IT’S amazing what a summer break can do.
Last season was predominantly a miserable one for Leeds as they desperately struggled to replicate the impressive all-action performances that earned them a top-half finish in 2020/21.
As results tailed away brutally under Marcelo Bielsa, the club were forced to part ways with the Argentine tactician, provoking an emotional reaction from his devoted following.
Jesse Marsch was tasked with preserving the Whites’ top-flight status and he did just that by the skin of his teeth as fans were provided a rare moment of genuine joy on the final day of the season as they leapfrogged Burnley to avoid the drop.
Many feared Leeds would struggle this season after losing Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips (£2m) in the transfer window but they’ve burst out of the blocks to take seven points from their first three games, perhaps signalling a change in the tide at Elland Road.
Cheered on by a partisan home crowd, they overwhelmed Chelsea at Elland Road on Sunday to register a 3-0 victory, arguably their most satisfying result since promotion back to the big time.
The hosts ran over 11 kilometres more than the Blues across the 90 minutes and while running the furthest is far from a guaranteed route to victory, it certainly seemed to be a factor in Yorkshire, in the same way it felt palpable when Brentford worked harder than Man United in west London last weekend.
Brenden Aaronson (£2.3m) seemed to pop up everywhere, as Edouard Mendy (£4.1m) discovered to his dismay when the American picked his pocket on the goal line.
Rodrigo (£2.5m) then continued his fine start to the campaign with an expertly-guided header into the far corner.
The Spain international has scored four goals in his first three outings and is currently the Premier League’s outright top scorer, leading Erling Haaland (£7.5m), Wilfried Zaha (£4.7m) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (£3.8m), who are all level on three goals.
Jack Harrison (£3.5m) completed the rout in the second half with an opportunistic poke for a goal he thoroughly deserved.
And it’s the 25-year-old winger Dream Team bosses should focus on after Sunday’s shock result, assuming Rodrigo had already piqued their interest.
Raphinha’s departure heaped considerable pressure on Harrison to step up and provide the quality in the final third and he’s responded superbly so far with three assists and a goal in his first three games of 2022/23.
Perhaps more importantly, he’s the only outfield player to have claimed two Star Man awards at this early stage.
Leeds’ No11 consequently has 28 points to his name – only Gabriel Jesus (£5.3m, 29 pts) has more among all assets.
Rodrigo and Haaland also have 28 points from three fixtures.
Formerly on Manchester City’s books, Harrison has enjoyed a significant upturn in form since the turn of the year.
Since New Year’s Day, he has scored nine goals and provided three assists in 23 Premier League games – that breaks down further to a goal involvement every 145.8 minutes.
Prior to Game Week 1, Philippe Coutinho (£2.8m), Christian Eriksen (£3m) and Jadon Sancho (£2.8m) were all hugely popular selections with many gaffers seeing them as potentially smart midfield options at £3m.
However, Harrison has undoubtedly proved to be the best asset in his position and price range over the first three Game Weeks.
Leeds still concede plenty of chances at the back but Dream Team bosses should, at the very least, appreciate the potent nature of their attack right now.
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