Euro 2020 Special

Premier League: Leeds Sink Saints to Seal Top-Half Spot

Southampton 0-2 Leeds United

Leeds United are guaranteed to finish their first season back in the Premier League in the top half of the table thanks to a 2-0 win against Southampton at St Mary’s.

Saints put up a spirited first-half display in front of their fans, who finally returned to the stands for their home finale. But they lacked the cutting edge up front, which cost them dearly.

Leeds eventually recovered in the second half and scored through Patrick Bamford and Tyler Roberts as they continue their brilliant winning run to end a remarkably successful first season back in the English top flight.

Highlights of the game

Marcelo Bielsa handed Kiko Casilla just his second Premier League start of the season, and the Spanish goalkeeper was quickly called into action just two minutes into the match as he tipped a Che Adams header over the bar.

Saints continued their quick start with another threatening chance just three minutes later through Nathan Tella, which Casilla also did well to save. Although, Tella was offside anyway so the goal would not have counted had he scored.

Danny Ings is upset as Southampton failed to win at home when they faced Leeds United in recent Premier League game
Southampton’s Danny Ings looks dejected after losing to Leeds United during their last home game this Premier League season

The hosts continued to pile on the pressure throughout the first half as Leeds struggled to get going offensively. The Whites’ best chance of the half came on 24 minutes as Raphinha set up Stuart Dallas for a shot in the box, but the Northern Ireland international — the team’s second-leading scorer with eight goals — disappointingly pulled his left-footed strike wide.

Adams and Tella each had chances to put Saints ahead before the break, but Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side was unable to capitalise on their dominance as they entered half-time goalless.

James Ward-Prowse almost began the second half with a bang with another one of his masterful set pieces, but the Saints skipper’s free-kick strike hit the post. And on the other end, Dallas unleashed a vicious volley which Saints keeper Alex McCarthy somehow tipped away.

Bamford probably should have given the visitors the lead just before the hour mark as he got in behind the Saints defence with only McCarthy to beat. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite round the keeper and missed his chance to shoot.

Leeds suddenly looked the more likely side to break the deadlock, and they very nearly did on 68 minutes. Raphinha’s dangerous cross was cleared and fell to Ezgjan Alioski, who shot the ball straight at McCarthy.

But after some extended pressure, Leeds finally did take the lead on 73 minutes through Bamford. After a beautifully lofted through ball by Rodrigo, Bamford got to the ball ahead of McCarthy and deftly poked it between the Saints keeper’s legs and into the net.

Leeds once again had the ball in the back of the net on 85 minutes through Raphinha, but the goal was ruled out after Bamford had strayed offside in the buildup.

Saints pushed hard for an equaliser, but they did not come particularly close. And in their search for a goal, they were caught out on the break as Tyler Roberts slotted home the rebound after Bamford’s initial shot was saved by McCarthy.

Key statistics

Southampton took the game to Leeds early on and outshot the visitors 18-15 overall. However, Saints’ shooting accuracy let them down as they only had three shots on target compared to Leeds’ seven, all of which came in the second half.

As for Leeds, Bamford is now up to 16 goals on the season, which is tied for fifth in the league. Of those 16 goals, 10 have been away from home.

Record signing Rodrigo is also producing Premier League 2021 highlights to end the season. The Spanish international has now had a hand in four goals (three goals and an assist) in four games since returning from injury.

What’s next?

Leeds will conclude their successful Premier League season on Sunday at home against West Brom. The Premier League 2021 betting odds at SBOTOP should have the Whites installed as significant favourites to beat the Baggies, who have already been relegated.

The Whites will be gunning to win four straight Premier League games for the first time all season, and they could do it in front of their returning fans at Elland Road.

As for Saints, they finish up their season against seventh-placed West Ham, who will first face off against West Brom this midweek.