Classy Leeds sweep Burnley aside in style to move back into top half

·18-min read
Burnley vs Leeds United, Premier League: live score and latest updates - Getty Images
Burnley vs Leeds United, Premier League: live score and latest updates - Getty Images
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  • Rodrigo scores two goals off the bench as Leeds put Burnley to the sword

  • Mateusz Klich put Leeds in front with a curling first half shot

The focus after this game was a gesture made by Ezgjan Alioski when it really should have been about one of the most complete away performances from Marcelo’s Bielsa’s team this season.

Alioski will be subject of a Football Association investigation for an incident just after a confrontation with Dwight McNeil, with Burnley making an official complaint to referee Graham Scott.

The Macedonia full-back played a big part in a win that keeps Marcelo Bielsa’s team on course for a top-half finish on their return to the Premier League. Jack Harrison, who scored and set up two Rodrigo Moreno goals, was asked afterwards if Leeds could set their sights on Europe in the final week of the campaign.

“We're always ambitious as a team and we'll be striving for that,” said Harrison. “It's been good as a club in our first season back in the Premier League and we want to finish strong.”

Harrison has not been among the names mentioned for an England call-up but the winger, on loan from Manchester City, has enjoyed a fine season. He produced an impish finish with a backheel and two assists, with Bielsa talking about his “big growth” during the campaign.

Gareth Southgate has been a regular spectator at Leeds matches and must know he has a dependable winger if needed. Luke Ayling and Patrick Bamford have come close this season too, while Kalvin Phillips’ passing has booked him a place at the European Championship.

With Phillips functioning in front of the back four, Leeds were able to seize control of the game and open the scoring just before half-time. Mateusz Klich picked up the ball on the halfway line and was allowed to amble towards goal. He used James Tarkowski’s position as a target to aim around, curling his finish into the bottom corner.

“When you score just before half-time and having the lead in the second half in the back of your mind is good,” said Klich. “We knew they would come strong in the second half. They did but we got more chances because they had to open up.”

Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier also played an important part in the victory. Matej Vydra had spun around his opponent to race through on goal and had a big target to aim for, only for the young Frenchman to stick a leg out to save.

His team-mates took full advantage when they scored in their next attack. After a corner was cleared, Alioski’s shot was going wide until Harrison steered the ball into the net with his heel. “It was a bit lucky,” admitted Harrison. “I meant to direct it towards goal but I didn’t know if I was onside.”

Alioski’s incident, after a clash with McNeil, came before Rodrigo wrapped up the scoring with his two goals.

Both were set up by Harrison, the first saw the Spaniard control a ball fizzed into his feet before chipping Bailey Peacock-Farrell. He then finished off a move started by Phillips’ 40-yard volley out to the left wing. Harrison moved the ball inside for Rodrigo to take the ball around Peacock-Farrell and tap in.

“Beautiful goal, the first one, good pass from Jack, it was a tight space but found a way to get the advantage and get the goal,” Rodrigo said.

“We are having an amazing season, we are playing excellent games. We have an amazing group, good atmosphere during the week, the whole season was amazing for us after we got promoted last season. I hope the fans are proud of us this season.”

Rodrigo will be hoping his performances get him into the Spain squad, with his team-mates all doing their chances no harm.

“The players have legitimate aspirations to play more, but the important thing for any player is to be in conditions to play well,” said Bielsa. “After, when you're in conditions to play, you can play well or not.

“These 50 minutes Rodrigo played against Tottenham and this game were at a very good level. We saw a version of Rodrigo close to what he's capable of. When he finds his form, he unbalances others.”

Bielsa’s team can still finish with 59 points and face Southampton and West Bromwich Albion in their final games of the campaign. “We will see how the results play out because there are very few points left to play for,” added Bielsa.

Sean Dyche had Nick Pope missing with a shoulder injury, which is a conern. With safety assured, his players know the hard work is done.

“We have got 39 points and earned the right to be in the Premier League. We need to build. I really like the club record of being in the Premier League season on season,” said Dyche.

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01:24 PM

FT: Burnley 0 Leeds 4

Leeds cement their place in the top half after another stylish performance. It was a bit of a battle in the early stages but Bielsa's team scored some wonderful goals. They are so dangerous once they can counter-attack.

01:20 PM

Three minutes of added time to play

This game has been done since the second Leeds goal in truth.

01:18 PM

89 minutes

Rodrigo very nearly in for his hat-trick, but Taylor did just enough to ease him out of the way. The offside flag goes up for offside from the corner. Leeds almost there.

01:15 PM

What a pass from Phillips in the build up to the fourth

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01:14 PM

85 minutes

Burnley putting on some late pressure but Barnes fouls Meslier. He is a goalkeeper of immense potential. His lack of size might cost him in a few situations but the positives in his game outweigh those concerns.

01:12 PM

83 minutes

Burnley should have won back. It was the second phase from a corner and the knock down dropped for Tarkowski at the back post who fired over. Then Barnes flicks a header just wide.

01:11 PM

The first Rodrigo goal

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01:10 PM

80 minutes

Leeds make another change: Poveda comes on for Raphinha.

01:08 PM

GOOOAAAALLL! Rodrigo scores again

Another brilliant move from Leeds. Phillips fizzed a pass on the half-volley on to a sixpence for Harrison who is free again on the left flank. He feeds the ball behind the Burnley defence, Rodrigo got there first before rounding the goalkeeper and tucking it home.

01:06 PM

GOOOAAALL! Rodrigo makes it three

What a finish. Harrison fizzed the ball into his feet between the two centre-backs, he took the ball into his stride with one left-foot touch and dinked the ball over Peacock-Farrell. Leeds home and hosed now.

01:03 PM

74 minutes

Another good save from Meslier after a nice give and go between Westwood and Gudmundsson. Narrowed the angle well but the winger could maybe have pulled the ball back for Barnes.

01:01 PM

72 minutes

Dyche and Bielsa both get a talking to from the referee. Ayling is called across as Leeds captain to tell Alioski to wind his neck in. All stemmed from McNeil feeling he was going down too easily. The Leeds full-back then pulled a silly face towards the Burnley bench. Playground stuff.

12:58 PM

70 minutes

McNeil not happy with Alioski going down too easily. The Burnley winger is replaced by Gudmundsson. The rain is still lashing down at Turf Moor.

12:57 PM

68 minutes

Barnes and Jay Rodriguez have been introduced for Burnley. Meslier takes a straightforward cross easily. Leeds come forward again through Harrison but Tarkowski blocked Rodrigo's shot.

12:56 PM

Leeds' second goal

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12:56 PM

66 minutes

A few tackles flying in now on a greasy surface. First Phillips is booked then Westwood for a late tackle on Raphinha. He was angry at the Leeds winger for making the most of it.

12:55 PM

62 minutes

Bielsa had taken Bamford off for Rodrigo moments before that goal. Leeds in complete control now with Burnley struggling to build a head of steam.

12:49 PM

GOOOOAAALL! Leeds double their lead on the hour

A corner was cleared to Alioski on the edge of the box who took a low shot towards goal, and there was Harrison to flick the ball past Peacock-Farrell with an instinctive finish. He definitely meant that.

12:45 PM

56 minutes

Burnley's biggest chance of the game and Meslier makes a big save! Vydra pushed the ball into space and drove into the box with only the goalkeeper to beat from a tight angle but Meslier got a good hand to it.

12:43 PM

55 minutes

A period of scrappy football in midfield but Leeds regain some control and composure through the excellent Llorente. Harrison bursts away down the left but Lowton gets back well to win a sliding tackle. Wood is fouled on halfway.

12:41 PM

52 minutes

Westwood volleys wide from distance after the ball sat up nicely for the Burnley midfielder. Leeds look long for Bamford in the right channel and Lowton ushers the ball out of play.

12:39 PM

50 minutes

Alioski looks for the run of Harrison again, but Lowton gets his head to it. Good defensive work from Phillips to hook Vydra's flick away. Wood makes himself a nuisance against Ayling with the ball bouncing and wins a corner.

12:37 PM

47 minutes

The rain is pouring down at Turf Moor now. Burnley trying to press from the front a little more in the early minutes bu Leeds are dealing with it well.

12:34 PM

The players are back out

Can Leeds press on in the second half? Bielsa emerges with a bobble hat. It is May.

12:27 PM

Leeds' goal

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12:19 PM

HT: Burnley 0 Leeds 1

Klich's fine goal the difference at the break.

12:18 PM

47 minutes

Struijk barges into Tarkwoski at the edge of the box to give Burnley a free-kick in a dangerous position on the stroke of half time. Left corner of the area, crossing position for McNeil. Westwood goes for the shot but Meslier claims easily.

12:16 PM

Two minutes of added time on

Leeds probably good value for that after a bright Burnley start.

12:15 PM

GOOOOOAAAAALL! Leeds lead through Klick

You could say they Klich-ed into gear. Typical Leeds, breaking from one end of the pitch to the other with numbers and quality. Klich looked like spreading the play to Harrison on the left but he kept driving centrally and curled a shot around Mee into the bottom corner from outside the box. Great finish.

12:13 PM

Alioski's attempt

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12:12 PM

41 minutes

Leeds look for a ball over the top for Raphinha but it skips through for Peacock-Farrell. The back-up goalkeeper has not really been tested so far.

12:09 PM

38 minutes

Nice play from Leeds. Phillips dinks a ball over the top for Harrison who feeds a low cross in that Bamford steps over, the ball flicks up off Taylor but Raphina's acrobatic volley flies over the bar. Burnley were out of shape there.

12:07 PM

36 minutes

Leeds starting to control this game now, Harrison a key outlet for them once again. They have another corner down his flank, Kalvin Phillips goes across to take it. Struijk penalised for a foul.

12:05 PM

33 minutes

Leeds cut through Burnley down their right, Raphina pulls the ball back for Alioski but he screwed a horrendous attempt straight out for a throw in. The flag eventually did go up against Raphinha.

12:02 PM

31 minutes

That was a much better move from Leeds. Harrison feeds Raphina in space in the inside left slot but Taylor got back to win a big tackle when the Leeds forward was about to shoot. Then Phillips delivers a good cross and Struijk heads not far wide.

12:00 PM

29 minutes

Vydra does really to hold off three Leeds defenders play the ball wide to Lowton. The move comes to nothing though. Taylor runs the ball out of play after getting in front of Raphinha.

11:58 AM

26 minutes

Leeds look for a diagonal ball to Harrison again, and he wins a corner after the ball flicks off Lowton. The initial corner was cleared then Llorente whipped a really good cross in. Another Leeds corner on the way.

11:55 AM

23 minutes

A stoppage in play after Llorente gets a knock in the small of his back. Things have not really clicked for Leeds so far. None of the slick combinations we usually expect from them, but credit to Burnley.

11:53 AM

20 minutes

Wood penalised for a foul on Meslier after Burnley struggled to make anything of a central free-kick. Then Burnley come forward again down the left and the Leeds goalkeeper does really well to claim the cross.

11:47 AM

17 minutes

That was a little more threatening from Leeds. Alioski whips the ball in from the left and Dallas took an ambitious shot on the swivel at the back post. Always rising.

11:46 AM

15 minutes

Neither team keeping the ball for very long, which you could say is evidence of their off-the-ball work ethic. Leeds will want to get Raphinha a few more touches, most of their attacks have been focused down the other wing.

11:44 AM

13 minutes

Leeds a bit lumpy in their build up play from the back, but they get away with it. They are looking to switch the play out to the left whenever possible but the flag goes up against Harrison for offside.

Good hold up play by Vydra but Ayling gets across to defend well against Taylor.

11:41 AM

11 minutes

Peacock-Farrell called into action for the first time after Bamford went to ground to control a through ball, sprung up and got a shot on goal from a tight angle. Then Alioski has a volley blocked at the back post. Tarkowski feels he should have had a foul for the challenge from Bamford.

11:39 AM

9 minutes

Harrison with a chance to run with the ball - he was great against Tottenham last week - but he gives it away and McNeil gets back to defend. Leeds using a back three today against Burnley's two strikers, which is a favoured tactic of Bielsa.

11:37 AM

7 minutes

Burnley have enjoyed more than 75 per cent possession so far which is a bit surprising. Leeds finally get into the Burnley half but Klich loses possession to Westwood. Meslier with a loose pass straight out for a throw in.

11:35 AM

5 minutes

Really bright start from Burnley who are moving the ball with confidence and winning all the second balls. Brownhill shoots wide from distance after nice work from McNeil again. He really is a classy player. The flag goes up for offside against Vydra with the Leeds defence stretched.

11:34 AM

3 minutes

Some early defending to do for Leeds as Burnley deliver the ball into the penalty area with customary efficiency. A cross from Brownhill flicks off Alioski for a corner but Bamford gets up to head away. McNeil sends another across in which is cleared, then the Burnley winger produces a lovely give and go and dribble into the box that Leeds scramble clear. Burnley come again and win another corner but Meslier claims.

11:31 AM

KICK OFF!

Leeds get us started after both teams take the knee.

11:30 AM

The players are on their way out

These end of season games tend to go one of two ways: high-scoring playground football or a dour 90 minutes that drifts by. Which one will we get this lunchtime?

11:20 AM

Sean Dyche speaks

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11:19 AM

Wood and Vydra up top again for Burnley

Vydra has given Sean Dyche's team an extra pinch of technical quality and mobility up front. It did not seem he had the full trust of his manager but in the absence of Ashley Barnes he has been superb. As has Chris Wood, who is part of a select group of players to score more than 10 Premier League goals in four straight seasons.

10:44 AM

The teams the old fashioned way

Burnley: Peacock-Farrell, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Brownhill, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Vydra, Wood

Leeds: Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Alioski, Phillips, Raphinha, Dallas, Klich, Harrison, Bamford

10:35 AM

Leeds team: Phillips and Raphinha are back

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10:34 AM

Burnley team: No Pope in goal

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10:30 AM

Taylor for England? Sean Dyche believes so

Sean Dyche believes Burnley left-back Charlie Taylor has the potential to play for England if he can keep making improvements to his game.

The 27-year-old is in line to make his 100th league appearance for the Clarets when his former club Leeds visit Turf Moor on Saturday, having been an integral part of a Burnley side now sure of a sixth consecutive campaign in the top flight next season.

"He's improving and he continues to do so," Dyche said. "He's had his learning curve and some unfortunate spells out with injury.

"He's a very powerful defender, very good one v one, and if he plays forwards more and runs forwards more, then he at least can get around the thinking of the national manager in my opinion."

Burnley signed Taylor in 2017 when his Leeds contract had run down, paying a compensation fee reportedly around £7million for a player who had by then established himself as first-choice at Elland Road.

Dyche said he and his staff had been working to drum out of Taylor some of what he was taught as a youngster, but argued England boss Gareth Southgate might soon want to take a look.

"He's from an academy system where full-backs are told to play backwards constantly," Dyche said. "If we can get him playing forwards more, get him running forwards more, then I think he can certainly be on the radar of the national manager.

"I'm not remotely saying he should be in the team or in the squad (now), but he should be at least putting himself in the thoughts of the national manager in my opinion.

"When he's doing the things I've just said, then I think he will do."

Taylor will not be the only player seeing familiar faces on Saturday, with Leeds forward Patrick Bamford back at the club where he spent a brief and ill-fated spell on loan in 2016.

Bamford joined on a season-long deal from Chelsea that summer, but it was cut short by January as he failed to break into the side, with the player later claiming a personality clash with Dyche was partly to blame.

"I think he was maturing as a professional and as a player and the different challenges that come," Dyche said of a player who has scored 15 Premier League goals this season.

"He did very well in finding his own way and working through those challenges and he's delivered without a doubt."

Team news on the way shortly.

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