Eunan O’Kane on the great run of four wins that has taken the club to fifth in the Championship: “There are no prizes for being top two now, we want to be there at the end of February, in time for the run-in.”
Carlos Carvalhal shown the door by Championship club Sheffield Wednesday is appointed manager of Premiership Swansea City. As somebody once famously said “Football’s a funny old game!”
We’ve met before
Birmingham 1 Leeds 3 Championship, March ‘17
Birmingham City 1 Leeds 2 Champ April ‘16
Birmingham 1 Leeds 1 Champ September ‘14
Birmingham City 1 Leeds 0 Champ April ‘14
Last defeat at St Andrews 2013, Birmingham winning 1-0
It’s been a pretty impressive Christmas, results wise for Leeds United, another one that was hard on the eye versus Hull City (1-0) followed by a enterprising away day victory at Burton Albion (2-1). The win put Leeds in fifth place in the Championship.
The win at Burton being the first game Leeds have won when they have conceded the first goal, two goals that both had a bit of quality about them, Pablo’s immaculate free kick, followed by a wonderful through ball by Vieira that put Kemar Roofe clear to beat Bywater with ease.
The goal put the striker into double figures for the season, impressive because a lot of the season he played on the wing. I have to say “told you so!” because I banged my drum enough earlier in the season about it being his best position.
Thomas Christiansen must be happy with the team’s efforts and the rise up the Championship table, like most team’s, a lot of planning goes into gaining wins and the set piece routines that Leeds produce during games may seem strange, but they are growing in effectiveness, game by game.
Thomas Christiansen will still be without Stuart Dallas and Ronaldo Vieira is doubtful after limping off against Burton. Kalvin Phillips is likely to replace Vieira, the rest, if fit should be the same that played on Tuesday. No need to change a winning lineup.
Saturday they face a team languishing at the foot of the table, Norwich City beat them 2-0 at StAndrews and already the vultures are circling around another manager there. They are at the bottom for a reason but shouldn’t be taken as an easy three points, they will battle for every ball and be a danger.
Leeds could go into 2018 in a very good position if they beat the ‘Blues’ and strengthen their place in the top six, I’m probably not the only one thinking they will, but it probably won’t be a ‘walk in the park’. It never is! Leeds 2-1.
Steve Cotterill: “I will make changes, we've got to be a little bit careful if we start players again.Even if they’re playing well, we need to be in regular checks to see how they are. Because you don’t usually tell if someone is tired by how they run forward when there’s an opportunity of scoring a goal. You only find out when they have to run back, that’s where you find out where they are.”
Leeds’ press conference at Thorpe Arch was cancelled due a heavy snowfall overnight. Possible short term loanee?
Cardiff City lose to a last minute goal from Tom Clarke as Preston hand the home side their third defeat in a row.
Birmingham City v Leeds
Team News: Two changes, Kalvin Phillips and Connor Shaughnessy replace Ronaldo Vieira and Eunan O’Kane.
Team: Wiedwald, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Berardi(c), Phillips, Shaughnessy, Cibicki, Hernandez, Alioski, Roofe.
Gaetano Berardi takes the captaincy for the day to celebrate his 100th appearance.
It was one game I saw over the festive period I thought my cause Leeds more than a few difficulties and it did. The 1-0 defeat to bottom of the Championship upset the form book, but remember this is Leeds we are talking about!
Thomas Christiansen raised more eyebrows than my own by selecting Connor Shaughnessy in midfield and keeping a fit Samuel Siaz on the substitutes bench. Kalvin Phillips joined the young Irishman in the midfield anchor roles. Both Eunan O’Kane and Ronaldo Vieira were ruled out through injury.
In a game that had a few shots past the upright, Phillips and Hernandez coming closest for Leeds, for Birmingham Davis and Boga also had efforts that went wide. The best chance of the game for Leeds was set up by Ayling and Siaz, a inviting ball from the Spaniard found Hernandez who’s effort was half saved by Stockdale and it bounced off the crossbar and over.
The winner came with seven minutes left, Jota’s goal-bound shot was pushed out by Wiedwald and Maghoma gratefully accepted the chance, Hernandez so nearly got Leeds a leveller but his shot went agonisingly wide with time nearly up.
Even though the unbeaten run was ended, Leeds still stayed in the top six of the Championship. This was definitely a bad day at the office. Credit to another great turnout and support from the travelling faithful. Incredible throughout 2017.
On the omission of Samuel Siaz and if he considered starting him.”No. I thought about it, but I believed that at this time, with so many games, it was a game to let it mature a little bit so that in the second half he will be fresh and the possibility to make the difference which he did. It was a big change but he came in in a situation where Birmingham were not so fresh and he would have space. From this came the best opportunities.”
On the defeat: “It was from my point of view a horrible game with direct play, challenges and not really big opportunities. There was one very good save from each goalkeeper but that was not our game today. It was a difficult game, we knew what the opponent was going to do with Gallagher up front. He was the target man always trying to make the second ball, we didn’t stay close enough to pick up these balls and when we did we lost it immediately with difficult and dangerous passes. That gave them the possibility to go into transition.”
Steve Cotterill: “When your team lacks in confidence it looks like it can’t play football and it can’t have a fight. This is why I say today how important out crowd were, it was a completely different atmosphere from the game against Norwich to the game today, completely different.Our fans won us the game today because they gave us the confidence to be able to play.”
Andrew Butterwick reflects on a frustrating Saturday afternoon in Birmingham and gives a superb blog on why it's not all ‘doom and gloom’ despite the defeat
A very Happy New Year to you and yours Andrew, let’s hope for more celebrations in the months ahead. Thank you.
The best post match Tweet seen today
5. Leeds United
24. Birmingham City
Cheers to @weareleeds
Mark Warburton sacked as Nottingham Forest manager along with his assistant David Weir. Forest travel to Leeds tomorrow with Academy Manager Gary Brazil in temporary charge of the team.
In a year that the site made over 1.3million views, we’d like to wish everyone a very merry new year.
Leeds v Nottingham Forest
Team News: Two changes, Eunan O’Kane and Samuel Siaz replace Connor Shaughnessy and Pavel Cibicki, both drop to the bench.
Team: Wiedwald, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper(c),Berardi, Phillips, O’Kane, Alioski, Siaz, Hernandez, Roofe.
Two games without a win, the 0-0 draw with Nottingham Forest was disappointing mainly due to the chance created but not taken.
Thomas Christiansen made Two changes to the team that were beaten at St Andrews, Samuel Siaz and Eunan O’Kane replacing Connor Shaughnessy and Pavel Cibicki.
Leeds came at their opponents from the off but the final ball was just not good enough, set pieces were proving a problem for the Forest defence and from one Pontus Jansson sent a header just wide of the far post. Forest had an excellent chance to open the scoring, Brereton stopped by a superb challenge in the penalty area by captain Liam Cooper.
Pontus Jansson met Pablo Hernandez’s corner but unfortunately for Leeds Dowell was on hand to clear the ball off the line, the ball broke to Roofe who tried twice to put the ball into the net, the second an acrobatic scissor-kick that just flew over the bar. Vurnon Anita replaced the injured Luke Ayling just before the break.
Roofe’s first half chance.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga replaced Ezgjan Alioski after the break, Leeds still had the majority of possession but struggled to create a clear cut chance until a delightful run by Samuel Siaz was moved across the Forest penalty box to find the unmarked Kemar Roofe, the striker’s shot struck the crossbar and bounced to safety, for Forest Osborn’s deflected shot was tipped over the bar by Wiedwald.
In Forest’s best part of proceedings, Dowell made Wiedwald work again, forcing a save from the German. Siaz worked his magic again, this time giving Pablo Hernandez a chance inside the box, unfortunately Smith got down to save the effort with his leg. With time almost up, substitute Hadi Sacko put over a cross that Lasogga tried to put across the keeper, unfortunately it lacked power to beat Smith. Injury time brought efforts from Lasogga and Hernandez but the game ended scoreless.
One of those days when it just didn’t work in the final third, key performers: Pontus Jansson, a danger at every set piece and Samuel Siaz, just everywhere. Kemar Roofe had the opportunities but just couldn’t put them into the net.
With Cardiff City losing their forth game in a row it was another chance lost to close the gap on second place, but unless proper investment is forthcoming this January the hope of promotion will disappear as soon as Spring arrives.
Man of the Match: Liam Bridcutt, good display by the ex Leeds midfielder. Liam Cooper for Leeds.
Thomas Christiansen: "Clearly that's two points we've dropped, we didn't deserve to win the game on Saturday (against Birmingham). We didn't deserve to get anything that day, but here we did almost everything to get the victory, it seemed like there was a wall inside their goal at times. We created some big opportunities to score, but on this day unfortunately we've only done enough to get the one point, credit to Nottingham Forest, they have been in a difficult situation recently, but they put in a good performance.
“They took what they came for and that was a point. For us it's not enough of course, but we have to move on to the next game now."
Gary Brazil: “Under the circumstances I couldn't have asked for any more from the players. They showed a real appetite to play for this club and a great attitude overall. I couldn't fault any of them. Jordan Smith made a couple of fantastic saves, but I'm really proud of all the players. This result and performance has given the team a nice foundation to build on.”
Felix Wiedwald has now kept ten Championship clean sheets in 19 @SkybetChamp appearances for Leeds. He has the highest clean sheet per game ratio (0.53) of any goalkeeper in the division (+2 clean sheets)
Heidi Haigh reviews the first game of the New Year at Elland Road.
Thank you Heidi, just a shame the year didn’t start with a win. All the best to you and yours for the New Year.
Leeds look set to confirm the signing of young Finnish defender Aapo Halme as the rumours float around that he’s on the way to the Whites.
The deal is done later in the evening as Leeds confirm he’s signed on a four and a half year deal for an undisclosed fee. The 19-year old is set to feature for the development squad with a quote; “view to stepping up to the senior squad.”
Halme is a highly rated Finnish prospect and could be a steal if given the right chances. A centre back by fraught, Halme stands at an impressive 6’5 but is also good on the floor.
Leeds announce the progressive link between the club and the Aspire Academy.
The futuristic football academy, run by Ivan Bravo also has links with Leeds Spanish sister side Cultural Leonesa. The move is said to increase the clubs development aims whilst also giving support in fields such as sports science.
Comments from both Ivan Bravo and Angus Kinnear can be found here:
We’ve got our man! A fee is agreed for Yosuke Ideguchi, said to be around £500k, with the player set to agree a deal and have his medical early next week.
Leeds loanees Ousim Buoy and Tyler Denton have returned to their parent club having had lain spells cut short. Denton returns due to family reasons and Buoy is said to have been an unimpressive welcome gift to our newly partnered club Cultural Leonesa.
Confusion hits Leeds journalist as Belgian side KAS Eupen confirm the signing of Japanese forward Yuta Tayakawa on loan from Leeds United.
The only problem being that Leeds have not made any deal for the forward, in public anyway and have dismissed the transfer.
Eupen are a club that also fall under the Aspire Academy umbrella and this deal may be one the club wanted to keep under the carpet.
Thomas Christiansen speaks to the YEP ahead of Leeds’ Third Round FA Cup clash at Newport County;
A lot of twists and turns as the FA Cup weekend gets underway and there’s some very surprising results!
Villa are knocked out League One side Peterborough, Notts County knock out Brentford and most surprisingly Coventry take the spoils at home to Stoke City thus ending Mark Hughes’ reign at the club.
Leeds United vs Newport County
Team News: As Leeds look to give a few fringe players a change a formation change seems likely with both Grot and Lassoga starting up top. Nine changes are made from the Forest game; we’ve seen this one before.
Team: Lonergan, Anita, Shaughnessy, Berardi, Borthwick-Jackson, Sacko, Phillips, Klich, Cibicki, Grot, Lasogga.
I’ll spare you the embarrassment of reading about a game so bland that I nearly fell asleep into my Bacon Roll with a Sunday hangover.
Leeds took the lead under a severe amount of pressure from Newport which never seemed to subside.
The lack of real purchase from both Grot and Lasogga forces Leeds to take pop shots and never find any space and therefore never create any worthy chances to double their lead.
Newport were always threatening and were able to take charge of the game and pick up a late winner from a corner that made a 5’9 fella look like a giant.
The day was capped off by a fucking idiotic Samuel Saiz who spat at a player when taking the kick off. Although there was a lot of confusion about the decision; All was made clear later on.
Man of the Match: the only ‘Man’ with a pair of bo****** on that pitch was Gaetano Berardi who finally got his goal. Shame he was surrounded by a bunch of wet blankets.
Thomas Christiansen: Defended his decision to make wholesale changes and advised of the League Cup an over Burnley. Said the players didn’t give enough out their. Said the fault was with him. Didn’t believe that Saiz had spat at Wilmott but said if it’s true then it will be a big issue for him.
Mr Chairman Andrea Radrizanni made it clear on his thoughts of the game, saying that on Twitter.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves;
Yosuke Ideguchi is set to have his medical today having agreed a deal to join Leeds. Although work permit issues may not be the big issue first expected, Leeds will still be loaning the player out while being happy to sign such a talented youngster for the future.
Another linked singing Laurens De Bock has left his clubs winter training camp to join the Whites having already agreed a four and a half year deal.
The 25-year old Belgian left back is rumoured to be worth around £4million and could be a brilliant addition to the club.
The FA confirm that Samu Saiz has been charges with spitting and will face a six game ban.
Having taken the time to discuss an appeal, Leeds decide to accept the charges meaning Saiz will be out of contention until Leeds face Brentford on February 24th.
Saiz speaks to the YEP as he apologises for his actions here;
We hope you enjoyed the collaborative efforts of both Keith and Ryan as the old git went on holiday and left his son with the job of dealing with the later part of the crazy week at Leeds.
By Both of us
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