A massive four days in Leeds season:
The hammering at West Brom is now a distant memory as Leeds secured their second clean sheet in three days to move into second place in the table. Bailey Peacock-Farrell was the Leeds hero as he made a terrific last-minute penalty save to give Marcelo Bielsa’s side a one-nil win over Reading. Stuart Dallas close-range finish on the hour mark was enough for Leeds to move within a point of league leaders, Norwich. Leeds dominated the possession stakes, but yet again there was a lack of efforts on target. Some poor decision-making nearly cost Leeds as Barry Douglas’s rash tackle presented the away side with an 89th-minute penalty. The superb save from Peacock-Farrell should provide him with the boost of confidence he badly needs. Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips produced mesmeric displays in central defence as they mopped up the rare Reading counter-attacks and started the Leeds attacks with short simple passes. Marcelo Bielsa’s decision to make the double half-time introductions of Samu Saiz and Jack Clarke proved to be a tactical masterstroke. Leeds head to Bramall Lane on Saturday with renewed confidence.
Leeds are averaging 1.7 goals per game so far this season. I have stated continuously that if Leeds keep clean sheets, they will win most of their games. So far this campaign, only Tony Pulis and his ultra-defensive Middlesbrough side have been able to keep this Leeds side scoreless. In the last two games, Leeds have had 63% and 65% possession which is a massive reason why they kept the vital clean sheets. Leeds produced 20 and 19 attempts on goal with 5 and six shots on target. It is now evident from the recent match stats that Marcelo Bielsa and his staff are working hard on getting the side to be more clinical in front of goal. Hopefully, Patrick Bamford can return from his injury hungry and ready to score the goals Leeds will need after Christmas. I am much more confident now than I was before the International break that Leeds will be in the top two by New Year’s Day.
The younger generation continues to shine:
The Leeds youth academy does not get the credit it deserves in my opinion. The likes of Jonathan Woodgate, Harry Kewell, Lewis Cook, Aaron Lennon and Paul Robinson have graduated to become top class players. Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jamie Shackleton and Jack Clarke are latest players to get into the Leeds first team with each showing some top class performances. Jack Clarke was immense in the second half against Reading. His introduction played a pivotal role in the win as his pace gave the Leeds attack an entirely new impetus. The young winger made the wrong decision late in the game when he decided to dribble instead of playing in Samu Saiz. The kid will learn, but I doubt I was the only Leeds fan to notice the irony of Saiz complaining about poor on-field decision-making. The future looks very bright as Leeds continue to embrace their young players. I hope Jack Clarke gets the chance to start at Sheffield United on Saturday. I think Leeds will win on Saturday and get revenge for last season’s two losses to the Blades. A two-nil victory for Leeds is my gut feeling on Saturday’s derby match.