Leeds earned their first win in four games by beating Everton in a thrilling match thanks to Raphinha’s long-range strike.
The Brazilian finally broke the deadlock from 20 yards with a low, fizzing shot after the two sides had carved out numerous chances in a game where managers Marcelo Bielsa and Carlo Ancelotti met for the first time.
The visitors had been left frustrated after hitting the post through Jack Harrison in the first half and drawing fine saves from Jordan Pickford who could do little about the winner.
Leeds will point to their attacking approach – and keeping the league’s top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin in check – as key in the victory and their move up to 11th in the table.
Everton slipped to a fourth defeat in five games, making their unbeaten start to the season seem like a distant memory.
They carved out plenty of chances themselves, but could not beat Illan Meslier, who denied Richarlison, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
The Toffees also showed their defensive frailties once more as Leeds picked them apart, which, but for better finishing, could have made the scoreline even more convincing for the visitors.
This is the first time boss Ancelotti has lost successive home fixtures since 2012 when he was manager at Paris St-Germain.
💬 “The performance of our team was a very satisfactory one.” pic.twitter.com/nHRBBtP5k2
— Leeds United (@LUFC) November 28, 2020
Leeds find their range at last
In a week when former Napoli boss Ancelotti and Argentine Bielsa praised the impact that Diego Maradona had on football, this game was a glowing tribute to the attacking football he played.
Despite being promoted last season, Leeds have already established themselves as one of the most entertaining teams in the Premier League.
In the first half, however, it looked as their profligacy could cost them dear.
They had 13 shots before the break – the most in a Premier League half this season – but failed to find the net through a combination of poor finishing and good stops from Pickford in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
Harrison should have given Leeds the lead after 10 minutes when he missed the target at the back post and he then hit the woodwork late in the half.
On that occasion, Pickford failed to come for a cross, but he had already saved Everton twice to deny Patrick Bamford’s low shot and Raphinha’s looping header.
Aided by the talented Kalvin Phillips, who almost acts like an NFL quarter-back, there were further opportunities for Mateusz Klich.
And, as the visitors tired in the second half, Everton began to threaten on the counter-attack.
But just as the game seemed to be tipping the hosts’ way, Raphinha found his first goal of the season, and Ezjgan Alioski should have made the game safe late on.
The goal was a huge relief for Leeds, who shared a goalless draw with 10-man Arsenal last weekend, but was testament to the faith in Bielsa’s methods which lit up a chilly night on Merseyside.
😅 “We knew it would eventually come” pic.twitter.com/bZVgXLs9qU
— Leeds United (@LUFC) November 28, 2020
Everton frustrated by defensive shortcomings
Ancelotti has bemoaned his side’s defending in recent weeks as they came crashing back down to earth after their unbeaten start to the season with three defeats before last Sunday’s win at Fulham.
However, a switch to a 3-4-3 in that victory still left the Italian’s team open, and that formation was picked off by Leeds’ fast-flowing football.
The hosts’ backline, which featured Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey either side of Michael Keane, showed signs of frailty, and it did not help having midfielders Alex Iwobi and Tom Davies playing as wing-backs with both Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman out injured.
Everton were hindered by Stuart Dallas’ superb shackling of James Rodriguez, yet the Toffees still created chances, which is a feature of their season.
That is reflected in the fact they have failed to keep a clean sheet since the opening game of the season, but Calvert-Lewin has still scored 10 league goals.
They should have led early on when Meslier stopped Doucoure’s close-range effort and as the first half continued like a basketball game, Rodriguez and Richarlison both had goals ruled out for offside.
Such was the openness of the game, defensive midfielder Allan even tried his luck with a mazy run before his shot was saved.
Having had 15 shots with eight on target, Everton could argue that they did enough to earn a point at least.
But when Godfrey failed to adequately block Raphinha’s goal, all the hard work from Ancelotti’s side faded away and it will leave the Italian contemplating if he needs further reinforcements when the transfer window opens in January.
Consecutive top-flight clean sheets for first time since 2003 – the stats
Leeds have picked up their first away league victory against Everton since August 1990 (3-2), having failed to win on any of their previous 13 trips to Goodison Park in league competition prior to this game.
Everton have lost back-to-back matches against Leeds in all competitions for the first time since December 1991.
Leeds have won as many away Premier League games in 2020-21 (three) as they did in the entirety of 2003-04 (their previous top-flight campaign), whilst they have kept consecutive clean sheets in the competition for the first time since January 2003.
The Toffees have lost back-to-back home Premier League games for the first time since September 2019.
Raphinha’s goal was the fourth Everton have conceded from outside the box in the Premier League this season.
In the Premier League this season, only Aston Villa vs Leeds in October (39) has seen more shots than today’s meeting between Everton and Leeds (38), while Raphinha’s winner for Leeds was the 35th attempt of the game.
Everton have a week to prepare for their next Premier League game at Burnley on Saturday, 5 December (12:30 GMT), while Leeds are at Chelsea on the same day (20:00 GMT).