The Whites were six points behind Middlesbrough in the final play-off position yesterday morning with a vastly inferior goal difference effectively making it a seven point deficit. Barnsley were due to visit the Riverside for what looked like an easy home victory, which meant Leeds couldn’t afford anything less than maximum points away to Wolves.
Unfortunately, Leeds’ away record did little to inspire any confidence. We kicked off yesterday having won only three times away from home all season, losing our last four consecutive league games on our travels. If Neil Warnock’s side were to stand any chance of an unlikely play-off finish, our away form would need to be addressed. Struggling Wolves presented the ideal opportunity to start turning things around.
As you probably know by now, Leeds didn’t win. Unfortunate though they were to be denied three points by an injury time equaliser, Neil Warnock’s side had once again faltered away from home. In total, the Whites have scraped together only 13 points from a possible 45 on the road in 2012/13.
Luckily for Leeds, none of the teams around us faired much better. Middlesbrough lost at home to Barnsley and thanks to a few other results working in our favour, Leeds not only closed the gap on Boro to 5, they also managed to move up a position in the table.
All of this sets the stage for Leeds’ Tuesday night clash at the Riverside. A so-called “six-pointer” in modern day football lingo.
Middlesbrough’s defeat to Barnsley was their fifth consecutive Championship loss meaning they’ve yet to add a single point to the board in 2013. Leeds United meanwhile haven’t won away from home since December the 1st and are notoriously poor on Tuesday nights.
All the ingredients are there for an incredibly poor game of football, but the interesting thing is, something has to give. Either Leeds win away from home, putting themselves right back in the play-off picture while also ending their dismal away run or, Middlesbrough secure their first point(s) of 2013 ending their own poor run of form.
Like many fans I’ve spoken to recently, I’d already written this season off weeks ago. But the Championship is such a poor league, almost any team currently outside the play-offs could still snatch sixth place if they can gather a little momentum. It doesn’t matter what the other results are on Tuesday night, if Leeds can beat Middlesbrough they’ll be within 3 points of a play-off position with 15 games remaining.
Maybe we were all a little hasty in writing this season off?
It’s worth noting at this point that Leeds have never lost at the Riverside since it opened in August 1995, and we did win the reverse fixture earlier in the season. Despite our abysmal away form and inferior league position, you could make an argument that Leeds are actually the favourites to win Tuesday night…
Could this be the moment we turn our season around? Are Leeds still genuine play-off contenders?