Dave Watkins on another ‘nervy’ 1-0 win for Leeds. Keep on with the malt whiskey after games.
Thank you David. 11 more finals to go, just wondering if my heart can take it!
Mateusz Klich is scoring goals, Luke Ayling is helping keep clean sheets. The pair discuss both after the Middlesborough game.
Mateusz Klich: “I’m very happy to score but I’m happier with the three points, It was a very intense game, you could see Middlesbrough wanted to win as they needed the points.
“Klich is scoring goals!” Three against Boro this season.
“We could see the Leeds fans in the stadium enjoyed the game. We know if we keep clean sheets, it’s going to be fine as in every game we get chances. Obviously everyone knows what we’re playing for, we have to take experience from last season and no one wants to repeat that.
“We can feel the pressure but everyone is mentally stronger this season.”
Luke Ayling on clean sheets, the upturn in form and Hull City: “It’s a very good result and it’s always nice to get another clean sheet, we know we had chances to make it more than one-nil and we restricted them to one shot on target.
“It’s getting to that part in the season where every team is scrapping for something, down at the bottom of the table and at the top, so there are going to be no easy games. We can’t look at other team’s results, though, we have to just focus on ourselves and keep grinding out results.
“The boys in the dressing room knew we had the quality to turn the form around and get out of that rut. We’re going to be doing everything to make sure we’re ready for Saturday’s game now.
“Hull City are scrapping for their lives so I’m sure it will be a good derby game.”
Hull City manager Grant McCann is “fearful of a hammering” on Saturday: “We’ve got a very, very tough game on Saturday. One of the best teams in the league are coming here. If we perform like we did(against Barnsley)then we’ll get hammered. That’s exactly what I’ve told the group.
“We need to roll our sleeves up now, do it for themselves, do it for their families, do it for this football club. They need to start taking responsibility and that’s everyone. Confidence is a big thing in football and at the minute we’ve got a low group.
“We have to pick them up and go again. In tough times you’ve got to stick together and stay strong. The belief has got to run through the group."
Liverpool lose only their second game of the season when they lose 1-0 at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Erling Haaland scores again for Dortmund as they beat PSG 2-1. The 19 year old has scored 11 goals in 7 games since signing for the German club.
Kiko Casilla’s ‘trial’ begins, he has a number of players including ex loanee Eddie Nketiah who will speak in his defence. A decision is expected before Saturday’s game with Reading.
Liam Cooper in a defiant mood, as the Leeds skipper puts a few wrongs ... RIGHT! No tiredness, just ambition to get promoted.
Leeds United shutting out the noise as Liam Cooper rubbishes 'tiredness' claims | Yorkshire Evening Post
Thanks to the YEP.
Marcelo Bielsa ... pre Reading.
On who plays in goal on Saturday: "It’s a situation we have to resolve," said Bielsa, asked how Casilla's hearing had affected preparations this week.
“It’s correct we adapt ourselves the way they decide to resolve this situation. Meslier is the option if Kiko doesn’t play. In this situation or in others.”
Bielsa also said he has the same outfield squad as last Saturday(versus Bristol City)to pick from.
Leeds United under 23’s draw 1-1 with Wolves. Bobby Kamwa with United’s goal.
Fulham close the gap on second placed Leeds to two points after a 1-1 draw with Derby County at Pride Park.
Leeds vs Reading
Team News: Leeds starting X1 unchanged; Casey on the bench in place of Berardi. Reading make two changes; Pele returns to centre back and Olise was a late replacement for Ejaria, injured in the warm up.
Team: Casilla, Ayling, White, Cooper(c), Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Hernandez, Costa, Harrison, Bamford.
My review of the game.
Leeds L W L L D W
Reading L D D D L W
Reading two changes; Pele and Olise come in.
Leeds attacked the Kop in the first half and Helder Costa had their first opportunity after three minutes, but he was wide with his effort. Reading then had a ten minute ‘purple patch’ in which they forced Kiko Casilla into his first meaningful save after 24 minutes.
Leeds were forced to reorganise their team after 37 minutes because after earlier going down after a challenge in midfield Kalvin Phillips was substituted by Ejanni Alioski. Stuart Dallas went to right back, Ben White moved into midfield and substitute Alioski went to left back.
In the last five minutes of the half Harrison got behind the Reading defence to set up Helder Costa, who shot towards goal but his effort struck a defender and went over the bar. Soon after last week’s hero Luke Ayling nearly did it again but his shot just went past the post and right on half time Ejanni Alioski was denied by Rafael. Scoreless at the break.
Leeds once again were right at their visitors from the restart, Mateusz Klich playing his 82nd consecutive game was just wide with an effort from just outside of the box. Bamford swivelled in the area to shot but his shot lacked power and conviction.
United though would not be denied, Pablo Hernandez ran towards goal and with a swivel went passed a defender and shot towards goal. His first effort came back off a defender and fell back at the feet of the Spaniard, he side-stepped another defender and sent a flicked shot past Rafael.
Hernandez nearly doubled Leeds’ lead from a free kick but the Reading keeper was wise to the midfielder effort and earlier, from a corner Ben White got a shot towards the goal but it was unfortunately blocked by Bamford stood in the six yard box.
Goalscorer Hernandez received a worthy standing ovation when he left the field to be replaced by Jamie Shackleton with five minutes of normal time to play. There was nearly a ‘twist’ right at the end of the game, Reading centre back Liam Moore found himself behind the Leeds rearguard with only Liam Cooper for company. The defender struck a powerful shot but it was superbly saved by Kiko Casilla and the rebound was sent into the Kop by Richards. It really was a game-saving reaction by the sometimes under fire goalkeeper.
Points mean more than performances at this stage of the season so the three points Leeds claimed meant that they increased their lead over third placed Fulham to five points.
Leeds travel to Middlesborough on Wednesday hoping to continue their unbeaten run. The ‘Smoggie’s’ are dangerously near the bottom three but as always they need to be respected in their own backyard.
Man of the Match: Pablo Hernandez, superb performance from the Spaniard.
By Keith Ingham
Two 21- year old men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a non league footballer who was born in Bradford. Another man, 27, who was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, remains in police custody.
Jordan Sinnott, who was on loan at Matlock Town, was found unconscious in Market Place, Retford, Nottinghamshire, at about 02:00 GMT on Saturday. The 25-year-old suffered a fractured skull and died on Saturday evening.
Jordan Sinnott. RIP
Matlock Town players Tweeted: "You weren't just a footballer, you were our friend and brother. You gave us incredible memories and scored your first career hat-trick in your final game for the club. Rest easy Jordan, we love, miss and will never for.”
Sinnott the son of former Huddersfield Town captain Lee played for Huddersfield Town, Burt, Altrincham, FC Halifax Town, Chesterfield and Alfreton Town before joining Matlock this season.
So very sad. Our sympathies to his family, friends and teammates.
Division Two side Shrewsbury Town stun Liverpool by coming back from 2-0 to draw 2-2 and take the runaway Premiership leaders to a replay at Anfield.
The replay will probably make the Shropshire side around a million pounds and Klopp has indicated NONE of his first team squad will feature in the replay.
NBA Basketball legend Kobe Bryant has been tragically killed in an helicopter accident in Calabasas near Los Angeles in California. The 41 year old former LA Lakers superstar regularly used the mode of transport during his illustrious career. Eight more people, including his daughter Gianna(Gigi) aged 13 who were travelling with him also lost their lives in the tragic accident.
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. RIP
Our respects, sympathy and prayers go to all the families and friends involved in this tragedy.
Nantes players and fans pay tribute to Emiliano Sala who was tragically killed one year ago.
Apart from Shrewsbury’s heroics a really sad day for sport. 😪
Leeds sign a striker!
Leeds United are delighted to announce the signing of Jean-Kevin Augustin. The striker joins the Whites on an initial loan deal until the end of the season from Bundesliga outfit Red Bull Leipzig. Augustin came through the ranks with French outfit Paris Saint-Germain and went on to make his senior debut for the club back in April 2015.
How things have changed. What could have gone wrong? Signing a Spanish international from Real Madrid with a Champions League winners medal plus countless La Liga trinkets to go with it.
At first the likeable giant of a man with film star looks didn’t disappoint and made himself a fixture between the sticks in place of Bailey Peacock-Farrell and showed just why Leeds were quite happy to put up the 30k plus a week he asked for when he moved in from sunny Madrid.
Then at the latter end of last season it started to go a bit ‘Pete Tong’ for him, blunders at the back end of the season, especially at Ipswich started to grow doubts in him.
The playoff semi final first leg he once again showed he had all the attributes of a top keeper, then, around sixty seconds from the end of the first half of the second leg at Elland Road both he and Liam Cooper had a moment both would rather forget and Derby went into the break level.
It looked after that the whole defence, not only Kiko fell apart and we know that they went on to win the tie on aggregate and Leeds fans hearts were totally broken. Was he to blame? You cannot and shouldn’t pin the defeat on him, other people should accept they had a part in that second half collapse.
This season Casilla was told by his goalkeeping coach to “stop f#%k#%g about!” and as a whole we saw a different Kiko. Then came Charlton when he was accused of saying something he shouldn’t to a player of the opposition. He denies that he did and the matter will be cleared up by the EFL and if proven guilty Casilla could face a long time out due to the suspension.
Doubts about his safeness once again arose during the game with Cardiff City, he weakly flapped at a cross and the ball was lobbed past him by Tomlin. The game ended 3-3, Leeds were 3-0 up and again Kiko couldn’t be totally blamed but he was once again a factor.
Since then he’s seemed hesitant and Leeds have shipped goals in a unfortunately far too regularly and with the goals not going in at the other end more focus has been put on the defence to try to keep the opposition out.
On paper Kiko is one of the strongest performers in the league, with an impressive 68% save percentage and conceding the second least amount with 29 goals. But has a previously strong defence covered up for his continued poor display.
Whether it’s the EFL or finally Bielsa decides it’s time Illan Meslier a run in the team only time will tell. The young french keeper showed at Arsenal that if called on he won’t let Leeds down.
Myself I’d rather give him a few games before and if Casilla is banned to get used to playing in a very physical Championship.
As for Kiko only time will tell if he’s a good keeper or one that makes good saves but has another part of his game that worries both fans and his defenders.
The poor keeping display against both Wigan and Noting Forest, in which the stopper was given beaten at his near post by Ameobi shows a player out of confidence and lacking awareness.
Eyes will point towards the Spaniard tonight in what could be a must win match for Leeds against promotion hopefuls Brentford.
By Keith Ingham
Two thirds of the season done and what do we know? Well, we’re 2nd in the table with 55 points and we’re 3 points ahead of the side in third despite having just lost to a side, Wigan, who we battered in all respects apart from the score!
This time last season we were 2nd in the table with 57 points, 3 points ahead of the side in third, Sheffield United having just battered eventual Champions Norwich City in everything bar the score. We all know what happened in the final 16 games last season.
And it’s not just our league position that is so reminiscent of last season; after that 1 – 3 home defeat to Norwich City in which we had 21 attempts on the Norwich goal, Marcelo Bielsa said: "We still need too many chances to score and we need to be much more clinical than we were tonight. We did not make our possession count. We have now lost the previous defensive solidity and that is down to me, not the players. I feel deeply responsible.”
Anything sound familiar? Well, here’s what Marcelo said after the game on Saturday against the Latics: “We should have scored at least one of the 15 chances that we had…if the team does everything I ask then it's my responsibility (if we lose)”
And thereby hangs a tale. Marcelo Bielsa is totally convinced that there is only one way to play the game: his way, and this season he is bravely forging on with largely the same side he had last season, a side that came up short. Many would argue that actually he has less resource than he had last season; he lost a colossus in defence in Pontus Jansson and replaced him with a silky smooth, if perhaps not powerful or aggressive enough alternative at centre-back, Ben White.
Ben White is a fine player and possesses many skills Pontus lacks but when it comes to attacking a ball in the air in either box, I’d have Pontus any time. It is perhaps no surprise therefore that Leeds have a worse conversion rate of corners into goals than any other side in the Championship while at the back we have conceded far more goals from opposition corners than most.
It’s a similar situation with the other major loss: Marcelo’s go to striker last season was Kemar Roofe and indeed it was Kemar who took centre stage in that role in pre-season; Patrick Bamford was the fill in. We lost Kemar right at the start of the season of course but we were able to secure the talent that is Eddie Nketiah.
Marcelo decided though that Eddie wasn’t as good as Bamford in doing the things Bamford does and therefore Eddie played only a supporting role despite widely being regarded as a finisher of top quality who scored goals for fun.
Patrick Bamford has never been a finisher of top quality and indeed the statistics show he has missed more decent chances than any other striker in the division this season. It is perhaps the one reason why our conversion rate of chances into goals is so low and yet, Marcelo, by his comments I’ve reported above, knows the conversion rate is crucial. And yes, Bamford is not the only player missing chances, but he’s missed the most.. by a country mile.
We are at a turning point in the season I feel. There is nothing we can do at this stage to make our defence any stronger so I fear we are destined to concede the odd goal from set pieces for the remainder of the campaign. But we’ve had this issue all season and for the first half of the campaign it didn’t hurt us, it didn’t hurt us because we were dominating possession, limiting the chances the opposition got in our box and we were putting enough of our constant flow of chances away.
Putting those chances away is now the sole factor. We’ve not been doing it since before Christmas with Bamford’s first against Millwall being the first goal credited to any Leeds player since Stuart Dallas got our 4th at St. Andrews over a month earlier; that is not good enough to get you promoted.
We are told by Marcelo that he had no preference between any of the strikers we chased in the recently closed transfer window – for Marcelo, Che Adams, Dwight Gayle, Jarrod Bowen, Andre Gray and Jean-Kevin Augustin – could all do the job he wanted them to so that should not be an issue. Big Kev now needs to be given his chance.
I can live with him being left in the stands for the Millwall and Wigan games but that has to be it: he may not know all the intricacies of how a Bielsa machine works but time is running out and what we need is a finisher.
I’m convinced Leeds will continue to create boatloads of chances, especially against bottom half teams of which there are six more to come to Elland Road this season. If Big Kev is a goal scorer, he needs to play and he’ll put some of those chances away I’m sure. Bamford needs removing to find his Mojo again, 7 more failed attempts against Wigan suggests his ear covering was still more in his mind than the goals he scored against Millwall; the man has his priorities all wrong.
Big Kev wasn’t our only recent recruit of course – we also brought in Ian Poveda, and he did make the bench against Wigan. It frustrates the hell out of me though why he languished there when our two wingers – Harrison and Costa - smashed 41 crosses in all directions but found a Leeds target just 11 times. In the face of stats like that how can you not at least try your new winger? Baffling!
Leeds are in a great position with 16 games to go, and the difference between this time last season and today is that we are still playing some fabulous football. We can still achieve promotion despite the recent wobble in our results but we will not do it if we do not change something.
We’ve missed chances too often for too long and any sane man would conclude that we will continue to do so if we don’t change something. We will win games if we do nothing, we are too good not to, but my fear is we will not win enough and on too many occasions the flaky defence will give away a soft goal that will be enough to send us to defeat.
Our strength is the chances we create, we have to find a way to score more and the only tool in our box we have to try is Big Kev.
By David Watkins
Leeds fell to their seventh defeat of the season at the hands of bloody Wigan, the second season the Lancashire team has crossed the Pennines and gone away with an unlikely three points.
The second painful defeat to Wigan has left Leeds fans wondering if this season is following a similar path to the previous one.
Absurdly the BBC Radio Leeds post game show had a fan that suggested that Bielsa should be removed and Leeds should drop out of the top two and rally later in the season. The bloke is currently being checked out by a local hospital to see if all his marbles are all there.
A few though had more reasonable offers of how things could be altered by a few personnel changes and on the whole I didn’t disagree with them. Who would they change I hear you say?
For me I’d start at the goalkeeping position as Kiko Casilla is fast becoming a liability, a Champions League winner with Real Madrid but since the home game with Cardiff City the ‘old’ Casilla has emerged.
The one who gifted a few goals in the latter stages of the Championship and went utter cluster f#%k when himself and Coops got in a muddle to gift Derby a leveller at Elland Road in the second leg of the Playoff semi final.
There has been calls for the young french keeper Ilian Meslier to be given a run in the team before any decision is made on Casilla by the EFL, they could give him a lengthy ban and many people see in Meslier something that the sometimes chaotic Spaniard doesn’t have.
The youngster showed in the game with Arsenal that he has potential but whether Bielsa will put him in before he has to still remains the question.
Stuart Dallas has been superb for Leeds and wherever he plays there is no doubt he gives 110% but he’s not a deep lying midfielder, he’s a superb full back either side (Myself? I prefer him at RB) and can still put a great ball in from the wings. The experiment of playing him in the middle of the park has run its cause and it’s time to give fit again Jamie Shackleton some games in the number 8 role.
You can’t drop Pablo but after the midfield maestro has given his all a decent replacement could be either Tyler Roberts, Helder Costa or the new signing ‘Little Ian’ Poveda. Leeds need to utilise and mix things up because just lately things have, apart from Millwall have become a bit stale and other teams seem to ‘have our number’.
The most important change has to be up top, we’ve all backed Patrick Bamford to the hilt but no either a new approach needs to be tried with two up front(Bielsa won’t do it)or ‘Big Kev’ Augustin needs a run in the side to get the goals we lack. Yes he’s untried in this league but how many games can we continue to hope that PB increases his one goal for every three or four chances that come his way.
One thing is certain Leeds face a hell of a seven days starting at Nottingham Forest next Saturday, away games against ‘The shrubs’, Brentford and the home game against improving Bristol City will have a massive say on whether Leeds go up automatically or try and kill me off in the playoffs!
Bielsa said he listens to the fans and I’m asking him to now. A change isn’t always made for the better they say, but if you don’t bloody try it you’ll never know!
By Keith Ingham
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