Kalvin Phillips returned to the Leeds United lineup against Arsenal on Sunday evening and put in a characteristically dominant display after three games out.
The Whites have been longing for the return of Kalvin Phillips to the starting lineup ever since the early substitution of Pascal Struijk against Aston Villa three games ago, and it was that time yesterday evening.
The international break gave Phillips ample time to recover from his injury and he started against the Gunners, instantly demonstrating what we had missed in his absence.
Throughout the game, not only Phillips, but every Leeds player was first to the loose balls and it allowed us to control the game from start to finish, desperately unlucky not to score at least once.
Getting caught out in transitions has been our undoing over the last two games but there was no sign of Leeds crumbling with Phillips back in the team and his presence was enough to limit Arsenal to precious little in the final third.
The stats outline a tremendous return to the lineup for the Yorkshire Pirlo:
Phillips’ performance both in and out of possession was exactly what we’ve come to expect from him each week, and fans were keen to point out just how important he was to such a controlled display, in spite of Leeds not winning…
I don’t quite subscribe to the idea that he was average in that game, because he barely broke stride in the game doesn’t mean he wasn’t top drawer.
His efforts in holding midfield weren’t of a player returning from five weeks on the sidelines.
Phillips is clearly vital to our system and that performance shows why he’s in the England squad this season.
Arsenal couldn’t really get near him apart from Dani Ceballos’ one-man pressing mission, but even then the Spaniard had to drop back when he tired.
He played this well at the Emirates last season and he’s showing week in, week out that he is better than just being a Premier League player.