61 min: Superb save by McCarthy to deny Llorente his first Leeds goal and his club a second in this game! The defender probably should have buried it but McCarthy reacts brilliantly. Raphinha got to the byline and slid the ball into Llorente’s path. Leeds will be kicking themselves if Southampton do manage to find a route back into this one. They should be out of sight.
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59 min: Hasenhuttl replaces his front two, with Ings and Minamino on for Redmond and Tella. Leeds are going to be forced into a change, with Klich unable to continue. He is holding his back …
58 min: Klich is down injured for Leeds. Meanwhile Saints are readying a double change …
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54 min: Leeds pass up another inviting opening! Raphinha works the ball to Liam Cooper at the back post but the defender’s header across goal is scrambled clear by Southampton after Struijk dallied on the ball in the area.
53 min: Leeds carve Southampton open but Bamford smashes the ball straight at McCarthy, who manages to keep the hosts at bay. Stuart Dallas cut inside off the left flank, weaving his way past a sea of red shirts before locating an unmarked Bamford. But the striker goes for power and that allows McCarthy to stand tall. Leeds can’t force it in!
50 min: Tyler Roberts shoots agonisingly wide! Raphinha makes Jan Bednarek look silly, taking the ball in his stride before unselfishly looking for his team-mates centrally. He squares the ball and Roberts arrives on to it beautifully, opening his body up … but fails to apply the first-time finish.
49 min: Meslier saves well from Armstrong, who sends a vicious, dipping shot towards goal from inside the box. Armstrong shapes to shoot towards the far post but pelts a shot at the near post. Meslier claws the ball clear with a strong right hand. Smart goalkeeping.
GOAL! Leeds 1-0 Southampton (Bamford, 48)
Roberts slips in Bamford, who finishes effortlessly. Bamford times his run between a gaping hole between Bednarek and Vestergaard, steadies himself and then pots the ball into the far corner. Great vision by Roberts and a wonderful finish to boot.
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47 min: Redmond powers at Meslier at his near post! Che Adams does well, keeping Struijk at arm’s length before laying the ball back for Redmond, whose shot was straight at the Leeds goalkeeper.
47 min: Ayling tries to release Bamford over the top of the Southampton defence but it is a little ambitious and McCarthy gathers.
Half-time: Leeds 0-0 Southampton
A bizarre climax to an open first half, with Che Adams firing in after James Ward-Prowse played a quick free-kick in behind the Leeds defence. Andre Marriner appeared to whistle for Ward-Prowse to take the free-kick but then tried to halt play before Adams buried a shot beyond Meslier. And before that Southampton had a penalty revoked after Marriner adjudged Diego Llorente did not foul Nathan Tella, who fell in the box. Never dull!
45 min: Che Adams thinks he has scored … but Andre Marriner is having none of it, saying Southampton did not wait for his whistle. Ward-Prowse slips Adams in, playing a quick free-kick after Marriner sounds his whistle but the official then blows again before the ball was fired in past Illan Meslier. Confusion reigns!
43 min: Llorente, understandably, does look a little off the pace.
42 min: Che Adams becomes the latest player to lose their footing on a pitch that continues to churn.
41 min: Unsurprisingly, no Southampton player has won more duels than Romeu in the Premier League this season. That was a monstrous interception.
39 min: Romeu has just made another stonking challenge, and this time it’s a goal-saving intervention. Leeds break on the counterattack from a Southampton free-kick and Stuart Dallas plays Raphinha through one-on-one with Alex McCarthy. He is seemingly set to open the scoring … but Romeu has something to say about it all. Superb defending.
36 min: Tella is penalised for a foul but Leeds waste a free-kick from the right flank, with Raphinha sending a cross straight down the Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy’s throat.
35 min: Hasenhuttl, hard done by by VAR calls in recent weeks, shakes his head but it appears the right decision. Tella steamed into the box and Llorente seemed to pull away from making contact just in time. It was a swift Saints move that stemmed from more brilliant breakup play by Oriol Romeu, who nipped in ahead of Mateusz Klich to steal possession.
32 min: Nathan Tella fell in the box but appeared to seek contact from Diego Llorente. Down to you, Kevin Friend. Andre Marriner is the referee this evening.
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30 min: Stuart Armstrong has been unusually quiet on his return to the Southampton lineup. Tella has been perhaps the liveliest source of energy for Saints.
29 min: Ryan Bertrand bursts through on goal and leathers a shot at Illan Meslier … but the Southampton full-back is pulled up for handball. He has no complaints. Bertrand was, worryingly for Leeds, played in very easily.
27 min: … Cooper pokes the ball over the bar, via Alex McCarthy’s left glove! Raphinha looks set to shoot but plays a cute pass out towards Diego Llorente, who is completely unmarked. Southampton inadvertently leave Llorente alone and he sends the ball into the six-yard box, where Cooper hooks an effort goalwards. McCarthy does well to intervene. The resulting corner comes to nothing but Leeds have upped it in the last couple of minutes.
26 min: Leeds free-kick, 30 yards from goal. Raphinha fancies it …
24 min: Leeds turn up the temperature. Tyler Roberts drives over from just inside the box after Raphinha slides a weighted ball into him. He should have done better. Raphinha did superbly in the buildup and Salisu could have given away a penalty on another day. He struggled to get to grips with the Brazilian and made a rash challenge, but made no contact.
23 min: Leeds try to pour forward down the left flank but, again, Southampton are sharp to it. Jan Bednarek is at right-back in the continued absence of Kyle Walker-Peters, who is an early contender for Saints’ player of the season award.
22 min: Bamford goes over in the box but Vestergaard, with a little wry smile, tells him to get on with it. There was nothing in that. Up the other end Tella, a former Arsenal academy forward, is looking accomplished on his full league debut.
20 min: Bamford tries to weave his way through the visitors defence but Southampton snuff the danger out. “Llorente being back poses an interesting question: better an off-form defender in the defense or an out of position player filling in responsibilities there?” emails Giancarlo.
18 min: Vestergaard is gobbling everything up in the Southampton defence. A bit of head tennis ensues – maybe they’ve had enough of the playing surface – and the towering defender comes out on top.
17 min: The Elland Road pitch is cutting up rather heavily.
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15 min: If you didn’t realise already, Kalvin Phillips is again missing for Leeds with a calf injury. Leeds have won only one of the six league matches he has missed this season. Saints are certainly winning the midfield battle at the moment. Romeu and Ward-Prowse are stomping their feet.
13 min: Diego Llorente gives the ball away cheaply and the Leeds defender already looks to be blowing on only his second start for the club. Vestergaard got Saints moving on halfway and Tella continues to cause problems.
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11 min: Tella nudges Ayling over and Leeds win a free-kick just inside the Southampton half. On the touchline, Bielsa is bellowing and Ralph roaring. There is no shortage of passion on display.
10 min: James Ward-Prowse, the Southampton captain, is barking orders, organising his team-mates and shifting them around as Leeds probe just after halfway. Leeds are yet to click.
9 min: Saints appear to be playing Leeds at their own game. Hasenhuttl did suggest he made changes to ensure his players could get their high-press on.
7 min: Romeu does brilliantly to claw the ball away from Luke Ayling on halfway and helps Saints win posssession. Nathan Tella, on his full debut, skates past Liam Cooper and tries to send a shot arcing towards the top corner. He doesn’t make clean contact but promising stuff.
5 min: … Vestergaard drops a header just wide of the Leeds goal! Ward-Prowse whips in a dangerous free-kick, it lands on the edge of the six-yard box and Vestergaard cranes his neck in front of Patrick Bamford to send an effort goalwards. It drops wide. Encouraging start for Saints.
4 min: A high-octane start at Elland Road after a some teething problems at my end …
Saints kick-off after both teams take a knee.
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“That sad piece on Gordon McQueen brought back happy memories of the big man soaring horizontally over the England defence at Wembley in 1977,” emails Justin Kavanagh. “He could defend against the besty too. How the current Leeds team could use a rock like him at the back these days.”
Marcelo Bielsa has a word pre-match. “The change is made because we can count on Diego Llorente again and I am in agreement that the performance was good in the last game. It is necessary in this moment and we hope he can show the qualities that brought him here. There are no easy games in the Premier League, all the teams have highs and lows and I have the sensation that Southampton are recovering the levels of earlier in the season. I am not the best qualified to describe the opponent’s style, I will leave that to others who are better qualified.”
Ralph Hasenhüttl speaks and explains why he has left Danny Ings on the bench. “When you have seen how intense our last game was, and today we have maybe one of the most intense of the season, against a team who is known for their massive running stats. You need fresh players on the pitch. It does not mean they will not come on.”
Southampton, it is fair to say, are not jumping up and down with glee at the moment. Their total of four points in 2021 is the lowest in the Premier League, as is their tally of six goals scored. Their solitary victory in 12 matches arrived against the champions in January.
Some sad news regarding a former Leeds player:
Team news news: there is no Danny Ings or Takumi Minamino in the Saints XI, having run themselves into the ground against Chelsea at St Mary’s four days ago, but both are on the bench. The 21-year-old Nathan Tella, an exciting forward, makes his full Premier League debut as Ralph Hasenhüttl makes three changes. Meanwhile Marcelo Bielsa tweaks things with Diego Llorente returning to the starting lineup in place of Jamie Shackleton, for only his second start since a summer move from Sociedad.
Leeds (4-4-1-1): Meslier; Ayling, Cooper, Llorente, Dallas; Raphinha, Struijk, Klich, Harrison; Roberts; Bamford
Subs: Casilla, Alioski, Cresswell, Casey, Costa, Jenkins, Huggins, Hernandez, Gelhardt
Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy; Bednarek, Salisu, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Tella; Adams, Redmond
Subs: Forster, Ramsay, Stephens, Chauke, Jankewitz, Minamino, Djenepo, N’Lundulu, Ings
Referee: Andre Marriner
To Elland Road, where Marcelo Bielsa’s side welcome Southampton in a teatime kick-off. What better way to start the evening? Team news is imminent. Leeds were desperately unlucky in defeat at Wolves last week while Southampton stopped the rot against Chelsea after six straight defeats.
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