Aside from the opening day horror show at Southampton, August has been a month of excellent performances failing to yield the desired result. 

Our final game of the month away to Ipswich Town sums August up quite well. In front from a Ross McCormack goal and cruising at half-time, Aidy White sees red early in the second half and the game is turned on it’s head. What should have been a comfortable victory ends in a 2-1 defeat.

It was a similar story v Middlesbrough too where red cards cost us dearly. Jonny Howson can have few complaints about his own sending off, whilst Max Gradel should have been taking a much more cautious approach after picking up an extremely soft yellow in the opening few minutes. With balanced teams, Leeds were far superior to a poor Boro side and this should have ended in victory. But with nine men left on the field, Leeds couldn’t hold Boro off despite the heroic goalkeeping of Andy Lonergan.

Add the six points we should have picked up from those two to the additional two we could easily have left Upton Park with had it not been for a missed Max Gradel penalty and a Patrick Kisnorbo own goal and Leeds would have ended the month tied for second place. Instead, we end August in 19th with just 4 points from the opening 5 fixtures.

“Coulda, woulda, shoulda” doesn’t wash with football fans though. The red cards were sloppy and unnecessary, penalties have been a problem now for far too long and our tendency to score own goals is worrying. These are all issues that need to be addressed.

There has been a lot of positives to take from this month however. As our goal of the month video shows, Leeds United are still a team capable of scoring from almost anywhere despite the absence of Luciano Becchio and Davide Somma.

Ramon Nunez has burst onto the scene with five goals already and still can’t make our first team, such is the strength of our midfield. Adam Clayton has been an absolute revelation in central midfield, forming a formidable partnership with Jonny Howson whilst Robert Snodgrass seems to be back to his best and Max Gradel is as unstoppable as ever.

The signing of Andy Keogh and a return to 4-4-2 seems to have resolved our striker crisis with Ross McCormack already on four for the season. With Ramon Nunez on five and already struggling to find a place, you have to wonder where Somma and Becchio would slot back in at this point.

Even the defence has shown signs of improvement. Patrick Kisnorbo and Darren O’Dea in the middle of Aidy White and the sensational Tom Lees is the strongest defensive back-line we’ve seen in some time. The inexperience of our two young wingers has been costly at times, but there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about this set-up.

In the league, the only two games I left feeling the scorelines were worthy of the performance was Southampton away and Hull City at home. For me, the 4-1 demolition of the Tigers (ra, ra, ra) is the only true reflection of how good this team can be. Without the red cards, missed penalties and own goals we’d probably be fantasising about automatic promotion right about now.

And as difficult as that statement may be to swallow, it does offer some cause for optimism as we head into September. It’s all about ironing out the creases for The Whites – if we can do that, few teams are going to run us of the park this season.

Picture courtesy of MAMF