Stuart Dallas scored a screamer as Leeds United secured a vital 3-1 victory over struggling Burnley on Sunday.

Leeds United started 2022 in the best possible manner, securing a 3-1 win over Burnley on Sunday. The vital three points helped them move eight points clear of the drop zone, at least for the time being, while Burnley remain in the bottom three, only a point ahead of Norwich City.

It was a typical chaotic game for Leeds United, who created far more goalscoring opportunities, especially in the second half. But on some level, they had problems controlling the game, leading to the occasional chances for the Burnley attackers, including former Leeds frontman Chris Wood.

However, the Whites found their breakthrough in the 39th minute through Jack Harrison. They might have scored at least three more before the referee blew the first-half whistle, but that wasn’t to be, thanks to some shoddy finishing from Tyler Roberts.

In the second half, Burnley looked more in control of the game and capitalised from their chances well, taking advantage of Leeds’ inability to control the game. They equalised in the 54th minute, thanks to a majestic free-kick from Maxwel Cornet. However, Leeds deserve credit for fighting on for a potential winner by piling on the pressure on the Burnley defence.

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They were rewarded in the 77th minute when Stuart Dallas’ long-range effort found the back of the net. It was shortly followed by Daniel James’ goal during injury time, thus securing all three points for the home side. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will rank the Leeds United players in their crucial win over the Clarets this weekend.

Illan Meslier: 6/10

Illan Meslier was completely beaten by the flight of the fall during Cornet’s free-kick in the second half. Usually a brilliant ‘keeper, the youngster may have done a better job in between the sticks, especially with the free-kick. He will be disappointed to have missed out on a clean sheet.

Luke Ayling: 7/10

Luke Ayling operated in the right-back position, which was a welcome sight for the Leeds United fans. He offered security in possession while making the occasional runs forward to help his team out during the build-up play. Defensively, he was solid in dealing with the threat of Dwight McNeil.

Robin Koch: 6.5/10

Robin Koch’s imposing figure at the back was crucial in helping Leeds United deal with the threat of Chris Wood. The German wasn’t faultless in the Leeds backline, but his ability to read the game was often an asset for his team. The former Freiburg starlet can only improve from now on, after putting a long injury layoff behind him.

Diego Llorente: 6.5/10

Diego Llorente was unfortunate to have been penalised for the booking that led to Cornet’s free-kick goal. The defender was fouled by the Ivorian before he fouled the attacker. An unlucky yellow card means the centre-back is set to miss Leeds United’s next game – a massive blow for Bielsa.

Stuart Dallas: 8.5/10

Stuart Dallas was the undisputed Man of the Match for Leeds United in this crucial win over Burnley. He made life difficult for the opposition defences with his marauding runs on the far side, coupled with his ability to combine well with attackers in the final third. He was a driving force behind most of Leeds’ attacking moments, with the defender notably capping off his 250th appearance for the club by scoring a stunning winner late in the game.

Mateusz Klich: 6/10

Mateusz Klich wasn’t particularly awful in the middle of the park. He offered the aggression and work ethic, but his inability to hold on to possession and slow the game down meant Burnley always had the opportunity to attack the Whites on the counter. Bielsa should certainly find a more competent alternative for the Polish international in this January transfer window.

Adam Forshaw: 7/10

Adam Forshaw partnered Klich well in the double-pivot. He was a bit more composed in possession, trying to keep the game flowing and avoiding making any errors. Forshaw is exactly what Leeds United require in the absence of star man Kalvin Phillips.

Junior Firpo: 7.5/10

Junior Firpo made a solid impression with his contributions on the far side against Burnley. He moved forward at every opportunity, which was crucial in helping his team remain on top of the proceedings. Firpo has the potential to become a major asset for Leeds if he can improve his end product in the final third.

Raphinha: 6/10

Raphinha was a lively figure in the Leeds United attack as usual. However, he lacked the incision going forward and most notably missed the biggest chance of the game, when he failed to find the target despite staring at an open goal. Not the best of performances from the Brazilian international, who will hope to get back into scoring form in the next game against West Ham.

Tyler Roberts: 4/10

Tyler Roberts offered a lot of work ethic in the final third, as one would expect from an attacker playing under the leadership of Marcelo Bielsa. But the Welshman missed at least four goalscoring opportunities, and the outcome may have turned badly for his team had it not been for Burnley’s lack of attacking ethos. He will miss the next game due to suspension and perhaps a few more due to an injury he sustained in the second half.

Jack Harrison: 8/10

Jack Harrison produced an excellent display in the final third. He was involved in most of Leeds’ attacking game, using his thrust and direct style of play to make life difficult for the opposition defenders. He notably scored the all-important opener for his team, while his attacking involvement was crucial in helping his team keep up the pressure on the Clarets.

Substitutes

Joe Gelhardt: 7.5/10

Joe Gelhardt had an undeniable impact on the proceedings after coming on for Roberts in the 58th minute. He offered a certain thrust to Leeds’ attacking game, making life difficult for the likes of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee. Deserved a goal at the end, but more importantly, more starts in the future.

Daniel James: 7.5/10

Daniel James was a useful substitute for Leeds United, as his pace made the Whites much more dangerous on the counter. The former Man United starlet worked hard, creating a few chances before netting one for himself in the injury-time.

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