Match Reports

Albion closing in on safety after big win over Leeds

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Gross and Welbeck on target to seal deserved Amex success.

By Bruce Talbot • 01 May 2021

By James Boardman
The relief was palpable at the Amex as Danny Welbeck's strike gave his side a deserved two-goal cushion.
  • Albion 2, Leeds United 0

Albion opened up a ten-point gap above the bottom three by completing their first Premier League double over Leeds United at the Amex.

Pascal Gross opened the scoring from a 13th-minute penalty after Danny Welbeck was fouled and Welbeck, Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay all went close before Welbeck produced a wonderful bit of skill and finish to match 11 minutes from time to make it 2-0.

As well as the goals, Graham Potter will have been delighted with his side's defensive performance against a team who have often been potent in front of goal this season, with the result moving his team up to 14th in the Premier League.

What happened...

Albion made two changes to the team beaten by Sheffield United. A calf problem ruled out Adam Lallana while Jakub Moder dropped to the bench with Dan Burn and Ben White, who was back after suspension, taking their places.

Leo Trossard had two opportunities in the space of a minute early on, and although both shots were dealt with comfortably Illan Meslier they were indicative of a bright start from the hosts.

By James Boardman
Albion's penalty appeals were met with agreement from referee Chris Kavanagh.

They were rewarded in the 13th minute when Ezgjan Alioski brought down Welbeck for an obvious penalty which Gross drove into the bottom corner for his third successful conversion from the spot this season, even though Meslier dived the right way.

Leeds enjoyed some good possession in the first quarter of the match and Albion endured a moment of alarm when Burn attempted to clear Jack Harrison's left-wing cross and the ball cannoned off Joel Veltman before Burn smuggled it away. Moments later Rob Sanchez was called upon for the first time to grab Stuart Dallas' shot.

With Leeds committing plenty of men forward every time they turned over possession Albion’s defenders needed to have their wits about them. The visitors won a series of corners and put some dangerous crosses into the box but Albion held firm and should have doubled their lead in the 40th minute.

By Paul Hazlewood
Leandro Trossard laments his missed opportunity.

Welbeck dispossessed Mateus Klich deep in the box and squared to the unmarked Trossard, but he side-footed over from six yards when a shot on target would have been a goal. A couple of moments later Trossard's pass released Welbeck on the left but he dragged his shot agonisingly wide of the far post.

The hosts created another chance straight after the break when Burn crossed from the line to Veltman who met it first time but skied his effort over the target. Dunk then found Welbeck who tried to lift the ball over Meslier, but the keeper got a decisive touch and Leeds were able to clear the danger.

One goal was a slender advantage although there was a ferocious commitment all over the pitch to stop Leeds building any momentum. Midway through the second half Albion built again and Trossard picked out Maupay, but his scuffed effort from 12 yards was disappointingly wide. Would the home side pay for those missed chances?

By Bennett Dean
Danny Welbeck fires in his fifth goal of the campaign in emphatic style.

Dallas had his head in his hands in the 77th minute when his meaty volley from inside the box didn’t dip in time but two minutes later Welbeck made it 2-0 with a brilliant piece of skill. He controlled a long ball with his right, wrong-footed his marker with a Cruyff turn which created the space for him to drive the ball across Meslier with his left and into the far corner for his fifth of the campaign.

Relief all round at the Amex and surely Albion can now look forward to a fifth successive season in the Premier League, although Potter will have an eye on beating last season's total of 41 points and setting a new top-flight record.

Albion: Sanchez, Veltman, White, Dunk, Webster, Burn, Bissouma (Mac Allister 90+1), Gross, Trossard (Jahanbakhsh 80), Maupay, Welbeck (Moder 89).

Unused subs: Steele, Connolly, Alzate, Izquierdo, Zeqiri, Propper.