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Swansea City 0 v 4 Leeds United
SkyBet Championship
Tuesday, 13th February 2024 Kick-off 19:45
Farke hails best performance of the season as Leeds dismantle Swansea
Wednesday, 14th Feb 2024 21:33 by Tim Whelan

Leeds outclassed a tepid Swansea City on their own ground to extend the winning run to seven League games in succession and move into second place, albeit having played a game more than Southampton.

Our noble manager told the BBC "It was a massive win on the road and perhaps the best execution of a game plan this season. Swansea are a good possession side so we knew we had to press them and we were spot-on with that to create so many turnovers.

“We could have been more than 3-0 up at half-time and could have been more aggressive in the second half, but it was such a disciplined performance with a clean sheet that the players deserve huge praise. There's a great unity and team spirit here right now."

Fresh from Saturday’s win over Rotherham Daniel Farke named an unchanged starting line-up for this game, but his plans were undone when Patrick Bamford pulled up with a minor knee injury just before the start. The latest word is that it’s not too serious and he might be back on Saturday.

This meant that Piroe took his place, and he was finally employed in the number 9 role that just about everyone except Farke has advocated for him in the games when Bamford isn’t playing. We had no fewer than four ex-Swansea players in our matchday squad, but you’ve probably forgotten that we once had their captain Matt Grimes on loan at Elland Road. He did nothing during the game to suggest we should have kept hold of him.

We dominated possession right from the off and took only 8 minutes to go in front. Rutter had a complete air shot from a corner, but did well to recover and turn back towards goal. He passed to Gruev, who in turn found Summerville on the left. The Dutchman took the ball inside from the and as he attempted to curl it into the far corner it took a deflection off a defender to leave Rushworth completely wrong-footed. And the second goal came only two minutes later.

Rodon played the ball forward from the Leeds half, Rutter let it pass between his legs, and Piroe came back upfield to knock it to Gnonto on the right. Gnonto returned the pass, and Piroe raced through to smash the ball into the net, though Rushworth should probably have done better after getting his arm to the ball. Swansea complained that Piroe was offside from the original pass, which it might have been if Rutter had touched it on the way through, but he didn’t.

And on 15 minutes we seemed certain to get a third goal on the break as we ended up with three forwards against one defender. But Gnonto sent his shot too close to the keeper (perhaps adjusting his radar after sending Saturday’s chance too wide and past the post), and this time Rushworth was able to make the save.

That miss allowed Swansea to draw breath and think they were just about still in the contest, and they managed to get down the other end and put Leeds under a bit of pressure. As a cross came in one of their strikers could have had a free header, but the ball was just too high for him to control. When it came through to Ronald on their right Meslier came off his line and then stopped, but was able to complete the save with his legs.

Then from a corner Leeds were able to break away and Rutter did very well to control a high ball as it dropped out of the sky, but yet again his finish could have been better and Rushworth was able to get down to make a reasonably comfortable save. Swansea’s style was still far too open and played into our hands, with their manager displaying a Bielsa-like refusal to compromise his principles against a superior side.

And ten minutes before half time we were able to cut through them once more, and finally got the third goal we needed to kill the game off completely. Gray held onto the ball to wait for the right time as Gnonto began his run through the middle, then sent a perfectly weighted ball over the top. Gnonto came in from the right, then tucked the ball between a defender’s legs with his left while Rushworth hardly moved.

And it could have been four just before the break as Rutter was sent through into the area and stayed on his feet despite having his shirt tugged, only for Rushworth to come out and save the shot with his chest. It was no surprise that the home fans booed their team off at half time, as the locals must have been furious at their complete lack of fighting spirit.

They did wake up a bit in the second half, enough to get a block in when Gnonto line up a shot, and for Paterson to go close twice at the other end. At about this time the rain was getting heavier and those watching on Sky suffered a complete breakdown of the pictures, finally proving our chant that Sky TV is not very good. Apparently while that was going on, Leeds managed a fourth goal.

Summerville took the ball into the Swansea half and played a perfectly weighted pass as Gnonto raced through the centre. The hapless defender chasing him knew that if he brought him down in would be a red card, so our man was allowed to race into the area, when finally he got his angles right to send the ball into the far corner of the net.

And with that we could rest a couple of players as the hectic fixture list continues. First t was the usual double change of wingers, then Gray and Rutter came off for Roberts and Joseph. There have been suggestions that Rutter picked up an injury, but hopefully it’s nothing too serious. The final change saw Gelhardt come on for Piroe.

By that stage the game was petering out, and with thousands of Swans heading for the exits we asked the traditional question about a possible fire drill. Eventually the final whistle put the home side out of their misery, and as an added bonus we learnt that Southampton’s long unbeaten run had finally come to an end.

We might need to keep our own run going a while longer as the Saints would reclaim second spot if they won their game in hand, but Ipswich would now need to win both theirs by a combined margin of 18 goals to go above us. Can we reach the same heights at Plymouth on Saturday? Provided Sky TV holds out this time, I can’t wait to see it.


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