Home dis-comforts –
The failings from last season’s promotion run came to the fore on Saturday afternoon at Elland Road. A lack of a clinical edge in attack and a lapse of concentration allowed Notting Forest to grab an unworthy share of the spoils. As is the norm for Leeds games a blatant penalty on Stuart Dallas was missed by a below standard EFL referee. Leeds dominated possession and chances created while Kiko Casilla had no saves to make throughout the game. The magic man Pablo Hernandez produced his traditional moment of quality to give Leeds a deserved lead, but a failure to clear a Forest corner allowed Lewis Grabban to scramble the ball over the line with 15 minutes remaining. It is only the second game of the season, so it is prudent not to jump the gun but the failings from last season are worrying to see rear their ugly heads. The transition from defence to attack was sublime at times, but the final ball was lacking except for Mateusz Klich’s through pass for the Leeds goal. Leeds had 34 crosses, many of which were of a poor standard. The final over hit cross from Barry Douglas which floated harmlessly over the end line was indicative of the lack of finesse from Leeds on both flanks. Away teams will undoubtedly attempt to follow the template set out by Forest, and it will up the Leeds players and management to find a way to break teams down but also keep clean sheets. Clean sheets will get us promoted so even though White and Cooper gave reliable displays, the one defensive slip in concentration cost the team dear.
Eddie or Paddy –
I have been relatively vocal on Twitter throughout the Summer that I wanted Dwight Gayle to sign on loan. Due to the potential cost of the deal and the FFP regulations, this was not possible. Victor Orta’s previous working relationship with Unai Emery helped Leeds capture the season-long loan of the highly sought after Eddie Nkeitah. The young English striker scored on his debut at Salford on Tuesday night. It is clear from that performance that he offers the pace and power, which will give the Leeds attack a new dimension. The chances of note all fell to Patrick Bamford on Saturday. At 25 years of age, the striker has played for ten clubs and is probably not good enough to play in the Premier League. He failed to score with three guilt-edged chances. His confidence is shot, and unfortunately, in the modern social media age, fans turn on players very quickly. It will be interesting to see if Bielsa sticks with Bamford against Wigan. I have defended Patrick Bamford as much as I can – but the truth is that he is a mediocre Championship striker. He is very streaky and will score goals, but I highly doubt he will get 25 goals. I think considering the number of chances that Leeds create each game – he should get at least 15. If Nkeitah can click with Pablo and Costa, I think he could get the goals we need to secure automatic promotion. The young forward reminds me of Ian Wright, and if he is half the goal poacher that Wright was , we won’t be far away in May.
Revenge is a dish best served cold –
The home loss to Wigan on Good Friday was nothing short of a disaster. A 2-1 home defeat against a team fighting against relegation and down to ten men should never have happened. Looking back, the signs of the playoff semi-final collapse to Derby where evident throughout that display. The majority of the current squad were present for the horrific loss. Revenge should be a burning desire for each of those players. Leeds will be huge favourites to win on Saturday. As is the norm with Leeds, the final result will hinge on the number of chances taken and cutting out the mistakes in defence. I am feeling overly optimistic, so I am going for a 4-1 win on Saturday. Let’s hope the lads have their shooting boots on in Wigan.