Whites move into 10th place with victory at Elland Road.
Leeds United 3 (Bamford 47’, Dallas 78’, Raphinha 84’)
Leeds United: Illan Meslier, Luke Ayling, Diego Llorente, Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas, Pascal Struijk, Mateusz Klich (Gjanni Alioski 59’), Tyler Roberts (Pablo Hernandez 74’), Jack Harrison (Helder Costa 46’), Raphinha, Patrick Bamford. Subs not used: Kiko Casilla, Joe Gelhardt, Charlie Cresswell, Jack Jenkins, Olly Casey, Niall Huggins.
Southampton: Alex McCarthy, Ryan Bertrand, Jannik Vestergaard, Oriol Romeu (Moussa Djenepo 70’), James Ward-Prowse (c), Che Adams, Nathan Redmond (Danny Ings 58’), Stuart Armstrong, Mohammed Salisu, Nathan Tella (Takumi Minamino 58’), Jan Bednarek. Subs not used: Fraser Forster, Jack Stephens, Kayne Ramsay, Daniel N’Lundulu, Alexandre Jankewitz, Kgaogelo Chauke.
A Tuesday night under the floodlights of Elland Road saw three excellent goals and a deserved three points for Leeds United, who produced a top quality display at home to Southampton.
Marcelo Bielsa made just the one change to his side from the Wolves game. Diego Llorente came in for Jamie Shackleton, making his return to the side after suffering an injury away at Newcastle United.
The first half was an entertaining one at Elland Road, albeit a goalless one, but that wasn’t through lack of effort. Illan Meslier was the first ‘keeper to be called into action early on, he saved well from Nathan Tella inside the box, prior to Jannik Vestergaard placing a header just wide.
Down the opposite end, Raphinha showed his tricky down the wing and pulled the ball back for Tyler Roberts, who powered an effort over the bar.
A moment of controversy was then saved, with 10 minutes to go until half-time. Tella again was at the centre of the attack and was awarded a penalty. However, upon a VAR review, referee Andre Marriner overturned the decision when replays clearly showed Diego Llorente had not committed a foul.
Just moments later, Brazilian winger Raphinha then had the best chance of the half as he raced clear, in on goal. Oriol Romeu was the player chasing back and he put in a stunning last-man challenge, just as Raphinha was about to shoot.
In a further talking point before the whistle, Che Adams had the ball in the back of the net. James Ward-Prowse had played a quick free-kick allowing the striker to finish, but the referee pulled it back as he hadn’t allowed it to be taken.
HALF TIME: Leeds United 0-0 Southampton
Bielsa made a change to his side during the interval. Helder Costa was brought on, replaying Jack Harrison in a straight swap.
Leeds responded and started the second 45 by taking the lead, just two minutes in. Tyler Roberts played a superb through ball to Patrick Bamford, who controlled and then superbly fired into the back of the net.
Meslier then had to be at his best again seconds later, as Stuart Armstrong cut into his penalty and smashed at goal, only to see the ‘keeper make an excellent diving save.
In what was becoming an end-to-end game, the impressive Roberts had to two opportunities to make it two, placing one wide and seeing one saved, either side of another Bamford effort, which was also well saved!
The next big effort on goal - all within 10 minutes of the restart - was another one for Adams. Captain Liam Cooper threw himself in front of the powerful shot, to keep his side ahead. That miss prompted the Saints to go to the bench, bringing on Danny Ings and Takumi Minamino.
Alex McCarthy, on his return to Elland Road, was making stop after stop to deny Leeds a second in the match. The recently introduced Gjanni Alioski linked up with Raphinha, the winger then pulled the ball back for Llorente to shoot, but he was denied by the ‘keeper.
Helder Costa’s trickery and pace had made a real impact on the game since being brought on. The winger played a massive part in Leeds’ second, as he latched onto a lovely through ball from Stuart Dallas, then played it back across the box for the Northern Irish midfielder to collect and fire into the net with his left-foot.
There was still time for a third, and what a third it would be! Costa once again caused the issues racing in on goal and he was brought down by Moussa Djenepo who collected a yellow card. Up stepped Raphinha with the free-kick, smashing into the bottom corner.
That would be the final goal of what had been a thoroughly impressive performance at Elland Road, moving Leeds above Wolves and Arsenal, into 10th place.
FULL TIME: Leeds United 3-0 Southampton
Referee: Andre Marriner
Booked: Raphinha (Leeds United) Vestergaard, Djenepo (Southampton)
Venue: Elland Road