(Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Leeds are back at the top of the Championship. The 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic was a statement that Marcelo Bielsa’s men could potentially be heading back to their best.

There were a number of impressive performances at the DW Stadium. And when fans are asked which players stood out, it seems unlikely that Liam Cooper will be mentioned too often.

Cooper did little wrong, but did give the free-kick away that led to the game’s opening goal. And there seemed to be many others who enjoyed better days at the office.

Nevertheless, Cooper arguably deserves praise for what he did during the game.

The captain we need…

The battle lines between the centre-back and Joe Garner were drawn early. The striker seemed to land an elbow during an aerial challenge and Cooper responded by not holding back in the foul that allowed Reece James to break the deadlock.

 

It appeared that the pair’s duel could have a major say on where the points would go. Garner is a pest and could have easily brought the worst out of Cooper.

The captain came in for criticism over his temperament following red cards against Cardiff and Millwall last year. And some may have feared when the early tussle with Garner started whether he would be able to keep his emotions under control.

He obviously conceded the free-kick, but Garner seriously struggled to get involved from then on and Cooper hardly put a foot wrong from that point.

It was a captain’s performance as those around him stole the spotlight. Cooper probably wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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