger and classier than Cooper in the defensive stakes. 7

Liam Cooper: Struggled when dragged out to the left to cover Struijk. At ease under the high ball but continues to look a step too slow when targeted by forwards with pace. 5

Pascal Struijk: Looked uncomfortable against the pace of Ayew and saw yellow when fouling the forward became the only way to halt him. Lucky to escape the concession of a penalty when caught pushing Ayew in the back inside the area. Hooked at half-time, though a late first-half injury niggle may have factored in to the decision. 4

Kalvin Phillips: Typically combative in the engine room and helped ensure Palace struggled to pass through the lines in the centre. 7

Adam Forshaw: Worked well in tandem with Phillips and already looks an undroppable part of Bielsa’s side after overcoming his injury hell. 7

Raphinha: A class apart from most on the pitch. Neat one-two with Dallas teed up a fantastic cross from which Roberts narrowly failed to make contact. Kept his composure from the spot in injury time to give his side a much-needed victory with some difficult fixtures coming up after Brentford. 8 (Man of the match)

Raphinha could be staying put at Leeds

Raphinha's comments could hint at him staying at Leeds.

Mateusz Klich: Did little of note and replaced at the break by Rodrigo as Bielsa went in search of greater guile and invention. 6

Daniel James: Lively start out on the left and always looked to test Ward’s legs. Would’ve bagged an assist if Rodrigo’s touch hadn’t evaded him at the vital moment soon after the break. 7

Tyler Roberts: Came within a whisker of putting Leeds in front when narrowly missing Dallas’ fizzing cross. Finds himself in good positions at times but rarely provides the finishing touch. Bamford’s belated return will be welcomed by all. 5

Substitutes: 

Junior Firpo (On for Struijk, 46m): Picked up where Struijk left off when immediately booked for a foul on Ayew. Did provide a greater attacking threat and the further they kept him away from their own half the better. Neither he nor Struijk will have filled Bielsa with hope in what is quickly becoming a problem position for the Argentine. Perhaps Ayling’s return allowing Dallas to shift over to left-back will remedy their woes. 4

Rodrigo (On for Klich, 46m): Heavy touch blew a glorious chance when he appeared to try take the ball around Guaita instead of shooting first-time. 5

Charlie Cresswell (On for Roberts, 90m): N/A


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Crystal Palace

Vicente Guaita: Not called into action once in the first half. His night remained without incident for much of the second half and gambled wrong on a central strike by Raphinha from the spot. 6/10

Joel Ward: On hand to scoop Dallas’ threatening cross to safety when he could’ve so easily bundled the ball into his own net. Struggled with James’ pace and saw yellow when hauling the Welshman to the ground after 30m. 6

Joel Tomkins: Kept it simple in possession and stood in well for the injured Andersen. 6

Marc Guehi: Generally calm and composed on the ball in the face of Leeds’ high press, though their renewed efforts around the hour mark tested his temperament. Conceded a late penalty when strangely leading with his arm from a corner that proved the decisive moment of the match. 5

Tyrick Mitchell: Stuck to his difficult task of containing Raphinha well after the Brazilian looked on a mission early on. 6

Conor Gallagher: Dropped deeper than usual early on as Palace tried to weather the storm and silence the vociferous Elland Road crowd. Grew into the game as the first half wore on and never shied away from receiving the ball in tight areas. Booked for a wayward lunge on Raphinha as the first half drew to a close. 7

Cheikhou Kouyate: Helped limit Leeds’ threat to spurts of individual brilliance out wide from James and Raphinha in the first half hour. Used his defensive nous to partially block a Forshaw strike that looked on course to trouble Guaita. 6

Jeffrey Schlupp: Looked most threatening when cutting in from the right onto his left foot. Flashed a strike narrowly wide when allowed to amble in-field unchecked by Leeds markers. 6

Jordan Ayew: Spurned an early chance to silence the crowd when passing up a shooting opportunity when well placed. Gave Struijk plenty to think about down the right and saw a contentious call for a penalty waved away after a push in the back went unpunished. 7

Odsonne Edouard: Quietest of Palace’s front three in the first half with the bulk of their threat coming from wide areas. Strong hold-up play to bring Zaha and Ayew into play, though those occasions were few and far between. Fared little better in the second half and replaced by Benteke with 25m to go. 5

Wilfried Zaha: Didn’t have his customary impact in the first half. Tried to make up for his lack of action by riling up the Leeds players and inadvertently stood on Raphinha’s shin after the break. Found more joy against Dallas in the closing stages with his dazzling footwork causing the Northern Irishman problems. 6

Substitutes: 

Christian Benteke (On for Edouard, 67m): Missed a sitter when nodding a header inexplicably wide when unmarked and barely six yards out. 4

Will Hughes (On for Schlupp, 80m): N/A

Michael Olise (On for Ayew, 90m): N/A

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