Newcastle extended their lead to five points at the top of the Championship table and they are on course to break Reading’s record total of points, but Rafa Benitez won’t want his players to get ahead of themselves. It was another convincing performance away from home and although Leeds threatened at times, Newcastle always looked the most likely winners. The three points came as a result of two goals from Dwight Gayle. Here are three things that we learned from the match at Elland Road:
Newcastle are already champions-elect
They are now five points clear of Brighton at the top of the Championship and it isn’t too soon to say that Newcastle are likely to win the division. The bookies have them as big odds on favourites and it is easy to see why. They have won their last eight league matches and have only conceded three goals in their last seven. The squad depth is one of the reasons for their sustained success and their bench on Sunday showed the riches that Benitez has at his disposal. The likes of Mo Diame, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Christian Atsu weren’t even included in the starting eleven, despite recent good form.
Leeds did put them under pressure at times, but Newcastle showed that they could dig in deep to secure a positive result. That has been a common theme of their wins on the road this season and Benitez will be happy by how his squad have added game-management skills to their game. Their ability to manage the game is impressive, but it is the quality that they possess that makes me believe they will win this league. Leeds struggled to take the chances that came their way, while Newcastle didn’t. That is going to be the difference in a lot of matches featuring Newcastle this season.