Whilst Leeds United are growing a new army of admirers, if not quite fans, since their return to the Premiership, a leaky defence has continued to be a (valid?) criticism of the Whites.
Leeds United answered that criticism today with a superb 2-1 victory over Manchester City.
Leeds started with Jack Harrison, on loan from Manchester City and not allowed to play in the meeting between the two clubs.
From the start, Manchester City dominated and played Leeds at their own game, closing down and moving the ball quickly. City have an estimated squad value of £971m and have a wealth of European and International experience throughout the team. Leeds meanwhile are estimated to be worth £163m - with such a gulf, it is no surprise that City can dominate - but Leeds rose to the challenge.
With a full defence to select from, a luxury Bielsa has not had all season, has seen a significant improvement in recent weeks. Llorente has steadied the ship and with Cooper
defying the critics, Leeds have conceded just three goals in the last five games - games which have included Manchester City and Chelsea .
Despite the fist half pressure, Leeds took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Costa received a defence splitting pass, played it square to Bamford who teed up Dallas who fired it in off the bottom of the post.
Leeds had every reason to celebrate.
Bring on the twelfth man for City - Andre Marriner. The referee gave Leeds very little all game but sent of Liam Cooper into stoppage time at the end of the first half. Cooper won a ball he had every right to go for but a knee high follow through on Jesus was deemed dangerous play and Cooper was sent for an early bath (or in Covid times, an early spray down with flash floor cleaner and a wipe down with an old mop from 2m distance!)
It was 50/50 between a yellow and a red - experts disagree on social media - but if that was the standard to be set, then fair enough.
Sadly it wasn't the standard that was adhered to in the second half. Sterling had a couple of similar challenges ignore, the most serious when he went for a lose ball following a Meslier parry, Whilst he had every right to go for the ball, his follow through resulted in a stamp on the Leeds keepers hand - serious foul play perhaps?
The second half, with Leeds down to 10 men saw wave after wave of Manchester City attacks - the pressure was immense but Leeds stood up to it. A team that at times has looked comical in defence this year suddenly looked composed, compact and organised. Meslier was forced into a couple of fine saves but in general, the defence looked solid. Phillips was immense, and Struijk, replacing Bamford following the Cooper sending off, looked fully in control.
The pressure though did lead to a goal. On 76 minutes, Torres struck from 12 yards which almost left Meslier with no chance. Replays showed the Leeds keeper lost his footing just moments before the shot and no doubt, the French keeper would have saved it had this not been the case.
1-1, Leeds down to ten men and City dominating. It didn't look good for the Yorkshire side.
This Leeds United doesn't follow the rules though, and actually started to threaten Man City on the break - and it was on the break, on the stroke of full time that Dallas found himself through, and despite the efforts of three city defenders and a world class keeper, he stroked the ball home to give Leeds a 2-1 lead with just 3 minutes of additional time left.
And Leeds could have made it 3-1 just moments later. Raphinha was played through but was cynical taken out by Fernandinho. No attempt for the ball, player closing down on goal - lets just call that a yellow!
Leeds saw the game out though - and took three points from the Champions elect! A great result and and even better performance, showing that not only can Leeds do it when they have the ball, they can do it when they don't!