Leeds United ran out 4-0 winners against West Brom in an impressive display that takes them back to the top of the Championship table.
The Lilywhites were tireless in their pressing off the ball and relentless in attack when they had possession, with West Brom simply unable to cope in either respect.
An early strike from Pablo Hernandez sent Leeds on their way, while Patrick Bamford added another two and Egzijan Alioski scored late on to put the seal on a fantastic performance and result.
Here are the winners and losers from Friday night’s encounter.
Winner – Pablo Hernandez
Despite Leeds’ slightly inconsistent form of late, Pablo Hernandez has continued to be a creative hub for the Lilywhites.
It was his own prowess in front of goal that came to the fore on Friday, however, as he put Leeds 1-0 up after just 16 seconds. West Brom tried a long ball straight from kick-off, which Leeds dealt with easily, before working it up to the Spaniard 25-yards from goal.
— LUFC Goals (@LUFC_Goals) March 1, 2019
From there, the outcome was never in doubt as Hernandez delivered a thunderbolt into Sam Johnstone’s top-right corner to score his eighth goal of the season and set his side on their way to a vital win in the Championship promotion race.
Loser – Darren Moore
Since taking over at West Brom toward the end of last season, Darren Moore has done a wonderful job.
Although he wasn’t able to keep them in the Premier League, he had one hell of a go at it, while he has turned the Baggies into one of the most dynamic and exciting sides in the Championship this season.
Only Norwich (68) have scored more than West Brom’s 67 goals so far this season but on Friday, they were just unable to get a real foothold in a game where Leeds pressed and harried them relentlessly. West Brom had no answer to this high-octane approach and were out-tackled 33-13 on the night.
The 4-0 defeat at Elland Road leaves the Midlands club six points off the automatic promotion spots, while it is just the 12th defeat in 47 games in the dugout for Moore, two of which have now been back-to-back against direct promotion rivals.
Winner – Patrick Bamford
Patrick Bamford continued his rich vein of form by doubling Leeds’ advantage after 28 minutes, getting on the end of a clever Tyler Roberts through ball and finishing into the bottom corner, before adding his second and Leeds’ third just after the hour mark.
64′ GGGGGOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!! AND ANOTHER GOAL!!! PATRICK BAMFORD WITH HIS SECOND!!! 3-0 pic.twitter.com/ZH4JRph8Hk
— Leeds United (@LUFC) March 1, 2019
After initially struggling upon joining the Lilywhites at the start of the season, Bamford has found his feet at Elland Road and now has six goals, with five of them coming in his last seven appearances.
With top scorer, Kemar Roofe, still working his way back from a knee injury, Bamford’s continued good form could be absolutely vital in the battle for the Championship title and, more importantly, promotion to the Premier League.
Loser – Sheffield United
Norwich City know that a draw away at Millwall will take them back above Leeds at the summit of the Championship table.
Sheffield United, however, have dropped to third as a result of their Yorkshire rival’s Friday night win and must now win an away Steel City derby with Sheffield Wednesday if they wish to return to the automatic promotion spots.
The Blades have won just two of the last 11 meetings with their bitter adversaries and will know that with little else to play for this season, the Owls will be hell-bent on damaging their promotion push this season.
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Winner – Marcelo Bielsa
If there’s one thing Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds know how to do better than anyone else, it’s holding on to a lead.
This win means the Championship table-toppers have now made it 16 from 16 when scoring first in the league this season and are the only side in the division yet to drop a point when drawing first blood.
The Lilywhite’s performance on Friday was full of energy and endeavour, with West Brom unable to match their intensity in the press and sheer class on the ball.
This was a much-needed win for Bielsa to end a run of five defeats in 10 Championship games and put them back on top of the pile, for now.
Loser – Kemar Roofe
With Bamford hitting such good form at this critical point, Roofe may just struggle to get back into the Leeds side when he recovers from his knee injury, despite scoring 14 Championship goals this season.
However, it wasn’t simply Bamford’s goals that caught the eye, it was also the way he dovetailed beautifully with Welsh starlet, Tyler Roberts, who provided two assists on the night against West Brom.
Rotation is key when using the high-energy approach Bielsa prefers but with their attacking contingent looking so potent at the moment, why change it?
Winner – Kiko Casilla
Despite the excitement surrounding his January move from Real Madrid, Kiko Casilla had been unable to keep a clean sheet during his five appearances for Leeds to this point, conceding seven goals.
The Spanish stopper finally ended that run on Friday night with Leeds downing the Baggies 4-0 and although the visitors only registered one shot on target during the whole game, it was a 30-yard rocket from Jay Rodriguez that required a brilliant, acrobatic save from Casilla.
— John (@John_MooreMOT) March 1, 2019
Casilla was generally very commanding with balls coming into his box as well, barring the odd moment of uncertainty, and performances like this behind a very aggressive Leeds defence will be indispensable during the season’s run in.