Ascending to the second position in the Championship, Leeds United maintained their impressive 2024 form by securing a victory against Bristol City.
Early in the second half, Wilfried Gnonto, making his first league start since December 29, scored his sole goal of the season from just inside the box to break the scoreless draw.
Max O’Leary, the goalkeeper for Bristol City, made many crucial stops in the first half to keep his team in the match, one of which was stopping Georginio Rutter from a short distance.
Shortly after Gnonto’s goal, Glen Kamara had a chance to double Leeds’ lead but his effort squirted wide.
While Daniel Farke’s team has won five straight games, struggling Bristol City has lost six straight league games. In contrast, Leeds keeper Illan Meslier had little to do all evening.
The last time Leeds won five straight league games was in July 2020—the same season they were promoted to the Premier League.
For the first time this season, their victory at Ashton Gate puts them ahead of Southampton and Ipswich, who both play on Saturday, and pushes them up from fourth into the automatic promotion spots.
In comparison, Bristol City’s last league victory occurred on Boxing Day, and they are currently rooted in a mid-table position after being thoroughly outclassed by a rampant Leeds team, who will undoubtedly be perplexed as to why they were not able to secure a larger victory margin.
Although Cameron Pring’s header to Nahki Wells gave the home team hope early on, the striker’s clumsy first touch cost him the ball and he dragged his shot wide.
However, the 11th-minute opportunity proved to be the best the Robins would get in the first half as they were unable to recover control and kept giving the ball away, which allowed Leeds to attack at free.
The outstanding Crysencio Summerville raced through midfield and picked pocketing George Tanner, a position from which he should have scored. The Dutchman attempted a chip, but O’Leary was off his line, and the keeper leaped high to palm the effort clear.
Summerville missed another attempt, then Rutter sprinted into the box when Rob Dickie’s pass was intercepted, only for O’Leary to punch it over the bar.
The greatest chance of the half came when Patrick Bamford blasted the ball past Zak Vyner and squared to Rutter, but the Robins keeper again responded quickly, diving low to keep the scoreless game going.
Two minutes into the second half, Bristol City’s luck ran out against Leeds, who they had only beaten once in their previous 17 meetings.
Gnonto got space to run into on the edge of the box and fired a shot into the corner, sending O’Leary flying the wrong way. Junior Firpo and Bamford collaborated to find Gnonto.
A few minutes later, Leeds could have taken the lead 2-0 as they surged forward in a three-on-two, but Kamara’s strike almost missed the post with the tiniest of touches.
Anis Mehmeti pounced on a loose ball in the box, and Leeds goalie Meslier sprinted back to keep it out, making his first and only meaningful stop of the game. The hosts came dangerously close to drawing even.
Summerville, who deserved to be on the scoresheet, missed a late attempt to go across the goal, but it made no difference because they had already secured three points.
Bristol City manager Liam Manning told BBC Radio Bristol:
“I think they’re the best side we’ve played since I came here.
“The disappointment, the frustration probably comes from our performance levels. Despite not getting the results recently we’ve come away from games knowing that we’ve been in the game, we’ve been the stronger side – whereas tonight you can’t say that.
“The level we’re capable of and what we’ve shown recently, that was not it.
“When you make little errors that lead to big counter-attacks or when you’ve got the speed and direction they’ve got and they counter quickly you get big momentum shifts.
“All of a sudden you build anxiety, you build nerves and you panic a little bit, then the basics dropped to a level that you can’t be against a side like these.”
Leeds manager Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Leeds:
“I think it was nearly the perfect away performance.
“We perhaps took 10, 15 minutes to come into this game but there was so many things I liked today – all the pressing, counter-pressing, our possession, our transition moments, the fighting spirit.
“I think we were so dominant, created out of more or less each and possible situation, transition moments, set-pieces, possession, through the centre of the wings, so many chances.
“The only thing I have to criticise is our efficiency in front of the goal. It’s an ongoing topic. It annoys me today a little bit because if we want to celebrate and have something to cheer about next May, we need to learn to score the goals and put the chances away, we need to show more responsibility in front of the goal.
“Even today there was a situation out of nothing they had one big chance and if Illan Meslier was not there with a top-class save you would sit in the dressing room and speak about 1-1 and you would not understand how you travel away with only one point.”.