Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Leeds move giant step closer to safety as Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison secure win at Watford

Raphinha, Stuart Dallas Leeds celeb after goal v Watford at Vicarage Road

Leeds moved nine points clear of the relegation zone after a 3-0 win at Watford saw their improvement under Jesse Marsch continue.

The visitors made one change from their last match – a 1-1 draw with Southampton – with Robin Koch coming into the side for Adam Forshaw. Marsch perhaps raised some eyebrows with that selection with many expecting Kalvin Phillips to come back into the side. However, having taken seven points from the last nine available, the American went into the game looking to build on their fine recent form.

And it was Leeds, who made a bright start, making the early inroads towards the Watford goal.

Indeed, early headers from both Luke Ayling and Raphinha both presented Leeds with decent chances to open the scoring.

However, the first meaningful chance fell to Watford with Imran Louza curling a free-kick inches wide of the post with Illan Meslier beaten.

But it was Leeds United who broke the deadlock on 22 minutes through Raphinha. Picking up a pass from Dan James, the Brazilian drilled a quality finish past Ben Foster from the edge of the box which flew in off the post.

The match then descened into a bit of a scrap with neither side able to assert their quality.

The second period began in much the same fashion, though it Leeds who created the first meaningful moment. That came when James went down in the area under a challenge from Christian Kabasele. Their appeals though were waved away by referee Simon Hooper.

Leeds then brought on Phillips in the 59th minute to try and insert more control in the midfield.

However, it was Watford who spurned two chances to equalise. Firstly, it was Joao Pedro, whose rising shot cleared the bar from outside the area.

Watford miss big chance to punish Leeds

Moments later, Pedro played in Samir, but the Brazilian slashed wildly at the shot, dragging his shot wide with just Meslier to beat. With a bit of composure, surely it would have been 1-0.

Leeds had a chance through Phillips to double their lead, but Foster was on hand to parry his drive.

The visitors though did double their lead with Samir’s awful touch presenting Rodrigo with a chance. And the Spaniard showed composure to take the ball past Foster and apply the finish to double Leeds’ lead. It was his third goal in his last four games and his sixth of the season.

It was 3-0 after 84 minutes when Jack Harrison put behind him a poor afternoon with a third; the winger lashing a shot into the far corner for his third in as many games and his ninth of the season.

That goal was the cue for bedlam in the away end, with a plethora of Watford fans heading for the exit.

The win makes it 10 points from the last 12 available for Leeds; the best run of the season coming at the best possible time.