Leeds unchanged. Berardi in for Stujic on the bench but no room for ‘Big Kev’ but ‘Little Ian’ was.
Wigan four changes, including a Championship debut for ex Leeds left back Tom Pearce.
Once again Leeds’ pursuit of Premiership football hit a Championship ‘pothole’ as lowly Wigan once again came to Elland Road and put the three points in their kit bag.
Leeds started the game with gusto, movement between the midfield and the attacking three pretty impressive but as I’ve mentioned too many times this season the final ball was to be honest poor and good positions were ‘mopped’ up by a very determined Wigan back line.
We did create though a few chances that, watching it back made me wonder why at least one didn’t go past Marshall in the Wigan goal.
Firstly Jack Harrison weaved his way into the penalty area before hitting a shot that came back off a post and went to safety then just after the 30 minute mark the same player, with the goal at his mercy three yards out got his legs in a tangle and tried to back-flick an effort into the net, it looked a mess from the press box it looked worse on TV! Even some betting companies had put 1-0 Leeds when that chance was there to be buried.
Other players missed chances, Alioski high and not handsome from a Hernandez corner, Bamford, a hero on Tuesday was back to his frustrating worst when provided with a chance in the penalty area and that dear readers was the sum of the efforts in the first 30 minutes. The most noticeable thing was that ten of the outfield wore the same colour boots, only Stuart Dallas bucked the trend and opted for luminous green boots.
Wigan had only one real effort that didn’t bother Casilla, Williams tried to trick the keeper with a free kick that went into the side netting. Only other Leeds attack that warrants a mention is Mateusz Klich’s shot from the edge of the Wigan area that was blocked. Goalless at the break.
Leeds had an early opportunity in the second half but instead of heading the ball across goal Bamford headed it straight past the post when Hernandez found him. The Spaniard himself had an effort that sailed into the Kop.
The one thing that continues to bite Leeds on the a#%e is that they create good chances but fail to score and recently(it’s back in December since Leeds kept a clean sheet!)other teams have profited from this. Wigan were gifted what proved to be the winning goal just before the hour mark, Williams corner went over everybody’s head, hit Pablo and went in. Bollocks! The positioning of the defenders and ‘Calamity’ Casilla was less than impressive, we just can’t deal with balls into the box
The crowd tried their best to raise the noise levels to encourage their team but even the introduction of Tyler Roberts, back from injury couldn’t pride open Wigan’s rearguard.
Bamford once again fluffed his lines in front of goal when an opportunity arose and the one chance that looked to be heading into the net was stopped by a Wigan defender who headed it off the line.
The defeat still leaves Leeds three points ahead of third placed Fulham, but the next two games are against two teams that are breathing down our necks. Forest and Brentford away are very tough games and Bristol City follow these two.
I’m fully appreciate what Marcelo Bielsa has done in his 18 months or so at the club but he is not without criticism. Why leave ‘Big Kev’ Augustin out of the 18 when the lad is fit and why oh why does he continue to back Kiko Casilla so much when the defence is so porous? We can’t change the centre backs because we’ve only three to pick from but we’ve a keeper(Meslier)that has shown previously he’s potentially got the abilities needed. It could also help, experience wise if Casilla is banned in the near future.
These questions need answering pretty quick or by the time I return from my winter break Leeds could well be out of the top two and, god forbid it back in the playoff positions or even worse!
Man of the Match: Jack Harrison, despite his first half miss was a danger throughout.
By Keith Ingham