Leeds United rounded off their pre-season preparations with a 1-0 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday.

Luke Ayling scored the only goal of the friendly contest as the Whites followed up the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Thursday evening with another well-deserved victory.

The margin of defeat flattered the hosts who were second best for most of the contest.

Dan James had a goal chalked off for offside early in the second half as Leeds looked to consolidate their lead.

Below, we look at five takeaways from the match.

Delightfully frustrating

On the whole manager Daniel Farke would have been pleased with the amount of chances his side created, but also frustrated by the wastefulness. Patrick Bamford and Luis Sinisterra were among those to spurn excellent opportunities, which if converted would have a produced a score line reflective of Leeds’ overall dominance.

However, given the context of the tie, Farke will not be overly concerned. Instead, he will take the philosophical view that profligacy is better than scarcity; that it is better to create loads of chances and squander them than to not create at all.

Otherwise the signs are encouraging. We saw enough in this and the previous match to suggest that they are potentially plenty of goals in the Leeds United squad.

Sweating on Rutter injury

The win was somewhat soured by Georginio Rutter’s injury, which ended the forward’s participation midway through the first half. Fans will be waiting anxiously to discover the extent of the injury.

It would be a bitter blow for the club and player alike if the injury proved to be serious enough to cause the club-record signing to miss the start of the season.

It was Rutter’s third start in four pre-season friendlies, suggesting he had played himself into the selection reckoning for the opener against Cardiff City on August 6.

Cardiff City selection clues

We caught a glimpse of the potential starting line-up for the Championship opener against Cardiff City. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the same players who started against Hearts start the Championship opener against the Bluebirds.

Liam Cooper and Luis Sinisterra preserved their records as the only two players to have started all four pre-season friendlies, while six of the players who started against Forest retained their places in the starting line-up. A few places could still be up for grabs, but it looks like the manager is closing in on his first-choice XI.

The timing of the substitutions was also very instructive. It was not until the 65th minute that Farke made his first unforced change. He also avoided making wholesale changes after the break. Clearly, the German wanted to give his ‘provisional’ starting line-up for the Cardiff tie more time to gel as a team in a match situation.

Wind in their sails

Leeds United have gotten progressively better with each pre-season match played. They will be hoping to continue on that trajectory and carry the winning momentum into the new season.

The back-to-back wins and clean sheets  will imbue the players with confidence and belief. They will be champing at the bit to get the season underway.

Roll on August 6.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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