Disappointing return for Kasper

Kasper Schmeichel returned from injury for a match he’ll quickly want to forget as he was beaten four times by a rampant Cardiff City side.

The first half was pretty even, but Cardiff always looked to have the edge going forward and it was Jay Bothroyd who opened the scoring on 22 minutes, capitalising on a mix-up between Kasper Schmeichel and Alex Bruce to slot home with ease.

The Cardiff City goalscorer should have been sent off shortly afterwards when his dangerous challenge on Luciano Becchio was missed by the referee. As Becchio limped away, the Leeds fans were left to bemoan another bad refereeing decision.

The half-time break was a welcomed one with Leeds seemingly out of ideas already. It was also close to freezing at Elland Road and the opportunity to warm-up in the stand with a hot beverage would prove to be the highlight of a poor evening.

Jonny Howson was the exception to the rule tonight in the Leeds United side, trying everything to get the Leeds United team moving. When Lee Naylor took too long on the ball, it was Jonny Howson who quickly dispossessed him and sent the ball forward for Davide Somma. Somma however was having a bit of a mare, and his poor control allowed Cardiff to regain possession and counter-attack quickly to devastating effect as Michael Chopra (who appeared offside) made it 2-0 to the Welsh side.

Somma’s error would prove to be his final one as Simon Grayson brought him off for Ramon Nunez to make his Leeds United début.

Within a minute of the change the game was over though as Jay Bothroyd added insult to injury by scoring his second. Nunez had found Snoddy out wide, but the Scotsman took too long on the ball and was dispossessed with ease by Cardiff. The Welsh side once again countered quickly with a good move that ended when Bothroyd beat Schmeichel (again!). All this, and we’d only played ten minutes of the second half.

Lee Naylor rounded off the victory for Cardiff with an excellent strike from the edge of the area which Kasper Schmeichel made no effort to save. It was a largely irrelevant goal I suppose, but by now (the 60th minute) it seemed as though some players were waving the white flag.

With the damage already done, the last half hour was spent watching the seconds tick away as Cardiff relaxed with victory already secured whilst Leeds struggled to add some credibility to the scoreline. Luciano Becchio did find the back of the net, but was about a yard offside and that was as close as Leeds went all game.

Ramon Nunez made a pretty good debut, but with the game already over before his introduction, he had no real pressure on him so it’s hard to get a good read of his ability.

The inquest

The finger pointing begins again I guess?

Schmeichel was a real let-down tonight, as was Davide Somma who had a real off-game. The rest of the team were more out-classed than they were poor as the gulf between spending for these two sides was clear to see.

That’s the long and short of it really. Cardiff are quite simply a much better team at the moment and Leeds were out-classed in every area of the pitch. Jay Bothroyd should have been sent off and that would have undoubtedly changed the game, but the best team won so there’s no real point in bemoaning our luck.

A lot of criticism has been aimed at Simon Grayson this week and there was growing unrest around the ground. It’s hardly surprising either when you consider that Leeds have lost four of their last five games, conceding fifteen goals in the process! The fact remains however, that we’re a newly promoted team that has spent very little money strengthening the squad, so poor results are an inevitability.

That said, if there’s one chairman you can rely on for a knee-jerk reaction, it’s Ken Bates who goes through managers more often than Manchester United do replica kits. With Gordon Strachan recently relieved of his duties at Middlesbrough, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ken was already putting some feelers out.

What did concern me was the approach to the game the two sides had. Big spending Cardiff force the opposition to leave men back at all times by leaving Craig Bellamy and Michael Chopra up front even when they are defending. This allows for lightning quick counter attacks, that Leeds simply couldn’t deal with. Leeds meanwhile always look a little nervous to commit people forward which is a worrying trait at home – even if it is an understandable one given our defensive record this season.

On and on…