Convincing win for Leeds over Premiership Wolves TSS July 31, 2010 Match reviews 26 Comments Taunts of “Can we play you every week?” and “Premiership, you’re having a laugh!” echoed around Elland Road as an attack-minded Leeds United side romped to a convincing 3-1 victory over Premier League side, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves started brightly, and it looked as though Leeds were going to struggle with a sluggish and slow defence that was being easily exploited by the pacey Matthew Jarvis. When Leeds did get on the attack however, they were quite simply too much for Wolves to handle. I’d questioned the logic of starting Max Gradel when the line-up was announced as he’s set to miss the first four games of the season for his sending off against Bristol, but his impressive performance showed a winger raring to go. His marker, Van Damme was run ragged trying to keep up with Mad Max as the youngster twisted and turned to create chances in the final third. It was Max Gradel that opened the scoring on 33 minutes with an absolute screamer of a goal from outside the box hit sweetly into the top corner of the Wolves goal. It was the kind of goal you expect to see in the goal of the season poll, and had it not been a friendly, I have no doubts he’d have been a contender. Leeds’ attack-minded side were deservedly leading as the Wolves defence struggled to contain Max Gradel. Neil Kilkenny was controlling things as always in midfield and Bradley Johnson was putting himself about well too. The only real concern was the Leeds United defence and on the stroke of half-time, a Matthew Jarvis free-kick found it’s way through to level the scoring. There was some debate between Neill Collins and Kasper Schmeichel as the players headed off the pitch, no doubt regarding Kasper not coming for the ball. The understanding between Kasper and the Leeds defence doesn’t seem to be there just yet, which is a shame as the young Dane made some impressive saves throughout. The second half got under way with no changes from the starting line-up for Leeds. Wolves attacked quickly and could have been in front, before Leeds countered with Max Gradel making a mazy run down the wing and through the Wolves defence to tee up Lloyd Sam who gratefully tapped home for his second pre-season goal. The changes started to come with Alex Bruce making his debut in place of an injured Richard Naylor and the game quickly lost it’s flow. Higgs also came on in place of Kasper Schmeichel and it was instantly obvious that Shane Higgs has a much better command of the area than Kasper has managed to develop so far. Still, with Kasper getting an hour and Higgs only 30 minutes, it seems set in stone that Kasper will be starting against Derby. In the dying minutes, a Bradley Johnson header killed the game off for Wolves and sealed an impressive attacking win for Leeds United. The ups The formation – The versatile 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation Simon Grayson has been playing with works well. It adds a lot of width to a side that sometimes lacked it last season. It also provides cover in defence when on the back-foot whilst still leaving plenty of options going forward. I’m a bit of a traditionalist and hate formation changes, but this seems to be working for Leeds so no complaints from me. Attack – Leeds were simply irresistible going forward. Gradel was on fire, Johnson was always threatening and Kilkenny looks a much better player against these better teams. Lloyd Sam had a good game too and will only get better as he gels with the team. Becchio seems much quieter playing as a lone striker but does seem to be positioning himself well and getting in the right places. Better opposition, better Leeds United – I found it hard to buy into the theory that Leeds would be better against better opposition, but the defeat to Bury followed by successive wins against better clubs seems to add weight to that argument. Maybe League One was a little too scrappy for the likes of Neil Kilkenny et al. Only time will tell, but several players look more comfortable against these teams. The downs The defence – The lack of pace in our defence is a major concern. Matthew Jarvis turned on the pace time and time again, leaving the Leeds United defence chasing his tail. Alex Bruce did get 30 minutes, but had little chance to show us what he can do. I doubt I’ll be too happy until Patrick Kisnorbo returns. Max Gradel – Man of the match performance from Max Gradel makes his suspension all the more annoying. Four games until we get to see him in action this season and with Robert Snodgrass also out, he’s going to be missed on opening day.