A rousing win over properly respectable opposition was the one thing missing from Leeds’ immensely enjoyable and exciting return to the Premier League. This win at Leicester rights the wrong (probably no longer) title-chasing.
In general, Leeds’ games against the elite were very good and very entertaining, but with the naive neutral-pleasing entertainers cast as Leeds. They’ve offered a very good game to a lot of good teams, they’ve spangled very often, but they’ve never gotten over the line for a win until now.
There are a few reasons why this particular triumph is even more incredible. Leicester wasn’t evil, for one thing. Not by any possible means. Given the lack of Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi, they were short of their best, inevitably, but they played perfectly well. Particularly in the first half of the second half, when, after replacing Mark Albrighton with Caster Soyuncu, they seemed to be exerting control to provide some required added protection. Leeds found it all too simple to make their way through a Ndidi-and-Praet-less midfield in a highly entertaining first half and build the kind of “basketball match” that Brendan Rodgers had spoken about avoiding.
That takes us to the second argument about how great Leeds is. At the exact moment when the Foxes seemed to be taking charge, they converted one point into three. Then Patrick Bamford was first set up to lash home by the superb Raphinha and put Leeds in front before teeing up Jack Harrison unselfishly to make it secure as Leicester flung men forward. The courage and selflessness of Bamford were admirable; however clear the decision looked, we all saw the sort of role being butchered.
A 3-1 victory in their previous seven games against a team unbeaten and looking to go second in the league. That going to do.
Leeds also accomplished what 10 teams were unable to do before this season: take even one point, never mind all three, off Leicester after falling behind.