Leeds United 1-0 Brentford: Super sub Nketiah seals hard fought win
 Leeds United's Edward Nketiah celebrates scoring his team's opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brentford at Elland Road on August 21, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Leeds United 1-0 Brentford: Super sub Nketiah seals hard fought win

Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah made an instant impact off the bench by scoring in the 81st minute to condemn Brentford to their second defeat of the season. 

Tom Griffin

Eddie Nketiah’s strike ensured that Leeds United claimed all three points at home for the first time since their 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in April. 

The striker on loan from Arsenal struck nine minutes from time against Brentford to send Leeds back to the summit of the Championship and onto 10 points, whilst a Brentford side struggling to score remain on four points after as many games. 

The defeat, though a tough examination of Thomas Frank’s Brentford side, highlights the goalscoring deficiencies of the Bee’s since the departure of Neal Maupay to Brighton this summer. 

Jansson returns to Elland Road

Former fan favourite Pontus Jansson was the major talking point in the pre-match build up as he returned to Elland Road for the first time since his summer departure to his current club, Brentford. 

Leeds struggle to get out of the blocks, Brentford dangerous on the counter

In terms of the game itself, Brentford were able to combat Leeds pressing game in the opening 20 minutes by playing a compact midfield that prevented Kelvin Phillips on influencing proceedings. 

Under Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds are notorious fast starters and often sink their teeth into the opposition from early on with their high pressing game taking its toll.

However, Leeds were often lapse in the opening exchanges, gifting possession to Brentford far too easily and encouraging them to counter attack.

In the 10th minute they dealt a warning sign to their opponents through Sergi Canos; he picked the ball up from deep, played it to Ollie Watkins before receiving it back with a delightful flick, though his eventual strike was comfortable for Kiko Casilla.

In the 24th minute, the visitors went even closer to opening the scoring; Canos dispossessed Leeds in their own half before feeding Bryan Mbeumo on the right, he shifted the ball out of his feet and struck a sublime effort that cannoned off the post. 

Leeds begin to have a say on proceedings

After it took a while for Leeds to settle into the game, the signs were there that the tide was turning. 

The full backs were instrumental in providing ammunition to the red hot Patrick Bamford. In particular, the returning Ezgjan Alioski who put in a series of teasing deliveries that were attacked, but with no conviction.

Bamford came agonisingly close to opening the scoring on the 29th minute.

Leeds sprang forward with numbers and fed the ball to Alioski on the left, he floated in a cross that Bamford flicked agonisingly wide of the target.

Brentford reduced to limited opportunities as Leeds begin to dominate. 

Whilst the beginning of the first half belonged to Brentford, the home side ensured that they began the second half as they ended the first, pressuring Brentford in their own half. 

Phillips began to control the game in the engine room, he was key to breaking up possession with his tenacity and enabling Leeds to attack with numbers. 

He set the tone of the second half on the 52nd minute when his crunching tackle lead to a half-chance; Adam Forshaw tried his luck from range from the resulting tackle but his shot was comfortable for David Raya

In the 63rd minute, Leeds had a penalty shout; some good work from Jack Harrison put himself in space on the left, he laid it back to Klich who’s resulting left footed strike supposedly struck an arm.  

Leeds' well-timed substitutions 

With the game looking as though it would end goalless, Leeds introduced Nketiah and Helder Costa from the bench in the 75th minute, both were making their league debuts for Leeds. 

In the 79th minute, Nketiah almost made an instant impact; a under hit pass by Mathias Jensen freed Nketiah, he utilised his pace by running at the heart of the Brentford defence, however, his shot on goal had the sting taken out of it by Jansson.

The previous chance served as a warning sign for Brentford as Nketiah finally broke the deadlock on the 81st minute. 

Mateusz Klich burst down the right before freeing Costa, he drove into the area before squaring to Nketiah who was rewarded with an easy tap-in from 4 yards. 

Two takeaways from the match 

Brentford struggle to score without Maupay 

In their first four matches, Brentford have only netted twice and this should be concerning for their manager. 

Despite coming agonisingly close to scoring tonight with Mbeumo, the struggle in front of goal is certainly there and a deficiency that needs to be ironed out for the upcoming games. 

Unlike last season, Leeds have firepower on the bench 

Last season Leeds struggled with a series of injuries that made the midweek - weekend games more gruelling, however, they were lucky enough to unearth youth such as; Jamie Shackleton and Jack Clarke who both took their opportunity to impress, with Clarke earning an 8 million pound move to Tottenham Hotspur

This game in particular, showed that Leeds are no longer reliant on youth, whilst two signings; Costa and Nketiah, both had a helping hand in the match winner. 

With the aim being automatic promotion, this type of quality from the bench will be key in games where an inspirational substitution could be the difference.