Leeds United finally returned to winning ways today with a result which could prove crucial in their push towards Premier League safety. They narrowly ran out as 1-0 victors, sinking Southampton deeper into the relegation zone as the Whites climbed out of the bottom three.
It was a defensive display to be proud of, with Javi Gracia clearly instilling a dogged mentality which transferred into an electric Elland Road atmosphere. The fans carried the team through, and it culminated in Junior Firpo’s 77th-minute winner.
Whilst the full-back might earn the bulk of the acclaim, and rightly so, there were a number of other unsung heroes who played an equally important role in the win.
Max Wober is one name which stands out, as he started despite doubts before the game surrounding his fitness. The Austrian centre-back had suffered what seemed like a dislocated shoulder in last week’s defeat against Everton, but ever the warrior, he retained his starting berth today and performed with power and poise in helping Leeds to victory.
How did Max Wober play against Southampton?
Featuring for the full 90 minutes, only the match-winner and Jack Harrison earned higher Sofascore ratings than Wober’s 7.5. It was a hard-fought rating, built around his immense solidity which helped Leeds to maintian their clean sheet.
He boasted two tackles, two interceptions, one block and a mammoth six clearances (via Sofascore), with his defensive contribution likely affording Firpo the freedom to push forward and score the only goal of the game.
This was supported by the fact that the Austrian won five of his eight duels as he undertook his role of “whipping up the Kop” with aplomb, as journalist Graham Smyth described on Twitter.
Wober not only shone at the back, his build-up play also remained as reliable as ever. He boasted an 85% pass accuracy from his 75 touches and also offered one key pass (via Sofascore) in a quietly brilliant performance, and one which was sorely needed for Leeds.
Did Wober impress you today?
The Whites had previously kept just one clean sheet since December, but they have now handed Gracia the perfect foundation from which to build his dynasty at Elland Road.
Whilst the 25-year-old was a Jesse Marsch signing in January, he has already outlined his immediate importance to his new manager.