Leeds vs Watford: Marcelo Bielsa’s side brushed off its slow start to the 2021-22 Premier League season and picked up win no. 1 at Elland Road on Saturday.
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The victory puts Leeds on six points after going six game without a win to start the season. The result, coupled with the dominant performance, will go some way toward easing any possible friction between Bielsa and the club.
Leeds vs Watford final score, stats, results
Final score: Leeds 1, Watford 0
Goal scorers: Leeds (Llorente 18′), Watford (None)
Shots: Leeds 20, Watford 5
Shots on target: Leeds 4, Watford 1
Possession: Leeds 67%, Watford 33%
3 things we learned, Leeds vs Watford
1. Staying the course pays off for Leeds: The first six games were a slog for Bielsa’s men, with three draws and three defeats to their name heading into matchweek 7. To that point, anything that could have gone against them, did. Anything that could have just easily fallen their way, didn’t. It’ll always be easy for players to fall out of love for playing with Bielsa once the results start going against them, but Leeds proved on Saturday there is much more to come from them this season.
2. Sarr starved of service: Ismaila Sarr has been one of the breakout stars of the 2021-22 Premier League season thus far, but Leeds managed to completely remove the Senegalese striker from the equation in the first half. Sarr had all of 15 touches of the ball, including just one inside the penalty area (and even that touch came along the wide edge of the box. Leeds didn’t mark Sarr out of the game so much as they cut off all forms of service by relentlessly pressing the middle third of the field. If Sarr’s teammates don’t have the ball, or they are unable to complete a pass (under 70 percent in the first half, as it was), Sarr can’t hurt you.
3. Leeds start strong, finish stronger: Everything aside from the scoreboard demonstrated total control and dominance by Leeds. It was a performance befitting a 3-0 or 4-0 victory, and certainly not one you’d expect to see from a winless side. With the exception of one freak moment late in the second half (and it didn’t even count in the end), Watford never looked like scoring.
Man of the Match: Diego Llorente – With very little allowed to Watford in his defensive half, and the only goal of the game to his name, Llorente is your MotM by default.
Leeds vs Watford recap, highlights
Diego Llorente pokes home for 1-0 (goal video)
When Llorente opened the scoring in the 18th minute, Leeds were in the midst of utter domination. Shots: 5-0; possession: 70-30. Ben Foster had already made a massive one-on-one save to deny Raphinha in the 7th minute, but there was nothing he could do when Llorente got a foot on the ball inside the six-yard box (above video).
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Illan Meslier saved by unexpected whistle
One second, Meslier was receiving treatment for an injury in the collarbone area. The next, he was letting a corner kick slip through his hands and fall to the ground inside the penalty area. Christian Kabasele dove in to head it home, but the whistle blew and Leeds were let off the massive hook.