The Elland Road rout of Watford, which could have been so much more than a three-goal drubbing, capped a fine week for Daniel Farke and his side. No one was leaving early, not with Leeds in irresistible attacking form, and the full-time celebrations held serious optimism over what the German is building this season.
Here’s the YEP take on the Whites’ second 3-0 win inside seven days.
It was one of those days when almost everything worked for the youngster. The only blot on the copybook was a missed chance from a few yards out, but after that it was all good stuff. His tricks and flicks came off, back heel first touches went to team-mates and he picked up a fantastic assist from his own half. All that was missing was a goal but it felt like an Elland Road arrival. Even Daniel Farke's cautionary full-time chat couldn't wipe the smile from Rutter's face as he milked the adulation.
End product are the two words most often thrown into the discussion surrounding James and at times that has been his struggle. Against Watford he produced. He should have had an assist for a Rutter goal in the first half, curling in a perfect cross. He did get an assist for another excellent cross when Joel Piroe fired home, and added a second with a corner that gave Sam Byram a straight forward headed finish. That's four assists in six games for the winger - three more than he got last season.
Another excellent performance in midfield. He forced Watford backwards, nipped at heels and won the ball in good areas. He read the game well, making three interceptions for the second successive outing and on the ball he produced a season-high tally of seven progressive passes.
The cameos are growing ever more impressive. Having spurned a good chance to score his first for Leeds, Anthony made no mistake when put through on goal again by Rutter. There's a directness and a crispness to Anthony's work on the ball and he showed it again, firing a nice pass out to the right. He's knocking on the door of the starting XI and giving Farke a pleasant headache.
The win, the goals, the clean sheet, the touch that went viral - it was as close to a perfect day as Farke might get at Elland Road and another boost to his growing popularity with the supporters.
Whatever his plan was, it did not work. Watford were so passive and so poor. They neither attacked with any real intensity nor defended with any discernible compactness. They left Elland Road with a deserved beating. Prior to the game Farke spoke about coming up against Ismaël in their playing days and how he was always happy to see the centre-back. This was not a happy occasion for the Frenchman, however, as his touchline body language portrayed from the early stages. The Hornets had a stinker.
The younger is in dire need of a confidence boosting impact in a game and against a fading Watford side late on he will have been visualising it as he warmed up on the touchline. There was not to be a substitute cameo for Gelhardt, however, and he has now accrued just six minutes of action from the last five games. With the rest of the forward line firing and Mateo Joseph battling for minutes after his injury, Gelhardt is in a tough spot right now. Chances will come due to the nature of the division and the toll it takes and he must be ready to take them.
Daniel James and Georginio Rutter giving screaming kids in the West Stand moments to remember and wandering over for photos and autographs shortly after arriving at Elland Road. It was refreshing to see two players giving up so much of their time, pre-game, and it clearly had no negative impact on their mental preparation given what they produced from 3pm onward.
Luke Ayling giving Pascal Struijk a pep talk as the warm-up was coming to a close. The right-back was left out of the starting line-up but you would not have known it from his demeanour before or during the game. He played his usual role as gee upper and despite not being on the pitch in the first half still managed to insert himself into the engagement with the officials as Watford got away with some physicality.
James having a word with his right-sided partner Shackleton prior to kick-off, pointing out an area of the pitch. It was in that area that the duo linked up really well in a promising first half.
Farke losing his temper with the officials as Rajovic's high boot on Cooper went unpunished in terms of a card. It looked a clear yellow card offence.
Chris Domogalla's beautiful one-handed catch as Kamara tossed a water bottle towards the technical area. Get him in the slips at Headingley.
Farke's outrageous touch with a flick of his shoe, taking down a high ball and killing it dead. The stadium rose to applaud him and responded with chants of 'sign him up, sign him up.' He absolutely loved it and failed to hide that fact.
A full-time debrief on the pitch for Rutter from his manager, who also went to speak to Jaidon Anthony. Farke later explained that he was cautioning Rutter against embarrassing opponents with his skill, although added that he didn't feel the Frenchman had gone too far against Watford.
Rutter lapping up the adulation of Elland Road, giving his shirt away before heading for the tunnel.