Quite how Norwich City escaped Elland Road today with a point to show for their efforts is a mystery for the ages, such was the overwhelming amount of chances Leeds United had to bury this one.

When Leeds weren’t putting attempts narrowly wide of the target, the woodwork and some last ditch blocks came to the aid of the Canaries who were struggling to cope with Leeds’ attacking threats.

By the interval, Leeds should have been three up, but Luciano Becchio’s close-range goal was cancelled out by Arsenal youngster Henri Lansbury who made one of Norwich’s small amount of first half chances count as Leeds switched off in stoppage time.

The second half saw things level out a bit and Norwich really get into the game. Both teams sensed three points were within their grasp, and both teams had chances to take the lead.

But in a game where Leeds should have been three up by half time, failure to make the chances count proved costly. Norwich sent the warning signs by striking Leeds’ upright, and just minutes later Wes Hoolahan put the visitors ahead.

Disaster for Leeds, but the heads stayed up and the Whites looked to respond quickly with Max Gradel and Robert Snodgrass trying to find a way through.

It was saved by the sub stuff again for Grayson as Davide Somma was introduced with 15 minutes to go. The man many thought should have been on the pitch from kick-off rescued Leeds United when he smashed home an outstanding strike with his first touch of the game.

2-2, and this thriller of a Championship game hung in the balance and neither team looked happy with a point. The attacks and chances came, but neither team managed to take full advantage.

The final throw of the dice for Simon Grayson was Billy Paynter, who came close at the very depth only to be denied by an excellent Ruddy save. For any other striker, it would have been 3-2, but Lady Luck refuses to hand poor Billy a break and his wait for a first goal continues.

4-4-2 v 4-5-1 (again)

The obvious complaint after this one is that Leeds didn’t play two strikers from the off and force their own game on Norwich. I caught a comment from Grayson on the way home and he said that the decision to play 4-5-1 was based on Norwich City’s diamond formation – he was concerned we may get overrun otherwise.

Overall, 4-5-1 worked brilliantly. Leeds were simply sensational going forward, and had we benefited from a little bit of luck today we’d probably be celebrating a comfortable victory. But to tactically approach a home game based on what the visitors will do seems very negative. Surely we should be forcing our style of play on them, and letting them worry about what we may do?

Of course, there’s no point going into a game without doing your homework and knowing what the opposition may throw at you, but I do feel we give visiting teams far too much respect at times.

Whatever happened to the clean sheets?

Leeds’ defending at times today was desperate and lacking order. At times, we looked like a deer in the headlights when Norwich came at us and the clearances we did make were often panicked and failed to relieve the pressure.

Nevertheless, this was a brilliant game and a great advert for Championship football. Leeds were the better side, but Norwich made their chances pay and left with a point. Both teams always seemed to have one eye on their next attack and that’s what made it so thrilling to watch. For the entertainment both teams provided, a draw is probably fair. But for the chances Leeds had, you have to say it’s two points dropped.

What a difference a year makes though!

30 Responses

  1. Tim Wilsom

    Just hit 81f here, feels like Sommatime ;) Hope they find a slot for it on the telly…sounded like a cracker

    • TSS

      Think it’s just hit about -3 here.

      Hope they show the goal celebrations on the highlights. Truly bizarre stuff from Becchio. Looked a proper tit.

  2. Gryff

    Maybe frustrating that we didn’t get the 3 points, but the other results went our way and we’re still within touching distance of automatic places atm!

  3. Svein-Magne Forsgren

    This is no longer a question of scoring goals. Leeds have produced enough goals this season to top the table.

    We have the everlasting problem with our way of organizing and play defensive and how to control the match. We have to be more grown up in performance and if you every week let your opponent score 1.2 or 3 goals on you, how on earth are you going to get three points.

    The clean sheet last week was pure luck, with shots in woodwork etc from Bristol City and the same poor defending in our own box.

    The defending isn’t about one player, it is about the whole defensive organisation and team performance, and why we still have this problem is beyond me.

  4. Arthur graham Currie curler

    Somma time …. the lad is class – but his attitude and patience is top class

    this kind of record from non starts is unheard of at this club in my 40 years watching Leeds

    what a strike rate – so far for David Somma the player …. better than Clarke, Terry connor, Jordans Hawley Hankin Yeboahs Butterworth Jones Cantona Lorimer …… well done Mr Somma what great start to a career

  5. Arthur graham Currie curler

    before the clever clogs start on me ……re comparisons to players … Im not saying David Somma is as good a player as Alan Clarke or Eric Cantona etc …..I am talking about his ability and record in front of goal …so far in his short career …OK ( well done Larry again for coming out tonight and Praising him – well earned praise indeed and overdue

  6. Arthur graham Currie curler

    I agree with Svein above but i think Norwich are a very good side also – many of the top 6 or 7 are very decent this year for this league … Leicester also

    these teams WILL get goals against you if you are an attacking side who play like we do ….. deal with it and lets tighten up when required

  7. trueyorxman

    Cracking game, shit atmosphere, the Kop was lifeless. I was sat in the NE Upper & it was a real game of chess, both sides trying to outdo each other. Although as a blinkered Leeds fan thought we had the chances to win, spesh Paynter the end. Frustrating atmosphere, as if we don’t really want to go up (which I don’t disagree with) & result. Anyone else there today agree?

    • TSS

      Thought the atmosphere was pretty poor too.

      Definitely two points dropped. There should have been daylight between us by HT.

    • richard

      We were int east stand next to the away fans and all i could hear was them, barely heard the kop at all. The south stand tried sometimes but it never gets going when its separated for the away fans.

  8. Peter Shaw

    simon grayson has done a great job today. If only he had had somma on from the start maybe we would have even won the game.

  9. trueyorxman

    With the remaining home games we need to GO FOR IT if the ‘Club’ really wants to go up. But I’d rather watch a cracking game like todays v Norwich (and many other teams) in the Championship than Fulham, WBA, Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Blackpool (maybe ONCE for the novelty!) in the PL. But the atmosphere today, it’s done my head in! Would people rather pay £30-40 to watch that ‘tosh’? I rather think they would. LUFC 82-90/07-11

  10. Arthur graham Currie curler

    i like the championship its just like the First Division we used to have in the 70s and 80s …honest enough british sides …. and
    not the gulf in foreign players as now in the Prem’ … and money and also not the expectation on managers and players and games to be always so high tempo sell outs etc

    Id like to go up but there are some DULL and FALSE teams in that Prem ….. but if we want to test the Leeds team and the City of Leeds against the Arsenals and Villas Blackpools and Liverpools – ( decent teams on and off the Pitch ‘usually’ ? ) then we have to accept that we will also play some dull teams and false teams ..Man U Man city etc
    I agree with Bates I like Norwich and teams like us with the same mentality and attitude to the ‘Big Time’ Charlies of the Prem

  11. Tim Hodge

    Was an entertaining game, gutted we didn’t manage to take more of our chances – especially in the first half.

    Was fuming at half time, we should have been out of sight. Hopefully we’ll pick up all the points we’re expected to from now on.

    Finally, don’t normally arsed by away fans but thought the Norwich fans were in decent voice today despite the obligatory ‘Leeds Scum’ songs. Surprised it took them a whole two minutes to get to it though.

  12. Svein-Magne Forsgren

    Norwich are a good team yes, but the goals they score on us is not from great play. It is our way of giving 2 points away again.

    We are scoring more goals than any other team, but goals against us is like the three bottom teams.
    This is why we drop points….

    Tuesday evening it is another evening game, and we have lost all but two draws from games started 19.45 in midweek this season.

    Championship is fun, some say, Yes, but if we don’t get out of here quick, Players like Snoddgrass, Howson, Schmeichel, Gradel etc etc will leave. They have ambition to play in the PL, if not the fans or our owners have it.

  13. captaincrash

    Cracking game. TSS is right, Becchio’s ‘dance’ was truly, truly shocking, bring back Superman quickly Luc!!

    Really thought Howson’s effort in 2nd half was goal bound, ditto Paynter’s at the death.

    Hollihan was outstanding but we should have bagged the win today, roll on Tuesday.

  14. Ramblinjohn

    4-5-1 is not defensive necessarily – if you get on the front foot it can be 4-3-3 but we had to have something to deal with hoolahan and lansbury. We could have been 3 or 4 up by half-time but the real problem is defensively: we just can’t seem to shut teams out. We have to get another centre half in I think: someone as good as kisnorbo would have been

  15. Bubiónwhite

    The concensus on here seems to be that we should have been 2/3 up before half time (again). If this is the case why was one of the two striking options who knows where the back of the net is, sitting on the bench until the 73rd minute? Is he only ever to be used to salvage points when others have failed to accomplish. As far as the argument that he can’t play alonside Becchio is concerned I would ask who provided the assist for yesterday’s goal. If the problem lies in midfield, as suggested on several website then SG needs to resolve that problem first and not continue to leave the guy on the bench, particularly at home.

    When Beckford was in the team he given cult status because of his goals … was the remainder of his game any good … NO! Can I suggest that the rest of the Somma knockers get off his back and give him the support he so richly deserves if we want to start to be 2/3 up at half.

    • Craig

      I’m certainly not a Somma-knocker – I’m delighted with his form and attitude – but I have to say that he’s not the same player when he starts a game.

      The fact is that Somma has what it takes to appear in cameo when brought on as a substitute against a tiring side. Top marks for his patience and his natural finishing ability.

      Rightly coached, Somma probably also has the skill and foresight that will put him in the right place at the right time for 90 minutes – just like Beckford was able to do. If he can do this Somma will be a gem because he has a far better eye for the target.

      For now, I back Grayson and the way he is blooding Somma into English football.

  16. trueyorxman

    Sunday Mirror has a fantastic pic of Somma celebrating in front of the Kop with the headline describing the game as ‘El Clasico’!!

  17. Mike

    that’s not you dmitting you buy the sunday mirror is it? You just noticed it in the paper shop whilst picking up your regular Guardian !

  18. Arthur graham Currie curler

    from one trueyorxman to another

    any chance of us seeing the Mirror photo – i cant get out to buy one today ….. often get a Mirror and a ‘fatter’ one if Im out on a sunday ..for the reviews and scores

    it might be on line ?- will go figure

    If not …then how about scanning and emailing us it – or popping it up on the TSS facebook page even ? be good to see it

  19. Colin

    I’ve had time to think about it and digest it and that was an opportunity missed.

    I still think the 4 games in march will make or break us, but Barnsley and Swansea are so important now.

    TSS ‘s point on using a 451 because of Norwich’s threat is a very well raised point. I thought Somma should have been on from the start, but now what do we do for Barnsley? Probably 451 again I guess. But you just can’t keep Somma out of that team, he’s got too many goals in him.

    This was 2 points dropped for Leeds and on this form, the best we can hope for is 1 point against other games with the top 6, and the fact is, that’s not enough for auto promotion.

  20. trueyorxman

    @mike Your right I did read it in the shop, I look at ‘em all after a good result/game. But whats happened to the Yorks Sports Sunday paper I’m used to flicking thru’? & by the way the Guardian is not available on a Sunday, I’m a Telegraph man. David Battys mate at Blackburn I am NOT by the way you cheeky Le Saux & Saux!!

  21. captaincrash

    Enjoyed the chant banter between NE Corner and Kop yetserday – very funny.

  22. Matt BB

    We’re missing that `organiser’ in midfield badly and until thats resolved we will continue to see our defence exposed and the goals against column will continue to work against us, which is not great given how tight it is at the top of the championship.

    As much as this was a geat advert for the championship, it is another example of our lack of organisation letting us down, and quite why we put Paynter on is just beyond me, the poor guy needs to build his confidence thats for sure, but If Becchio had still been on the pitch he would have a.) put that away or b.) Gone down for a penalty – as Whitbread was all over Paynter and he would have got one.

    if it had been up to me I would have taken off Becchio and put someone like Lloyd Sam on and told him to push up and support Somma.

    Feeling is one of real disappointment, and another opportunity lost.

  23. Mark R

    Positives > We’re still in the top six mix,an inspired substitution, Somma continues to impress in the time he’s given on the pitch,a good crowd, an entertaining game.

    Could do better > Another 2 goals conceded,team still wanting defensively with over half the season gone, another 2 points dropped, another score draw,more missed chances rued.

    The ‘could do better’ paragraph could have been written afte rany numbe rof our matches this season.

    Something fundamental needs to change with the way the team is set up defensively – and it’s the midfield the focus is on with this issue.

    We still have a great opportunity but enough now .. stop conceding 2 goals or so per match, and show a mental strength & composure to take our chances, and control matches.


  24. Mark R

    Just gone through the BBC Championship Predictor : see http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_1/predictor/default.stm

    My predicitons are top6 as follows at end of season.

    1.Leeds Utd. 93pts
    2.QPR 92pts
    3.Cardiff 82pts
    4.Swansea 81pts
    5.Nottm F 81pts
    6.Burnley 78pts

    Norwich & Leics to miss out.

    We’ll go to QPR on last day of season, top of the league and secure the Championship with a 1-1- draw.

    Cardiff to play Swansea in the Play Off Final.

    Consistency & the squad will ultimately triumph.

    Happy Days !



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