Late pen gives Leeds breathing room
Raphinha’s stoppage-time conversion of a VAR-awarded penalty saw Leeds United move clearer of the bottom three with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Elland Road on Tuesday.
Palace stays 12th with 16 points, while Leeds’ win pulls it five clear of 18th-place Norwich City.
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Leeds hosts Brentford on Sunday before a trip to Chelsea on Dec. 11.
Palace will visit Manchester United on Sunday and then host Everton on Dec. 11.
Leeds vs Crystal Palace final score, stats
Final score: Leeds United 1, Crystal Palace 0
Shots: Leeds, 16-9
Shots on target: Leeds, 3-1
Possession: Leeds, 62%
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 30, 2021
Three things we learned from Leeds vs Crystal Palace
1. What fitness levels? It’s often been mentioned that Leeds United’s system demands a lot out of players, and that Marcelo Bielsa’s requirements often find his teams looking haggard late in the season and sometimes in games. There was no such issue Tuesday, as Leeds was the better team early and that surged into superiority around the hour mark at Elland Road. A Palace run of chances with 20 minutes left wasn’t the end for Leeds either, as they fought to the death for their win.
2. Eagles penalty frustration: The Eagles — in particular Conor Gallagher — wanted a penalty in the 17th minute when Jordan Ayew searched for contact and was obliged with a two-handed push to the back inside the box, but neither Kevin Friend nor VAR were moved by the move. It was arguably the best in-tight danger provided by Palace, as Wilfried Zaha struggled to put his imprint on the game at center forward. Odsonne Edouard and Ayew showed more moments of promise, but nothing close to lethal, and VAR would later (correctly) send Palace to the spot for a handball in stoppage time.
3. Patrick’s Palace plays steady: The Eagles neither sit back too much nor seize control of possession but are consistent in their intensity and that’s working in some ways, perhaps channeling their manager’s presence on the field. Conor Gallagher is a key piece of who they are, and Christian Benteke’s entry for Odsonne Eduoard was the right switch with the wrong result… but only because Benteke couldn’t make the most of a trio of opportunities he worked hard to create in the Leeds third. Palace may have a winner in former Nice and NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira.
Man of the Match: Tyrick Mitchell
The 22-year-old left back got involved in the attack and more than held his own against Raphinha and a lively Stuart Dallas. At times, Mitchell recalls former Palace player Aaron Wan-Bissaka from his Selhurst Park days, as he showed a good range of passing while making four clearances and six tackles with a 75% success rate in 12 duels.
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