-Leeds have kept 10 clean sheets in their last 13 league matches at Elland Road.
-Chris Wood has been directly involved in 29 goals for Leeds this season, higher than any other Championship player (25 goals, 4 assists)
-Hoolahan, Tettey and McGovern to miss out. No Jarvis or Thompson in the squad.
-Norwich today take on their fifth team in the top 6 in the past 6 games. Wins against Reading and Brighton. Losses gains Fulham and Huddersfield.
Against Norwich: DDLWW
At hom to Norwich: WWDLW
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Vieira, O'Kane, Roofe, Hernandez, Dallas, Wood. Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Taylor, Coyle, Phillips, Sacko, Pedraza, Doukara.
Norwich: Ruddy; Pinto, Martin (c), Bennett, Dijks; Dorrans, Howson; Naismith, Pritchard, Jo. Murphy; Oliveira. Subs: Jones (GK), Whittaker, Jerome, Wildschut, Ja. Murphy, Klose, Maddison
Leeds’ playoff hopes were crushed in an entertaining display at Elland Road on Saturday as they were stunned by a very attacking Norwich City.
The home side started the game well and were nearly ahead within the first fifteen minutes as Eunan O’Kane showed what his side had been missing with a delightful chip over the Norwich defenders but the ball was just too much for an outstretched Kemar Roofe.
Leeds’ top goalscorer Chris Wood then had two opportunities to give Leeds the first goal but crosses from both Luke Ayling and Pablo Hernandez from the right hand side were just too high for him to capitalise.
Norwich then entered fifth gear and took control of the game and it wasn’t long before they were ahead as Steven Naismith was given too much room outside of the box and his shot flew past Rob Green.
Nelson Oliviera then added a second for the visitors as Leeds were caught napping and a suspected offside Josh Murphy was sent through and decided to square the ball to Oliviera who had an empty goal to tap the ball in to.
They always say bad luck comes in threes and again Nelson Oliviera was gifted the opportunity to take a shot just inside the area and perfectly curled the ball round both Kyle Bartley and Rob Green.
Leeds were given a saving grace just after kickoff as Stuart Dallas’s perfect cross found Wood who only had to tap the ball into the net just before half time.
The Whites came out for the second half an entirely different team and nearly grabbed a second goal as a perfect ball from O’Kane to Pablo Hernandez sent the Spaniard through on goal but his shot was just wide of the post.
Leeds then dragged their second goal back after a Hernandez corner found Pontus Jansson who’s header bounced around on the line until Kyle Bartley steam rolled the ball past Ruddy.
Head Coach Garry Monk then continued the tradition of bringing on Souleymane Doukara to make an impact and he nearly did as his cross from the left found Chris Wood who instead of taking the opportunity headed the ball down to Roofe, but the forward had no idea about the clever ball and the chance was wasted.
Monk’s next change saw Luke Ayling taken off for Spaniard Alfonso Pedraza who was probably playing his last game in front of the Lufc faithful and was gifted an opportunity to make the game level as the ball dropped to him on the six yard box but instead of volleying the ball he decided to lay the ball of to an unsuspecting Hernandez and the chance again was wasted.
Pablo Hernández then reminded fans why he deserves his spot in the Leeds team with a delightful free kick from just outside of the area which Ruddy had no chance in saving. Leeds were level.
Chances were slim for Leeds as news broke the Fulham could only grasp a draw with Brentford and the final chance fell to an outstretched Kyle Bartley as he slid in to a wayward cross but his poke went wide and Leeds’ next season was confirmed to the Championship.
In no way a bad second half and one of the most spirited performances at Elland Road we have seen in a very long time but unfortunately not close enough for the whites to capitalise. A lack of a third ball and a defence that just doesn’t seem to be communicating anymore were the main cause of Leeds’ frustrations.
Leeds players then continued the tradition of walking around the ground to applaud the fans support. With many players looking like they won’t be appearing for the club next season, it will be a very said time seeing some of them feature for other clubs.
- Garry Monk: Difficult that they have missed out on the playoffs. Reality is that the majority of the group were not ready to challenge for the playoffs. Have worked hard and improved and there’s a lot of young players that are having their first seasons and the foundations they’ve put in place will help them in the future. One game left at Leeds at the moment, respects when Leeds want to discuss the contract. When the time comes they’ll be views on how to take the club forward and it will be a discussion. Happy to stay if his conditions are met and there has to be an agreement.
When asked about if he’d prefer the contract talks be sooner he said yes but it’s not down to him. Said the squad needs to be changed and the recruitment is integral.
- Alan Irvine: First half was great but second was sloppy and unpredictable. Handed the game to them and very angry at the performance. Could have lost the game but didn’t take their reminding chances to kill the team off. First half showed what they are capable of for next season. Atmosphere was incredible and was a great game for the spectators.
By Ryan Ingham