The Warm Down: Rampant Leeds United brush past Crystal Palace
(Photo by Tim Keeton - Pool/Getty Images)

Jack Harrison's early strike and Patrick Bamford's 100th career goal in the second half were enough to see Leeds United past a quiet Crystal Palace yesterday evening.

The win for Leeds saw them move into the top half of the Premier League as they leapfrogged Arsenal and move on to 32 points. 

Marcelo Bielsa's men looked dangerous all night and a solid defensive display meant they kept their seventh clean sheet of the season.

• Quick out the blocks

Just three minutes into yesterday's affair, wideman Harrison opened the scoring with a powerful right-footed drive that deflected off Gary Cahill

From that moment on, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Roy Hodgson's men. Bielsa has an unbelievable record with Leeds when scoring first and not many teams have managed to come away with anything when the Whites have hit the net before their opposition.

The early goal meant that Palace had to come out and attack Leeds more than they would have liked and as a result, it worked massively in Leeds' favour because there was more space for them to attack in. 

On occasions when Leeds have struggled to score this season, the longer a game has gone on, the harder it has become to score.

This is because if the scores are level many teams sit deep and try to defend what they have with every man behind the ball to restrict the number of opportunities Leeds get.

If Leeds struggle to score, it's usually not because of their attacking output. Their commitment to attack in numbers is often admirable but on a few occasions this season, they have been made to pay for being left short at the back. 

Not taking opportunities early on always gives the opposition a chance and Leeds have felt the full effects after teams have nicked a point when invariably, they shouldn't have.

An early goal changes all of that. 

When the opposition are losing, they have to come out and attack with more intent - like Palace had to yesterday. 

This then allows the likes of Harrison, Bamford, Raphinha and Mateusz Klich to really come into the game. 

Although Palace weren't sitting in, they failed to pose any real threat on the Leeds goal. Eagles frontman, Jordan Ayew had one notable shot in the first half but it was comfortably saved by Illan Meslier

The story of the first half was fairly even but Leeds certainly had the better of the chances and although they missed a couple of very clear-cut opportunities, their early goal made all the difference in keeping Palace at arm's length.

• Defensive security 

So far this season, Leeds United's defence has been labelled as leaky. Their 38 goals conceded is the joint third-worst record in the league. 

There have been games this campaign where the Leeds have been penetrated; the Manchester United game saw them ship six and they've had four put past them on three different occasions - including the reverse fixture against Palace. 

What was refreshing about last night was the clean sheet as it was the first one they had managed in 2021. Their last clean sheet before yesterday came right back at the end of December when they emphatically beat West Bromwich Albion 5-0.

Leeds dominated possession like they usually do, but most teams this season have looked dangerous when attacking the Whites' defence, but not last night. 

Big performances from captain Liam Cooper, Pascal Struijk and Luke Ayling meant Palace were largely restricted to shooting from distance and Meslier rarely had to break a sweat when called into action. 

Palace created eight chances yesterday but none of them were deemed 'big' ones. The tricky, Eberechi Eze, had the best chance to put the away side back in the game in the 68th minute but he missed the target from 12 yards out. 

Holding midfielder, Kalvin Phillips, protected the back four in his usual, steady style and whilst it wasn't one of his best performances, he did a great job of keeping Ayew and Eze quiet. 

Cooper won nine duals last night as well as making seven effective recoveries. Similarly, Struijk completed three clearances and four recoveries and Ayling won five duals, made two clearances and five recoveries. 

Their defensive efforts in yesterday's game were more than adequate and they all did an extremely effective job of making sure Meslier had very little to do. 

Keeping a clean sheet always gives Leeds a chance of getting something from the game because they rarely struggle scoring, having fired blanks just three times this season. 

In the second half, Palace looked more dangerous than they did in the first but after weathering a minor storm early on, Bamford put daylight between the two sides just seven minutes into the second half. 

Before the goal, Leeds had to defend well and they made sure they didn't let Hodgson's men find a way back into the game. 

The defence managed to see off any late threats from the Eagles and all in all it was a near on perfect home performance.

• A small mention to Raphinha

Raphinha has certainly got people talking after his recent performances and yesterday he was breathtaking yet again. 

His first thought is always forward and he constantly looks dangerous. He is the one Leeds player who looks to make things happen and his ability in doing so is always top class. 

His footwork, pace and unpredictability yesterday caused Palace's left-back Tyrick Mitchell all sort of problems. Leeds' second goal came as a rebound from one of his shots - which was only allowed because of some textbook movement off the ball.

Whilst he didn't score or assist last night, his impact was still impressive and for just £17 million he is looking a right steal for Leeds. 

They will hope to keep him fit as he looks to be extremely important to Leeds United's success this season and if they manage to keep hold of him for season's to come, he could play a huge part in making Leeds United a European club again. 

Next up for the Whites is a trip to London, where they face Arsenal as they look to banish the burden of losing in the capital on Sunday.