Tuesday, May 17

Pundit hails ‘special’ Leeds United supporters for quality few can match

BBC Radio Five Live pundit Chris Sutton has named Elland Road as one of the best grounds in the Premier League, saying there is something special about the atmosphere created by their supporters.

Sutton was in the press box on Monday night to cover Everton’s much-needed come-from-behind 2-1 win over Arsenal. The Toffees saw two goals disallowed by VAR either side of Martin Odegaard’s opener. However, goals from Richarlison and a spectacular strike in added-on time from Demarai Gray earned the hosts a vital win.

That eases the pressure on Rafa Benitez, with his side’s fall down the table prior to the match seeing questions placed on his future. In the end, Everton instead sacked their director of football Marcel Brands, handing further backing to Benitez.

The manner of Monday’s win certainly shows the players are willing to fight for the shirt. And the roof almost came off Goodison Park such was the winner when Gray’s scorcher flew in.

Now Sutton claims that Goodison Park and Elland Road have the best matchday atmosphere in the Premier League.

Celebrating Everton fans and Leeds United supporters, Sutton shared his views on Twitter.

“Great to cover Everton at a rocking Goodison tonight,” he wrote. “Brilliant goal to win it from the talented Demarai Gray.

Old-school Leeds

“Some noise when that went in. I love Spurs new stadium but there is something special about the old school grounds like Goodison and Elland Road.”

Few would argue with Sutton’s assessment. Elland Road has been absolutely bouncing this season and Leeds United supporters have played a huge role for their side this season.

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Indeed, Leeds have benefited from two vital last-gasp goals over the past week. Firstly, last Tuesday when a 90+4 penalty from Raphinha earned a crucial 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

And then on Sunday, when trailing 2-1 to Brentford, Patrick Bamford struck on 90+5 to salavage a point against the Bees.

Having been starved of Premier League football for 16 years, and then denied the chance to attend last season due to covid, Leeds United supporters have been liked caged animals this season. Indeed, they are enjoying every moment of their time back in the sun and the football of Marcelo Bielsa.

While results haven’t quite gone as well as last season, they are still just four points worse off than at the same stage last season.

Furthermore, Leeds have actually lost fewer games now, having lost just five times so far.

Bielsa coy on Phillips injury update

Of more pressing concern for Leeds is the fitness of Phillips ahead of a busy and testing run of fixtures.

That’s after Phillips was withdrawn after 55 minutes of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Brentford. Leaving the field shortly after Brentford’s equaliser to make it 1-1, Phillips went straight down the tunnel after signalling to the bench to come off.

With Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool next on the horizon, Leeds will hope their talismanic midfielder is available.

Leeds also have worries over defender Liam Cooper, who limped off after just 14 minutes in some discomfort.

Bielsa, though, was unable to provide much of an update when questioned over the pair.

“At the moment I do not know nor how long they will take to recover,” he said.

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Cooper’s injury will also be a concern. The skipper has hardly put a foot wrong this season and Leeds missed his authority and organisation through the remainder of the 2-2 stalemate.

United had Charlie Cresswell on the bench in the absence of Pascal Struijk. Bielsa, though, instead brought on Jack Harrison, tweaking his formation as a result of Cooper’s withdrawal.

READ MORE: Bielsa hails Bamford class and underlines why he’s so important to Leeds

The post Pundit hails ‘special’ Leeds United supporters for quality few can match appeared first on TEAMtalk.

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