Connect with us


Leeds United 0-1 Southampton: Player ratings as Armstrong lands Saints on the moon

Southampton squeaked past Leeds United 1-0 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium today to secure a swift return to the Premier League against the odds.

Leeds got off to a better start, with Wilfried Gnonto putting Alex McCarthy to the test early on, but the veteran didn’t have problems dealing with his feeble attempt from the edge of the box. 

Despite failing to come close to Illan Meslier’s goal in the opening 20 minutes, Southampton drew first blood through their talismanic striker Adam Armstrong. 

Will Smallbone dispatched the Scotland international in space with a delightful through ball. Armstrong showcased his lethal instincts to pick out the bottom far corner with a top-class finish. 

Daniel Farke’s side, faced with an early deficit, pushed the lines forward but couldn’t muster any clear-cut chance before half-time, generating a meagre 0.08 xG in the first half. 

Things could’ve gone from bad to worse for the Whites towards the end of the first half as Armstrong unleashed a low shot from an awkward angle, forcing Meslier into a last-gasp stop. 

An electrifying start to the second half saw Southampton knock on the door first, but Leeds defenders blocked Jack Stephens’ close-range attempt. 

Quick in transition, they almost caught their rivals off guard as Cryscencio Summerville tried his luck from the edge of the box, only to see his effort fly a whisker wide of the far post. 

However, as the midfield war continued to rage, chances remained at a premium for Leeds, while they nearly found themselves 2-0 down shortly after the hour mark.

Samuel Edozie, who replaced David Brooks in the first half, wasted a glorious chance to put the game to bed, steering his shot from point blank well wide. 

Leeds had to wait until the 84th minute for their first presentable scoring chance. 

Second-half substitute Daniel James smashed a thumping half-volley off the crossbar after Joel Piroe chested the ball down for the Welshman. 

In that action, James did more than Cryscencio Summerville and Gnonto combined for the entire game, perhaps summing up the Whites’ disappointing afternoon. 

Referee John Brooks handed Leeds a lifeline with a substantial nine-minute stoppage time. 

However, other than James’ shot from outside the box, which required McCarthy’s relatively routine save, Farke’s men couldn’t create anything meaningful in front of Southampton’s goal. 

Linked with a high-profile move to Manchester United these past few months, Southampton boss Russell Martin punched above his weight to inspire the Saints’ immediate top-flight return. 

His Leeds counterpart, Farke, cut a frustrated character at the final whistle, knowing this could be the end of his stint at Elland Road as we look at our player ratings. 

Player Ratings

Leeds United (4-2-3-1)

Illan Meslier (7/10) – There was nothing he could’ve done to deny Armstrong, but he won the next head-to-head battle with a terrific diving save.

Archie Gray (6/10) – Perhaps the occasion got the better of the teenager. Despite his energetic performance on the flank, he made several erratic passes when Leeds could’ve caught Southampton on the break.

Joe Rodon (7/10) – In addition to a rock-solid defensive display, the Tottenham Hotspur loanee nearly inspired Leeds’ equaliser with a fantastic solo run at the start of the second half. 

Ethan Ampadu (6/10) – The Welshman was nowhere near Armstrong when the Saints vice-captain broke one-on-one with Meslier to put his team in front. Sloppy piece of defending! 

Junior Firpo (7/10) – Defensive-wise, it was plain sailing for the ex-Barcelona man. Yet, his attacking contribution was insufficient. 

Ilia Gruev (7/10) – Heavily involved in the build-up, the Bulgarian was the beating heart of Leeds’ midfield. 

Glen Kamara (6/10) – His offensive limitations came to the fore when Leeds needed a spark in the front third. 

Wilfried Gnonto (6/10) – Too much twisting and turning with an end product frustrated the Italian winger for most of the afternoon. 

Georginio Rutter (6/10) – Like Gnonto, he couldn’t find a final touch. Often surrounded by the opposition defenders, he had a quiet game. 

Cryscencio Summerville (6/10) – Leeds fans must have expected more from their best player, but this wasn’t his day.

Joel Piroe (5/10) – Southampton’s scouting service did due diligence, as the Dutchman had no impact on the game.


Daniel James (7/10)

Connor Roberts (5/10)

Jaidon Anthony (6/10)

Mateo Joseph (5/10) 

Southampton (4-3-3)

Alex McCarthy (7/10) – Although Leeds had the initiative, he didn’t have to make a single save since comfortably thwarting Gnonto’s early attempt, until James’ shot in second-half stoppages.

Kyle Walker-Peters (8/10) – Summerville was probably the best left-winger during the regular season, but the ex-England international made light work of the Dutchman. 

Taylor Harwood-Bellis (8/10) – His parent club, Manchester City, can be proud of his progress as the 22-year-old never put his foot wrong in the biggest game of his career.

Jan Bednarek (8/10) – The 28-year-old delivered a commanding performance, dealing exceptionally well with Piroe on the ground and, more importantly, in the air. 

Jack Stephens (9/10) – There’s nothing more Martin could expect from his captain, who rolled back the years to keep Gnonto at arm’s length before switching to the right, where he did the same to Summerville.

Joe Aribo (7/10) – While his attacking skills were often wasteful, he did his defensive work to a ‘T’, slamming the door shut in front of his backline. 

Flynn Downes (7/10) – His endless work rate was essential to Southampton’s bid to fend off Leeds. 

Will Smallbone (8/10) – The Irishman’s defence-splitting pace teed up Armstrong for the opening goal. 

Ryan Fraser (5/10) – He was more of a spectator, really. With Southampton satisfied with a slender lead, the winger barely got to touch the ball in the final third.

David Brooks (4/10) – After a near-anonymous 35-minute showing, an injury forced him off as he left the pitch in tears.

Adam Armstong (9/10) *MOTM* – Give this man an inch, and he’ll take a mile! One decent chance was all he needed to break the deadlock with a clinical finish.


Samuel Edozie (6/10)

Che Adams (4/10)

Ryan Manning (6/10)

More in Championship