Leeds United kept up the pressure on both Ipswich Town and Southampton with a convincing 3-0 win away to Cardiff City this afternoon, with Daniel Farke’s men powering to a third successive win in all competitions – having scored three goals without reply in each of those triumphs.
Defeats to both Preston North End and West Bromwich Albion had somewhat stopped the Whites in their tracks, yet the promotion hopefuls have recovered emphatically after seeing off Birmingham City, Peterborough and now the Bluebirds, with the returning Patrick Bamford notably finding the net in each of those victories.
Seemingly looking back to his best following what has been an underwhelming last couple of years for the Englishman, Bamford spearheaded an attack that simply ran riot at the Cardiff City Stadium, in what The Athletic’s Phil Hay described as a “demolition job” by the visitors.
The scoreline could have been even more emphatic had Crysencio Summerville not struck the woodwork late on, although Farke will be more than content following a routine win in which a host of his stars came to the party.
Leeds’ star performers vs Cardiff
As mentioned above, it was another fine outing for that man Bamford as he struck the early blow to give the away side control, albeit while not finishing quite as spectacularly as he did against Posh in the FA Cup last week.
Even so, the experienced marksman now has four goal involvements from just his last three outings, with summer signing Joel Piroe – who started on the bench earlier today – no doubt fearing for his place in the starting lineup.
With Bamford taking command as the focal point in attack, it gave another opportunity for Georginio Rutter to sparkle in that number ten berth, with the young Frenchman – who won ten duels and provided two key passes – capping his fine afternoon after producing a composed finish late on.
There was also an “imperious” showing from Glen Kamara in the centre of the park – as per journalist Adam Pope – while the aforementioned Summerville also sparkled once again despite his penalty miss, notably laying on the assist for Rutter’s 88th-minute strike.
It was Daniel James on the other flank who particularly sparkled, however, with Pope writing on Twitter that the Wales international “going forward and defending was superb“, having been integral to all that was good about Leeds’ dominant showing.
Daniel James’ game in numbers vs Cardiff
On the face of it, it may not appear that the former Manchester United man was too heavily involved in proceedings, having actually made just 39 touches in total, prior to being withdrawn at the death – with even Illan Meslier (48) earning more touches of the ball in the sticks.
That being said, James certainly made his presence felt when he was in possession, notably playing his part in the breakaway final goal after surging into the Cardiff half before unselfishly squaring the ball to Summerville at the back post.
The wing wizard had earlier also been in the right place at the right time to poke home into an empty net on the half-hour mark, taking his season tally to nine goals and five assists in 25 Championship games – already the most productive campaign of his career to date.
So often maligned for his wasteful nature in the final third – having been described as “headless” in the past by pundit Darren Bent – the diminutive speedster is, to his credit, proving the doubters wrong, having also registered two key passes in the Welsh capital.
Although the one-time Swansea City man did lose possession on ten occasions, he also came close to adding a second for himself after seeing an effort strike the crossbar, having been deserving of his 7/10 match rating, as per LeedsLive’s Beren Cross.
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While such an outing may have come against a frankly dismal opposition, that display will now be the benchmark for both James and his teammates, heading into an undoubtedly crucial next few months for the West Yorkshire side.