Elland RoadFor the third time this season, Leeds conceded first in a game before fighting back to rescue a result.

A typical Yorkshire derby match, tightly contested, played at a relatively high-tempo throughout and littered with questionable refereeing decisions. The referee, in fairness, also called a lot of things correctly, but Dom Poleon must feel that a kick to the testicles wouldn’t have resulted in a free-kick given his way.

From a Leeds United perspective, the first half was notable only for the ease at which Dominic Poleon continuously glided by Lewis Buxton and the lazy, abject defending that led to Wednesday’s goal.

Poleon, making only his second start for Leeds, is somewhat reminiscent of Max Gradel – quick, nimble and loves to run at players, but like Max Gradel, you also feel he’ll be somewhat hit and miss.

There’s a tendency to look back through nostalgic eyes at Gradel’s Leeds United career, but it was only his final season at the club when Max developed any kind of consistency. Even then, he could be incredibly frustrating at times, choosing to keep the ball when someone was in acres of space and the crowd are screaming for him to pass.

It’s questionable decision making, basically. But it’s one of those things almost every ‘flair player’ can be accused of. The trouble is, the crowd yells “pass” every time they run with the ball by more than one player, neglecting to mention that fact when the player goes on to beat several more players before slamming the ball into the back of the net. Conversely, when the player loses the ball by trying to do too much, we’re quick to criticise.

Ultimately, greed is an acceptable trade-off with players like Gradel and Poleon – some days their greed and individual brilliance will change the game, other days it’ll drive you insane. You just have to hope there are more of the former – as there undoubtedly was with Gradel.

Today, Poleon’s individual display was somewhere between the two extremes, but he was also the victim of some dreadful referee decisions after continually beating Buxton and having his shirt pulled back – which, for some reason, seems to be acceptable in modern football. But only when the defenders do it.

Few real chances had been created by either team when Wednesday won a corner 35 minutes in. Leeds failed to deal with Wednesday’s aerial advantage by getting the right side of players, leaving a header back across the box totally uncontested. The centre-back Zayatte faced little competition as he met the returned header with a header of his own, guiding the ball beyond the reach of Paddy Kenny. Awful defending from Leeds, but an excellent headed goal from the visitors.

Half-time and both sides had struggled to create openings during a tight first half, but the better chances had fallen to Wednesday and their lead was a deserved one, if only for their absolute dominance at set-plays. Leeds simply couldn’t defend them. It’s easy to point to height as the key factor – and it definitely made a difference – but there was no organisation. We positioned ourselves badly and failed to block runs. We lack height, organisation and experience in the centre of defence and desperately need to sign someone who can control these situations.

Individually, you could make arguments that every defender put in some good tackles and worked hard. But as a unit, they lack cohesion and make basic mistakes caused by a lack of organisation.

The second half saw the introduction of Michael Tonge in place of Paul Green, who has struggled to impress since his move from defensive midfield to facilitate the return of Rodolph Austin.

It took a while for the second half to get going, a skied effort from Luke Murphy the only notable incident before Ross McCormack brought Leeds level.

A great bit of play from Leeds worked the ball to McCormack just inside Wednesday’s half. McCormack took control of the ball, played the ball beyond Sheffield Wednesday’s goalscorer Zayatte before beating him for pace to recollect the ball one-on-one with Kirkland, who Ross beat with an excellent strike. 1-1.

At this point, it felt like Leeds were in control and another goal would quickly follow. But while the tempo increased and the game started to stretch, neither team was having much success at creating clear-cut chances.

With 15 minutes remaining, the best chance to win the game fell to Antonio who capitalised on some astonishingly bad defending to force an excellent save from Paddy Kenny.

FT Leeds United 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Ups and downs v Sheffield Wednesday

On balance, 1-1 is a fair yet nonetheless disappointing result. This was a tightly contested Yorkshire derby match where both teams struggled to create many chances.

Our weakest point is still the defence. Individually, every player could be praised for their efforts, but as a unit, it just doesn’t work. We make silly mistakes and position ourselves badly. The only reason we’re not conceding more is because of last minute desperation tackles and Paddy Kenny. A well-organised defence rarely relies on six yard box heroics, but that’s quickly becoming Leeds United’s default setting.

Dom Poleon I covered above. You could question his decision-making at times, but he looked the most likely to create something in the first half and I think his individual brilliance will pay-off for us over the course of the season.

Hoofing. Old habits are dying hard for some players and this was the worst possible game to be trying such tactics. Sheffield Wednesday had a 12 inch height advantage on McCormack and Poleon, yet hoofs forward are still being resorted to by some players.

Ross McCormack and Luke Murphy. Easy to overlook them both at times, but when the ball is on the deck and being passed about, these two look much more dangerous. It goes back to my previous point about hoofing (which neither of these two were guilty of) – when we revert back to last seasons tactics, we’re mitigating our own threat.

Paul Green – Without wishing to sound like Neil Warnock, you can’t fault the lads’ effort. But – and it’s a big BUT – his strength is defensive midfield. With Rudy Austin taking over at DM, Green has been shifted forward and doesn’t look half the player he was v Brighton. If Austin is playing DM, we have to start with Tonge or Diouf in place of Green.


36 Responses

  1. Sack

    Very disappointed. Awful decision to bring Smith and Diouf on, thought we looked like scoring until then. Tom Lees is the worst defender I have ever seen, can’t wait to one day see the back of him.

    • Chareose

      Huh ???!! were you watching the same game ?? Without ross we were clueless with ZERO creativity, thats why there was only 25k fans because people have figured things out……….. Like BMC says they huff and they puff, they work hard but we are missing creativity…………. If anything Green should have been off at half time and replaced by Diouf …the one decision i think the boss has got wrong….. I mean what have we got to lose??? sub a central midfeilder whos static with a player whos slow but has bags of skill…. but instead Diouf is brought on with 8 mins to go as a striker replacing the only player we have with pace……….

      People moan about the defence but i thought they were pretty solid for the 3rd Champ game in a row, Peltier tackled great but offers no attacking threat. your left with feeling greatfull everytime he passes to his own players…. The right side is the problem for leeds and i hate to say it but for me we need an attacking player far more than a CB………….though i know Leeds fans are now obsessed with the need for a CB…….. yes some donkey in defence will sure help us in the final third….. we need a winger !!!

      • seanh1988

        totally agree with you on needing a attacking player!!! but when you think about it we have that in diouf and mccormack i believe we need to stop opting for the long ball all the time mccormack austin poleon and warnock were the only players that looked comfortable on the ball today especially austin heading chesting getting any part of his body on the ball today to direct it to a white shirt……

        i particularity feel sorry for warnock as every time he got the ball on the left and tried to push forward he had no support varney should of been over there helping out instead of running round like an headless chicken for 60 odd minutes!!!!!

        today’s result could have been totally different if poleon wasn’t attacking wrestlers and we want playing 13 men instead of 11 (ref and linesman tut tut)

        so overall summary of todays game is signs of an exciting young striker poleon a premier league ref who you would not trust being the corner flag in sunday league and a signal mccormack wants to be the centrepiece to the new era of leeds united

      • Sack Wagwan

        Well it would spare me having to watch such shocking management and atrocious defending.

        Why don’t you take your mid-table mediocrity support and flounce into the sunset, now flounce, flounce i tell thee!

  2. mystaaRS

    I was dissapointed in McCormack’s post match Interview. He played well, but when he was asked about his future, he said that he just plays and it’s up to the people responsible who decide his future. Would have preferred him to say he wants to play for Leeds.

  3. henrymouni

    My worry is that we will bring any class players in before the window closes.
    If this happens BM will be under a lot of pressure, which he does not deserve.
    We must get a good quality wide man or two.
    We still need a classy midfield player to run the team, in attack.
    We must get a tall, mobile centre back to boss the box.
    Our defence is small, and set pieces give us a problem.
    Paddy is a fine keeper, but cannot command the box.
    Finally we need a good goalscorer.
    Since Luciano has left we don’t look like scoring many goals.
    It does not bear thinking about if we sell Ross.
    Austin had a sound game!
    GFH MUST get their finger out!!
    Their rallying call, is losing momentum and it’s
    their fault!
    They have let us and Brian down badly!
    Remember this team is mostly Warnocks, so you cannot expect any better, until BM can build his team.
    GFH must learn that we will not be messed around any more!
    Shares are being sold and money pocketed, but nothing invested in the team.

    • Matthew

      I agree with you. Sorry I would say more but I was up at 5am today, tired as hell.

      • Chareose

        Depends if they are allowed to with these new laws limiting the amount of money that can be spent in relation to clubs income

  4. spellz

    Fair analysis apart from the exclusion of Pearce’s heroic stop towards the end that would of definitely lost us the game had he not lunged in and put everything literally in to the challenge that stopped Wednesday capitalising, thought he had a great game.

    I know it is early days but I have not at all enjoyed watching our “first million pound acquisition in the last decade” he seems to be passing badly not much movement off the ball and I think if he was not there I would not even notice, a bit harsh probably, maybe it is just nerves at the level he is playing at, hopefully we will see some improvement from him soon.

    Never seen a ref have such a good game yet a bad one I think that is just being biased though, most of his decisions were correct even know I thought Poleon should have at least earned Buxton a yellow rather than him eventually being booked for time wasting (that was poor)

    All in all a mediocre performance capped off with a mediocre home point at times it was a little scrappy with lots of tension typical of a derby then, need to be taking all three points at home though.

    M.O.T As always.

  5. Matthew

    It’s easy to be disappointed, I am, very much so. But 1 win and 2 draws is a reasonable start to the season, and if we continue to rack up wins and draws we should be in or around the playoffs come the end of the season. I’m happy with that, we have a lot of room to improve, we had 19 losses last season with just 4 away wins, if we can do better away from home, we should have something to cheer about in May. I would with a win and a draw from our next 2 games. Also look at where Millwall are lmao.

  6. gistheman

    I feel Ross’s comments on weather he is staying was its in gfh hands as he has already said he is happy here and said so to bm and putting the ball in their court to say well give everyone an answer!!

    I thought bm got his sub of diouf for poleon wrong today. I understand in bring him on, but not for poleon as the end of the game was crying out for his pace and determination to not give up. If diouf is going to be used late on then fine, but I think murphy or Ross should of come off with the time that was left today more so murphy

    • mystaaRS

      He was good, but his crosses in to the box need improving, or someone else can take that role.

      • Roger

        I mean just specifically for this game, he has taken a lot of stick for the reasons mentioned but put in a top performance yesterday so thought it might deserve a shout.

    • Chareose

      Hes a good defender not a good full back, he cant run on the ball……….

  7. Chareose

    it seems the feel good factor is starting to dissapate with realisation of what a mediocre side we have…………..as others have said, we only 4-5 players comfortable on the ball, MCcormack, Diouf, Murphy, Poleon, Austin and Warnock and the club seems intent on selling the first two……….. Some very confused messages coming from Leeds and Middlesborough evidently think they have a chance of signing Ross. Who gave them that ?? There isnt a replacement for RMC thats why Mowbray is going for him and not someone else…….. And Diouf should be playing in Greens position to give the team that extra bit of flair. Defenders are not the priority, attacking players are……..

  8. NottsWhite

    This game is probably a reality check to suggest that our good start was due to hard work and a bit of luck rather than incisive play. We seriously lack guile to unlock tight defences and defensively we look fragile. I get increasingly frustrated with Tom Lees, at times he looks rock solid but he has the inability to focus for 90 mins which was displayed yesterday by 3 occasions where he lack of concentration could have cost us goals

  9. Roger

    Anyone at the game fill me in on the chants against Dave Jones? I couldn’t hear any as I watched this one on sky but the Daily Star (reliable) mentions it in their piece.

  10. henrymouni

    What confuses me is GFH!
    They saw this squad of players,( plus 3 light-weight/cheap additions) struggle to survive.
    They panicked, and sensibly, brought Brian in early to help with our escape.
    Brian gave them a list of 5/6 players he needed to bring the squad up to something like competitive.
    They have sold shares and brought money in but knocked Brian back, and let him, and us, down.
    I know we are used to this and are praying for another miracle.
    They have put up a rallying call to the fans, but given nothing to show they are interested in promotion or survival!
    The fans turn up in droves for the first game, but are rapidily realising we are not good enough to provide success and entertainment.
    The transfer window is receding rapidly, and Brian is sinking into a morose state.
    We have 4 points but we are not fooling anyone.
    GFH’s parent company tell us they have sold over 50% of the club, but GFH say they have not??
    They cannot be trusted and have told us nothing but bull.
    “Building for the future”.
    Whose future??

    Not ours.
    “The past is past”.
    It is but the the team is not!
    My only glimmer of hope is the new Chairman Mr Noodles.
    He has increased his share, but of course he could have plans of his own to shaft us??
    I was so excited before the season started!!
    I STILL think we will get someone in before the end of the window, but we need 3!!

    • TSS

      People confuse the sale of shares as a profit-making venture for the club. It isn’t.

      GFH are an investment bank, they bought 100% of Leeds United from Bates. They don’t make their money from the club’s profits (as dividends), they make their money back by reselling the shares they now own, all while trying to increase the value of the club by improving the financial situation and, hopefully, league status.

      One off transfer fees can be written-off as investment, they’re not an issue. Anyone wishing to buy a stake in the club knows they aren’t an ongoing expense, so won’t worry about those when it comes to assessing the accounts. (You could even class them as an asset since football players have a value).

      However, wages ARE an ongoing expense. Trying to sell shares in a club that’s rapidly losing money (because that’s how Bates left it) is nigh on impossible. The club has to balance the books to make Leeds United an attractive proposition and that can’t be done by carelessly adding wages. Brian McDermott and Paul Hunt have to do their jobs as manager and chief exec, reducing the wage bill before adding anyone else. It’s not an unfair demand from GFH, they’re tasked with running the business side of things and wages have the biggest impact on our accounts.

      In short – Leeds United selling shares DOES not raise money for Leeds United. GFH are merely selling parts of something they own. They’re recouping the money they spent (with the hope of making profit).

      The only way the club actually receives investment is if one of the shareholders contributes additional funds, but even then, it’d most likely be an interest free loan to the club, they don’t just hand money over for the fun of it.

      • henrymouni

        No confusion here.
        To invest in Leeds you have to see a return, and in our case it is the premier League.
        Why bring investors in who do not want to invest?
        The squad is the first priority, if the investors want to see a reward.
        Don’t forget this. GFH promised they would support BM in bringing the squad up to scratch – no strings.
        Then, to avoid spending, they told him he had to offload players (who are not very good) first.
        That is vintage Bates.
        GFH know the clubs finances inside out, including the wage bill.
        The manager is not happy, and a bit tetchy, at the current events.
        He believed the new owners, and Bates was out of it.
        We thought the same.
        GFH must be more stupid than I thought they were, if they let this window slide.
        The ground will be empty – maybe even more so than last year – unless some investor arrives to invest in the team:-

        EVERYTHING revolves around the first team.
        Anyone who invests in Leeds must realise it is money down the drain, unless the team gets promotion.
        Therefore, you would expect these investors to understand/love football, otherwise there are many better ways to spend their money.
        How can you look for a return without promotion?
        How can you get promoted with a squad like ours?

      • TSS

        Investors have already invested. They bought the shares. And they did so because they bought into GFH’s vision. That’s a good sign.

        Furthermore, they’ve also kept us in the black by sinking money in. That can’t go on forever, they have to balance the books.

        GFH promised they’d run the club properly, and are doing so. We’ll get the players we want in time. This was never a one year throw of the dice, we need to rebuild properly and that won’t happen by throwing all our eggs in one basket and gambling on a quick promotion. How many times have we seen that fail elsewhere?

        It failed here too. Bates tried it when he first arrived, sinking us into administration when we failed to achieve promotion and couldn’t cope with debt he’d increased.

        There’s also the small matter of the FFP rules to contend with now, no club will be able to go mental any more. They have to be self-sufficient – which is a good thing, especially for Leeds as our turnover will give us the edge once FFP starts to take effect.

        Funny how quickly things change when the football begins. Everyone was happy with a 2-3 year approach last month, but now they’re all moaning again because our fans have no patience.

      • henrymouni

        GFH don’t have a vision, apart from making a quick profit.

        I bought into the fact that they would support Brian.

        Remember bringing in the players Brian was promised, would still leave a lot of work to do.

        If our team is the same as last year, that is no progress at all.

        It will take 10 years the way GFH are shaping up.

        The teams who invest steadily in the squad will do well.

        We are not in that category.

        Add to them the teams who have spent more, and it all leaves us in limbo.

        “GFH promised they’d run the club properly”.

        They can start with ‘honestly’ and add ‘wisely’.
        Their track record does not suggest that ‘properly’ is something they will ever achieve.

      • Matthew

        We do have a lot of deadwood on the wage bill that no one wants though. Can’t really blame GFH in some ways when we have about a dozen players who won’t get much of a look in this season.

      • henrymouni

        We do have a lot of deadwood, so the chances of us winning a marathon are nil.
        GFH knew of the deadwood before they bought Leeds United.
        Brian knew of the deadwood before he came, but was promised that he could bring his players in, and clear out the deadwood asap.
        Remember we cleared out 6 or 7 at the end of the season.
        GFH deceived him and us.

      • Matthew

        You can play some of the deadwood, they could do the job but aren’t good enough to get promotion, they’re good enough to barely patch some holes in the side when needed. We’re fortunate that a few deadwood contracts are up at the end of the season which should free up money for better players. It’l take time. I wasn’t saying I don’t agree with you Henry, you make some good points. I was just putting across another side of the same coin basically.

      • Matthew

        Oh and I was hoping if we had beaten the Wendies yesterday that Dave Jones might of come knocking for Danny Pugh, he did the job there last season and loaning him out with them paying his wages, or most of them would of been ideal for the club. I do think we’l ship out some people on loan anyway

      • henrymouni

        I’m sure we will ship some out Matthew.
        We don’t have a lot of time to bring people in.
        I still think we will bring some in – I hope so anyway.
        The fans are vital to our push, but they won’t be taken for granted anymore.
        Ken Bates made is into a tougher bunch.
        I expect a mad rush towards the months end.

      • Matthew

        I think McDermott has his targets lined up. There’s just one hold up, and you know what that is. I bet if he was given the 100 percent go greenlight we’d have people in already. Regardless, our only real test this month is the QPR game, people should have a proper idea where this squad is or near abouts after the game. They’re not unbeatable, but of all the squads we’l face this month, they have the most quality.

      • henrymouni

        Really looking forward to that game.
        QPR have spent plenty on top players.
        A big gamble for them, but they do have a mega-rich owner.

      • Matthew

        Me too, have you noticed how they barely scraped 2 wins? In the Ipswich game they scored in the 89th minute to win 1-0, they barely got past the Wendies, they could only draw against Huddersfield. I fancy our chances. What better time to get 3 points than now? Before they gel as a team.

  11. Matthew

    Some people seem to forget that getting promotion is much like running a marathon. Some may sprint off the starting line but can they maintain that pace? Wouldn’t you rather we be the one that slowly but surely climbs to the top of the pack with a steady but sure pace. It doesn’t matter where we are in the table after 3 games. I would argue it doesn’t matter after 10-20 either, what matters is how we finish the season.

    • mrbigwheels

      Matthew….my feelings are that GFHC are tying Brian’s leg up here and are kidding themselves if they think top eight is a good target this year with this squad, which is basically of Warnocks choosing. Even assuming a better level of fitness, coaching and team stability under McD….
      Too many lead weights around the ankles and you finish way down the field. I appreciate the business model the owners are following but they will fail miserably if the home gate isn’t satisfied.
      This will no doubt go down to the wire with Ross leaving the club to get two others in. The one thing we can all see is a quite unbalanced squad that may well gell together better by Chrissy but certainly are a mid table side. Just look at Forest, Watford, Leics, Burnley, add in Wigan, QPR and McCarthy with Ipswich and we are going to need a lorra, lorra luck to find pace and those bloody goals to get into a photo finish……

      • henrymouni

        I’m with you Mr B.
        Mid table is all we can expect.
        I do not think we will sell Ross.
        As he is one of our best players, we will have to replace him, with someone of equal quality, and they are not cheap.
        Also Ross is our ONLY real goalscorer now.
        So we will need a big mobile defender, a winger and a top goalscorer.
        If GFH sell Ross, the fans will be angry!!

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