We hit the top of the table with a win last night, Cardiff losing heavily in Preston meaning our win took us above them for the time being. We haven’t set the pace early in a league since the season we were promoted in League One, and even then we didn’t have the start we’ve had now. It wasn’t a stroll in the park last night at all and Birmingham were probably unlucky not to leave with anything but Leeds dug in and secured another win.
Felix Wiedwald – 7 – I thought he had a more difficult game than he has faced in a few weeks but still wasn’t called into action enough to really judge. One dodgy clearance he got away with but throwing out was pinpoint and had very safe hands on the wet surface with players following up.
Luke Ayling – 7 – A very good game ending with him wearing the captains armband. Had it tough up against Boga in the early stages, the winger escaped a few times but Ayling was always on his tail. Did well when he went to centre-back.
Pontus Jansson – 9 – #PASMOM – Jansson was a brick wall last night. Sam Gallagher, Jota and Boga all found space between the defence and midfield but Jansson was always there. Header after header out of the box towards the end, the ball like a magnet to his head. Lead us to the win.
Liam Cooper – 8 – Cooper was brilliant alongside Jansson last night before a knock forced him off. His distribution has improved hugely and he stood up to the attacking threat of Birmingham when they got close to the goal. A new player this season.
Vurnon Anita – 6 – Tough night for Anita who was left exposed by the wandering of Pablo Hernandez down his side and was faced by Jota who grew into the game with mazy runs into the middle. A lot of the threat from Birmingham came down Anita’s side. Also sloppy on the ball on a couple of occasions.
Eunan O’Kane – 6 – Struggled to find the space in midfield after Birmingham pushed players on after the opening half hour. Did get back into it at the end and worked extremely hard but didn’t have the influence he normally has on games.
Kalvin Phillips – 7 – Phillips could get on the ball as much last night, the same as O’Kane but his work-rate shone through. Some important tackles tracking back were key in the game and gave a way a foul when we looked like getting hit with a counter attack late on.
Gjianni Alioski – 6 – Had a really tough night overall and didn’t get into the game. It sort of passed him by and we never saw the energy and excitement we expect from him now. Almost cost us a goal, Luke Ayling made it clear who was at fault for leaving his man.
Samu Saiz – 8 – Did drift out of the game in the second half but popped up with runs, touches and creativity here and there after starting the game very well. Everything we did seemed to go through him and he got another goal, crucially when we were on top.
Pablo Hernandez – 6 – After a better performance on Saturday he slipped back into his old ways of holding onto the ball for to long and playing passes at the wrong time. So many times he gave the ball away in promising positions but the threat of coming inside was more that Alioski on the other.
Pierre-Michel – Lasogga – 7 – Worked so hard in the opening half hour he seemed to burn out and ended up playing 90 minutes which probably wasn’t ideal. landed awkwardly seconds after the third sub was made which was just unlucky. Powerful strike led to opener. High hopes for the German striker. Two more assists.
Kemar Roofe – 6 – We were struggling by the time Roofe came on, needs to start at Millwall for me.
Gaetano Berardi – 6 – Did very well when he came on, up against Jota who went off and looked like he hadn’t missed much after his first couple of runs.
Stuart Dallas – 7 – Dallas has worked as hard as any player to earn a new deal and I’m so impressed with him this season. Very positive when he came on.