Leeds didn’t just dodge a potential banana skin against Salford on Tuesday night they brushed it away emphatically, with a 3-0 scoreline that matched their dominance in the game.
Marcelo Bielsa gave debuts to Eddie Nketiah (from the start) and Alfie McCalmont (from the bench) and the former gave the away side the lead with a poacher’s finish in the 43rd minute.
Second-half goals from Gaetano Berardi and Mateusz Klich finished Salford off, although the home side were perhaps unlucky that they didn’t score a consolation late on.
Here are the main talking points from the game:
1. Bamford should be worried
Patrick Bamford scored in the first game of the season but missed a host of chances in the 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest. The goal against Bristol City was his first for Leeds since the 2-1 defeat against Wigan, when the wheels came off the promotion bus last April.
Bamford, 25, has looked lively but he’s not converting chances and Nketiah showed he’s got real competition at the club now. Nketiah was fast, direct and full of movement. He scored on his debut and while it was a simple tap-in to an empty net, it was all about the move and Marcelo Bielsa will have been very happy with it. Jamie Shackleton to Helder Costa out wide is classic Bielsa and Nketiah made sure he was there to tuck the ball away. Will it have earned Nketiah a start on Saturday against Wigan? Possibly, but if not Bamford could well have just one game to sort himself out before he’s dropped.
2. Klich had another blinder
Mateusz Klich has had a brilliant start to the season. He made more key passes than anyone on the pitch in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest last Saturday [Leeds United StatZone] and put down some more fantastic numbers against Salford [LUFC Data]. He had 79 touches, a 76% pass accuracy, seven ball recoveries, five shots (two on target), three crosses and he scored a wonderful goal from the edge of the penalty area. He’s fast becoming an absolutely essential player for this Leeds side.
3. What’s happened to Clarke?
One player who put in another underwhelming performance was Jack Clarke. He really hasn’t been back to his best since he suffered from the virus that kept him out of action last season and it doesn’t point to him getting many starts this season. This was his first of the season and he didn’t do much apart from setting off on dribbles and getting run off the ball. This was the reason he was loaned back to Leeds but Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping for more as the season progresses.