Match Report: Leeds United 5-0 Burton Albion - Lethal Lasogga leads the way for wondrous Whites
Saturday, 9th Sep 2017 22:17 by @LucasMonk_
In their first outing since the conclusion of the recent international break, Leeds United extended their undefeated sequence of results under the tutelage of Thomas Christiansen with a thoroughly merited - and wholly comprehensive - defeat of Burton Albion at Elland Road this afternoon.
On what could have been most aptly described as an afternoon of mutable weather at Elland Road, Leeds United secured a first home league victory of the season - and with it, a fifth successive clean sheet in league competition - in a consummate manner by inflicting upon Burton Albion an injurious 5-0 defeat - on what was a malignant day for Nigel Clough and his players.
United entered this match possessed of a collective aspiration of securing a third consecutive victory in all competitions - following their resounding victory against Newport County in the Carabao Cup (5-1) and the euphoria of the Nottingham Forest fillip (2-0) - and the gargantuan margin of their subsequent victory this afternoon does not, in any way, mask the hegemony the Whites established over their less illustrious contemporaries. Having enjoyed copious possession throughout the match, Leeds registered thirty attempts on the opposition's goal and could plausibly have been victorious by a greater margin than was the case come the final blast of the referee's whistle.
United head coach Thomas Christiansen elected to confer upon Pierre-Michel Lasogga a first appearance for the club following the German forward's arrival on a season-long loan contract from the Bundesliga's Hamburger SV on deadline day, while opting to name fellow attackers Paweł Cibicki - who, like Lasogga, joined the club on deadline day - and Jay-Roy Grot among Leeds' substitutes. Lasogga was to, with great haste, introduce himself to the Leeds United supporters in the most quintessential manner, scoring twice in his maiden fixture in English football. Further contributions from Kalvin Phillips, Pablo Hernández and Kemar Roofe would ensure that United's undefeated record under Christiansen was comfortably preserved.
The result, following Ipswich Town's first league defeat of the season away to Queens Park Rangers, sees Leeds rise to second place in the table, having amassed 14 points from their opening six Championship fixtures. United shall next play host to Birmingham City on Tuesday, with the Whites in the knowledge that victory against the Blues could see them supersede Cardiff City as the division's leaders.
It was the prerogative of Leeds to begin proceedings in front of little over 33,000 expectant supporters inside Elland Road, with United attacking the Kop in the first period.
The early exchanges saw zilch in the way of conspicuous goal-scoring opportunities; it was not until the match's 11th minute that Kemar Roofe was presented with a chance with which to open the scoring - after the former Oxford United talisman most adroitly interchanged passes with Pierre-Michel Lasogga - but a timely, and imperative, intervention on the part of John Brayford saw his effort cleared off the line.
Albion had not yet regained their breath when Samu Sáiz struck a driven effort toward goal - after the ball had been delivered into the visiting penalty area once more - that elicited an attentive save from Brewers 'keeper Stephen Bywater.
With United beginning to be more assertive and venturesome in their exertion of attacking pressure following a conservative opening ten minutes of the match, the Whites continued to finesse for themselves opportunities to establish a lead over their opponents. Following Bywater's magnificent save, a minute passed before Leeds surged forward once more. A right-wing cross by Luke Ayling was nodded deftly across the face of goal by the diminutive Vurnon Anita before the rather larger Lasogga chanced his arm from close proximity, only to see his goalbound shot cleared off the line - much to the disenchantment of the home supporters.
By this juncture, a beleaguered Burton appeared only to be endeavouring to forestall the inevitable. The opening goal was to arise in the 20th minute of the match, to little surprise. Eunan O'Kane's incisive, threaded through-ball was seized upon by Lasogga, who promptly, with his weaker left-foot, lashed the ball ruthlessly past a hapless Bywater and into the bottom-right corner. Delirious United supporters consequently acclaimed United's newfound goal-poaching predator, and the smile etched on Lasogga's face encapsulated what was an exceedingly joyful moment for the player.
United displayed no sign of relenting as they began to pursue a second goal. With half-an-hour played, Pablo Hernández's well-taken corner was nodded on by Liam Cooper before being emphatically met by the head of Pontus Jansson. Visiting 'keeper Bywater, eager to ensure his side remained in the match, made another save of considerable importance to deny the Swedish juggernaut his first goal of the season.
To the exasperation of the visitors, Leeds would double their advantage merely five minutes later through Kalvin Phillips. After Roofe had seen an effort halted by a determined defensive block within the penalty area, the ball eventually fell in a benign manner to Phillips who, having scored against Bolton Wanderers twice on the opening day of the season, sumptuously curled the ball home into the bottom-left corner with aplomb to net his third goal of the season.
With only three minutes remaining until the half-time interval, United were desperately unfortunate not to have scored a third goal of the game. Lasogga was the recipient of a splitting Sáiz pass inside the penalty area before crashing a venomous first-time shot against the aluminium of the post, and the German was soon denied once more in this particular phase of play when his second effort was diverted over the crossbar following a deflection.
A minute would elapse before the hosts were awarded a penalty after Lasogga was impeded by a visiting defender following a corner kick. Hernández was to assume the responsibility of taking the spot-kick, and the opportunity was one the Spaniard would grasp firmly with both hands - he did not dissipate the chance, firing the ball down the middle for his first goal of the season.
Leeds were thus able to take with them into the dressing room an almost unassailable advantage, but once the Whites had emerged from the tunnel for the second period there was not even the faintest indication of complacency on their part.
In the 48th and 49th minutes of the match respectively, Brewers 'keeper Bywater was called into action on two occasions to deny both substitute Stuart Dallas (who had unleashed a fearsome volley toward goal) and Lasogga (who had raced onto yet another masterly through-ball by Sáiz).
United would soon be rewarded for their progressive use of the football, and the hosts foisted upon their forlorn opposition further anguish in the 54th minute. Roofe, who most recently scored a superlative hat-trick against Newport County in the Carabao Cup before netting the first of United's two goals at Nottingham Forest, mercilessly exploited a large aperture in the opposing defence - one that had been created by the footballing intellect of the infallible Lasogga - before curling a resplendent effort beyond the reach of Bywater and into the bottom-right corner from outside of the area.
Not content with a trifling 4-0 lead, Leeds proceeded to score a fifth goal five minutes later. Roofe expertly eluded the offside trap before surging to the byline and crossing for Lasogga, who soared in the air to plant a firm header into the bottom-left corner and score his second goal of the match.
With a potentially arduous fixture at home to Birmingham on Tuesday night in mind, Leeds began to desert their adventurous approach for a more circumspect mentality for the game's remainder. A consequence of United's conservatism was a seldom seen Albion attack: one that culminated in recent acquisition Jamie Allen firing an innocuous and inaccurate effort well over the crossbar.
Though the hosts had moderated their approach, there would be further opportunities with which to extend their advantage further still; Bywater had to react promptly to divert a Dallas cross safely behind for a corner, while Roofe scuffed an effort after turning on a sixpence with only moments to play until the final whistle.
After a gratuitous period of three minutes of added time, audible, and ebullient, cheers greeted the last blast of the referee's whistle. On a day of volatile weather, dizzy penalties from former striker Luciano Becchio and goals aplenty, there was good reason for such celebration as United secured a third successive victory in all competitions and a fifth consecutive league clean sheet.
Leeds United (4-2-3-1) - Wiedwald; Ayling, Jansson, Cooper (C), Anita (Dallas 45'); O'Kane (Klich 56'), Phillips; Roofe, Sáiz , Hernández; Lasogga (Grot 62').
Unused Substitutes: Lonergan, Shaughnessy, Cibicki, Alioski.
Burton Albion (4-1-4-1) - Bywater; Brayford, Buxton, Turner, Warnock; McFadzean (Dyer 38'); Mason (Palmer 66'), Lund, Allen, Scannell (Sordell 60'); Akins.
Unused Substitutes: Ripley, Naylor, Flanagan, Varney.
Half-Time: Leeds United 3-0 Burton Albion - Lasogga 20', Phillips 35', Hernández 44' (Pen)
Full-Time: Leeds United 5-0 Burton Albion - Lasogga 20', 59', Phillips 35', Hernández 44' (Penalty), Roofe 54'
Match Statistics (Leeds/Burton)
Possession: 69% / 31%
Pass Success: 88% / 66%
Aerial Duel Success: 64% / 36%
Attempts: 30 / 1
On Target: 10 / 0
Corners: 10 / 1
Fouls: 11 / 12
Booked: McFadzean (Burton).
Man of the Match: Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Leeds).
Having been frequently derided as an ungainly, and profligate, forward by several of football's most flatulent and monotonous journalists, Pierre-Michel Lasogga's performance will doubtless have left many of the questions posed of his fitness to act as Chris Wood's replacement answered categorically. The German poacher possessed the requisite composure and poise to put Burton to the sword, scoring two goals in splendid style while also assisting Kemar Roofe's 54th-minutes strike and winning United's first-half penalty.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds (37,890).
Attendance: 33,404 (88% of stadium capacity).
Referee: Oliver Langford.
Writer’s Verdict: Sky the only constraint for dazzling Whites
Matches against opponents toiling to stave off relegation are, rightly, considered to be encounters in which promotion aspirants are victorious - and decisively so at that.
A gargantuan margin of victory is not always an accurate representation of the quality of a team's performance but, in this instance, the eye-catching scoreline is not one of mendacity. Leeds wholly merited their victory by manufacturing a most stellar performance.
United were alacritous, playing with a zeal and elan that would likely be the envy of any supporters of divisional rivals who may have elected to cast an intrigued eye over developments at Elland Road today. From beginning to end, Leeds United bested their opponents in every respect. In possession, Thomas Christiansen's charges exuded guile, vision and poise; in front of goal, they were ruthlessly potent; and for the entirety of the match, goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald was safely ensconced behind the impervious - and imperious - iron curtain that is the Leeds rearguard.
To Sáiz, Hernández, Roofe and Lasogga, the visitors possessed zilch in the way of answers. In the interest of displaying candour, this windbag considers that there was little Burton could have done to neuter the formidable attacking threat posed by United's front four. It should also be recognised that the efforts of the indefatigable Eunan O'Kane and Kalvin Phillips have been equally contributory to the success enjoyed by Leeds so far this season, with the latter in particular silencing his detractors with one impressive display after another.
This was a match United were always anticipated to win, but superlative performances such as that which was produced by the Whites today are symptomatic of a team that are well-placed to mount an assault on the division's uppermost reaches.
The most remarkable quality of this team is the expeditiousness with which United's overseas imports have assimilated into the first-team, so as to create a delightful and harmonious melange of domestic talent and themselves.
This powerful playing squad, boasting tactical flexibility, defensive solidity and attacking potency - underpinned by astute management on the part of the coaching staff and the directors - may just be the one that, at long last, finally propels this club back into the promised land and its concomitant riches. For this team, as they have already made clear, the sky really must be the only constraint; there is now good cause for one to declare that this slumbering giant has finally awoke.
Photo: Action Images
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