Aside from the opening day horror show at Southampton, August has been a month of excellent performances failing to yield the desired result. 

Our final game of the month away to Ipswich Town sums August up quite well. In front from a Ross McCormack goal and cruising at half-time, Aidy White sees red early in the second half and the game is turned on it’s head. What should have been a comfortable victory ends in a 2-1 defeat.

It was a similar story v Middlesbrough too where red cards cost us dearly. Jonny Howson can have few complaints about his own sending off, whilst Max Gradel should have been taking a much more cautious approach after picking up an extremely soft yellow in the opening few minutes. With balanced teams, Leeds were far superior to a poor Boro side and this should have ended in victory. But with nine men left on the field, Leeds couldn’t hold Boro off despite the heroic goalkeeping of Andy Lonergan.

Add the six points we should have picked up from those two to the additional two we could easily have left Upton Park with had it not been for a missed Max Gradel penalty and a Patrick Kisnorbo own goal and Leeds would have ended the month tied for second place. Instead, we end August in 19th with just 4 points from the opening 5 fixtures.

“Coulda, woulda, shoulda” doesn’t wash with football fans though. The red cards were sloppy and unnecessary, penalties have been a problem now for far too long and our tendency to score own goals is worrying. These are all issues that need to be addressed.

There has been a lot of positives to take from this month however. As our goal of the month video shows, Leeds United are still a team capable of scoring from almost anywhere despite the absence of Luciano Becchio and Davide Somma.

Ramon Nunez has burst onto the scene with five goals already and still can’t make our first team, such is the strength of our midfield. Adam Clayton has been an absolute revelation in central midfield, forming a formidable partnership with Jonny Howson whilst Robert Snodgrass seems to be back to his best and Max Gradel is as unstoppable as ever.

The signing of Andy Keogh and a return to 4-4-2 seems to have resolved our striker crisis with Ross McCormack already on four for the season. With Ramon Nunez on five and already struggling to find a place, you have to wonder where Somma and Becchio would slot back in at this point.

Even the defence has shown signs of improvement. Patrick Kisnorbo and Darren O’Dea in the middle of Aidy White and the sensational Tom Lees is the strongest defensive back-line we’ve seen in some time. The inexperience of our two young wingers has been costly at times, but there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about this set-up.

In the league, the only two games I left feeling the scorelines were worthy of the performance was Southampton away and Hull City at home. For me, the 4-1 demolition of the Tigers (ra, ra, ra) is the only true reflection of how good this team can be. Without the red cards, missed penalties and own goals we’d probably be fantasising about automatic promotion right about now.

And as difficult as that statement may be to swallow, it does offer some cause for optimism as we head into September. It’s all about ironing out the creases for The Whites – if we can do that, few teams are going to run us of the park this season.

Picture courtesy of MAMF

  • tim

    I thought we had dropped 11 points so far this season or did I miss something?
    If our defence is that good how come we are at the bottom of the table and we must be so good at scoring goals that we can leave our leading scorer on the bench last Saturday until that is the 91st minute. Get a life Larry – somewhere else please.

    • wayne

      i totally agree tim, nunez could have won the game for us on saturday, the defence is still shocking, i can see another 79 goals in the wrong net coming again. come on grayson, lets sort this mess out and get away from the bottom of the table and show the others that we mean bussiness. As for the man u game, now theyve got it out of there system yesterday with the destruction of arsenal, sit back fergie and watch Leeds hit you again.

  • John M

    @Tim. Did you read the article? The 3 points against Southampton were not included because we deserved to lose them. The 8 points were those we coulda, shoulda had. As for Nunez, who would you drop to play him?

    • tim campbell

      The only way nunez could effectively be included at present is if we dropped one of the strikers and played him in his favorite position in the hole behind the striker – with a licence to destroy the opposition!! I'll admit keogh has done a lot of work since his arrival and I think hes playing for a permanent deal. Really means paynter must go!!

      • dalesteel

        drop howson, its simple!

  • number1inyorkshire

    worst start for 15 seasons points wise .
    could end there but there is so much to add ,playing OK really except against Southampton and some real new stars ,Clayton ,lees and Nunez i feel more by accident than management .lonegran has been fantastic but was at fault for the Ipswich equalizer going down to 10 men shouldn't mean defeat but grayson got it wrong .with his subs

    white for me isn't a left back ,he is left midfield or even a striker ,,bessone ,Parker even bromby would be best suited there .

    the league doesn't lie point wise but it doesn't tell the whole story

    • dalesteel

      did you actually say bessone. It must be my eyes, no one would be that stupid!

      • number1inyorkshire

        bessone can i say again was in the team of the championship alright he had a bad start but so did others we bought him and he should be given a chance i bet he is also one of our bigger earners .playing him is the tonic grayson said he had a good pre season so we will see just because he had a bad start doesn't make him a bad player on the whole
        we have been to quick to judge over the years there are plenty of players we as fans have lambasted over the years to go on to play at a higher level than we are ,3 i can think of include stephen crainey ,dan harding and dennis irwin the latter was abused by leeds fans but what a medal collection he has in his multi million pound house so give him a chance for me

        • dalesteel

          I agree in some respects, if you had said this about say… Grella or Hughes(JOKE HA HA HA) then okay. But I have seen enough of bessone to say its simply not form, he just can't defend. I would sooner have Parker at left back than bessone, amount of goals he cost from the left!!! In about 8 matches!

    • White Lightning

      Totally disagree about white…..He's got more potential then Bessone, Parker and Bromby at left back and although parker has the ability, it seems he doesn't have much of a future without a spell away to regain fitness and form! I would play white!

      I would have started Lee's in the centre at the begining of the season with Kisnorbo…..However it turns out he's a great crosser and O'Dea is winning me over in the centre. I think Grayson has not only been very unlucky but has been right about the back four tactics.

      Keogh – a must buy…..should be cheap and another leeds lad to add to the collection!

      Nunez – fantastic little player, needs a long contract…..where to play him is another story!

      Clayton – lets hope he can keep it going and continue to look like a Leeds born player!

      Gradel – I love the guy. But I also think we all want to keep him more now that people are serious about taking him than we would have otherwise! needs a new contract.

      Lonergan – Why anyone questioned Grayson with this one ill never know….Kasper was a very likable guy but he's living off his Dads name and would have never improved enough for us to make him a premiership number 1 in the time it will take us ;)

      Howson – seems to be another one who's never really found his position in the first team…..If keogh or McCormack were injured id play Howson upfront and give thompson or brown a go in midfield depending on who was injured…..Becchio will need a bit of time too!

      I could go on……and on!

  • Henryv

    Our excellent attacking play has taken a lot of pressure off the back 4.
    I shudder to think how they are under pressure.
    Oh! I know how they are = Southampton!!!
    I am not lulled by this "we are playing great but so unlucky",
    buzz that is flowing over us just now.
    The transfer window is closing, and so are our chances of promotion.
    We are miles behind already!!

  • Chareose

    Agree Henry, we have a good midfeild and Howson is trying manfully to adapt to a deeper role but there is still a lot missing. Truth is we require too many chances to score and our backline is still in need of a really strong leader…. O'dea is an improvement but for me the only player who looks to have genuine potential at the rear is Lee's thats assuming that blind Grayson can also see that.

  • KohsamuiWhites

    Don,t you know dalesteel you,re not allowed to drop captain marvel johnny for anyone.Nunez could score 4 hat tricks and still find himself on the bench.Not encouraging when bad luck is already being used as an excuse.

    • TSS

      No one said bad luck – I said carelessness. I specifically said;

      "The red cards were sloppy and unnecessary, penalties have been a problem now for far too long and our tendency to score own goals is worrying. These are all issues that need to be addressed."

      It's all about ironing out the creases.

  • Could someone please tell me if D'urso has ever sent off one of our opponents in a game and on how many occasions has he sent off one of our team, As for the games so far i do feel that we have been unlucky , but we have always had bad luck. We need points ASAP because we are slipping back alarmingly

  • AD

    Come-on guys, as he said & we know we’ve been sloppy & unlucky! Some dubious & painful ref decisions have cost us but we’ve been playing well & scoring without some of our best strikers! This time last year we had had a thumping by Cardiff & Preston & were in a similair position but wivout being able to say ‘we deserved more’ & yet by new year we were second! I think we generally have a stronger better equipped team now, & our defence may not be the strongest but it’s stronger & needs time to gel. Don’t forget it’s the championship! It jus takes a lil consistency cuz anyone can beat anyone!

  • For all our attacking prowess for creating chances we fail to finish team off, and it's been a failing of Leeds United for many a season, not just this season.

    The Ipswich game was just one of many where we have slaughtered teams but failed to put the ball in the back of the net. Then we have our defence, same old same old, and Larry is unable or worse unwilling to sort it.

    I'd love to apportion all the blame on Bates, such is my hatred of the dirty stinking cockroach, but on the pitch Larry calls the shots, and his tactics are at times shocking.

    His response to the White sending off was to go on the defensive. Enough said as we can't defend.

    • TSS

      We're finishing seasons amongst the top goalscorers though!

  • James

    Is the writer of this stupid?, Howsons second yellow was not a foul it was a dive from their player and howson did not touch him at all

    • TSS

      Is that your way of expressing an opinion – by questioning someone else's intellect? You should have worked in politics my friend.

      But I dunno, was a tough one to call. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. Leeds fans like to feel hard done by, there's always one conspiracy or another, whether it's the ref, The FA, The FL, or HMRC, we always need someone else to blame.

      Either way, Howson left himself vulnerable after the cynical challenge he put in earlier.

  • tim campbell

    Fear not one and all mr chairman says he knows this italian bloke who can point us in the direction of a few more ramon nunez types!! Sarcastically following up by wistfully stating that its a pity nunez did'nt cost £10M because it would have appeased his moron opponents. I'll say this much kenneth never misses out on the chance of a retort!!

  • Timothy Wilson

    Yes he's stupid

  • mattbb1

    the missing piece of the puzzle is Becchio, I firnly believe when he returns to full fitness we will shoot back up that table. If he has a chance he puts it away, and he does his work in the box, not outside it like Snoddy, Gradel and Howson. We have missed that presence, and I think whilst Keogh is working well for us Becchio is the master in terms of making those chances count.

  • LUFC007

    If this had a like button i would press it (y)

  • mattbb1

    looks like Gradel is on his way, the Sochaux chairman states the deal to sign him is at an advnaced stage – source, Sky Sports News. Ken pleeeaassee spend some of that money on a holding midfielder and a ball playing centre back.

  • jay

    God i wish bates would sell up!

  • Tim Campbell

    Hopefully we will get a decent fee for max and the chairman will appease us morons and spend the money on a couple of good players for the weaker areas in our side. Theres no doubt that nunez will be replacing max