Marcelo Bielsa was left convinced Leeds United dominated Arsenal despite the Gunners leaving Elland Road yesterday with a goalless draw.
Leeds were the better side in the opening 45 minutes and were offered an added boost just six minutes into the second-half as Nicolas Pepe was sent-off.
Pepe headbutted Ezgjan Alioski in an off-the-ball incident, with a swift VAR check resulting in a red card for the 25-year-old.
Naturally, Leeds had the bulk of possession in the final 39 minutes, but they failed to break Arsenal down as Mikel Arteta squeezed the life out of the game.
Rodrigo, Patrick Bamford and Raphinha all struck the woodwork in the closing stages, leaving Leeds with a frustrating point.
A dominant performance, then, but was it two points dropped against a struggling side?
We go through a handful of talking points…
A familiar story
We’ve seen this many times before, right?
Bielsa’s side were battering on the door but failing to find the goal to break a side down that’s camped in-and-around their own penalty area. It was the Championship again, wasn’t it?
We can’t have a pop at Leeds’ goalscoring record in the Premier League. They’ve drawn a blank just once before yesterday and Bamford, in particular, has been clinical.
25 shots on goal, three against the woodwork and a couple forcing Leno into good saves.
It just wasn’t Leeds’ day in-front of goal, which brought back memories of the Championship.
A welcome return
Earlier in the month, LeedsAllOver pointed out that Kalvin Phillips’ return to the side against Arsenal would put things back on track.
The 24-year-old was back yesterday and back to his best.
Phillips ran the midfield and shaped Leeds’ play from a defensive point of view; shielding the defence excellently and covering the bulk of Arsenal’s breaks.
With Phillips in the side, Bielsa will be confident that Leeds’ fragile defensive record – 17 goals conceded so far – can be addressed.
It’s also no coincidence that Liam Cooper’s best performance of the season came when Phillips was back to his best.
This was a welcome return and a show of who Leeds’ key man is.
A sharp Raphinha debut
Raphinha was perhaps the surprise selection on the right of midfield, with the summer signing handed his full debut.
Helder Costa was left on the bench with Ian Poveda, with Raphinha offered a vital 90 minutes.
There were some erratic moments from the 23-year-old, not least a wayward early shot, and a few passes went astray from the winger.
However, there was also a heap of things to be encouraged by. Raphinha had Leno scrambling with a whipped first-half shot, whilst he beat the Arsenal goalkeeper late on but was denied by the post.
When it clicks in every department, Raphinha is going to be some threat.
Rodrigo has to start
Bielsa held Rodrigo back after his period of isolation, leaving him on the bench until the 70th minute.
The Spanish international injected more into Leeds’ attacking play in that 20-minute period up until full-time. He rattled the crossbar with a curling strike and picked up clever positions between Arsenal’s lines to unsettle the Gunners.
Stuart Dallas put in a massive shift in the midfield before Rodrigo’s introduction, with Bielsa opting for a workman-like performer rather than the flair of the 29-year-old. However, there has got to be a return to the starting line-up for Rodrigo at Everton.
In the Premier League you’ve got to be brave to pick up three points and Bielsa needs to put his trust in Rodrigo, Mateusz Klich and Phillips to run the midfield.
Mateusz Klich masterclass
That leads us nicely into this point.
Klich was exceptional yesterday and pulled the strings for Leeds in the midfield with some slick passing.
Like always, he pressed the opposition into mistakes, whilst picking up those clever positions that make him such a threat in the penalty area.
The only criticism you can have of the Polish international is that his shooting was off-target and he was guilty of passing up good chances.
One of those days for Leeds and, particularly, Klich in-front of goal. On another day, he’s got a brace and Bielsa has three points.