When that whistle blows at 3pm tomorrow afternoon, all Hell will be unleashed. 30,000 baying voice as one; a wall of sound, a veritable crescendo of pure, raw and visceral emotion. Leeds’ new ‘legiona stranieri’ will know what it is like to feel the heat of the M62 Derby with the noisy neighbours from the Kirklees area. Last year’s corresponding fixture at Elland Road started like the majority of fixtures we have had this season in that we went behind; Danny Ward opening Huddersfield’s account on 25 minutes.

The thing is, it’s not that goal that sticks in the psyche of Leeds’ fans; it was quite a good goal; Ward inside the area, makes space for himself and shoots from the left-side about 10 yards out and across Paddy Kenny into the right-hand side of the goal. No, it was the Leeds response that they remember; a response kick-started by Ross McCormack’s 45th minute equaliser as part of a personal hat-trick from him. Other goals were a 50th minute effort from Jimmy Kebe, yes the Jimmy Kebe, and an 82nd minute coup de grace from Alex Mowatt.

If the Terriers had been an actual dog, they’d have been put down at the end of this game and Leeds United would have been hounded by the RSPCA for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. Fast forward to Saturday 20th September and thoughts turn to what Huddersfield team is going to turn up.

Leeds vs. Huddersfield – comparison of 2014/15 season

Leeds-Hudds head-to-head

What it seems we should expect is a pretty equal contest in certain areas between two ‘on paper’ seemingly even-matched teams. The only massive differences between the two teams are in two areas: ‘goals conceded’ and ‘chances created’. As it stands going into Saturday’s game Leeds have conceded an average of 1.43 goals per game whereas Huddersfield have been breached, on average, 2.31 times per game. Now, whilst statistics can mean very little at times, maybe this will give Leeds fans a little uplift knowing that Huddersfield have a defence that can be breached and has been with some regularity this season. In the last 3 games Huddersfield have conceded 6 goals, whereas Leeds have only conceded 2 times over the same number of games.  In terms of chances created, Huddersfield, with 85 chances,  have created 37 (77%) more chances than Leeds have (48) over the opening 7 games of the season . Now I like my numbers; strange though as I am not a big fan of Maths lessons but of the chances created, Leeds have turned a higher percentage into goals (14.60%) than Huddersfield (8.20%).

The thing Huddersfield will have to be wary of is the fact that Leeds not only come into Saturday’s game on the back of a 3 game unbeaten sequence (WDW) where they have conceded only 0.67 goals per game and have a vastly improved performance in both defence and midfield. Defensively, Leeds have been much more solid since Guiseppe Bellusci paired up with Jason Pearce in the centre of defence – Bellusci’s steel seemingly having a positive effect on Pearce’s performances. Behind them, Huddersfield will find perhaps one of, if not the, most consistent  goalkeeper in the Championship over the last 3 games in Marco Silvestre. I said in one of my first ever blog pieces that Silvestre was a shot-stopper and this can be seen in the last 3 appearances he has made. Silvestre has 18 saves over the opening 7 games but a return of 15 saves over his last 3 games and, combined with an improved defensive effort, this has resulted in only two goals conceded at a rate of 7.5 saves per goal. Huddersfield, it seems, will be meeting an improving Leeds United with an impressive stopper between the sticks in Marco Silvestre.

OK, I admit it, I might have been wrong in recent criticisms of the Leeds United midfield quartet in articles both on this forum and elsewhere. Well, if taking into account the vastly improved Leeds midfield four in the game against Bournemouth then, yes, I was wrong.

Leeds midfield passing vs Bournemouth

Leeds mid - Bouurnemouth

Graphic – Squawka.com

I accused Leeds’ midfield of playing tiki taka toe poke football with their passing and of being uncreative and stuttering in the fact they couldn’t get the ball adequately into attacking areas in the opposition final of the pitch; the so-called ‘red zone‘. The above graphic illustrates that not only is the ball being played into the depths of the Bournemouth attacking third (mainly the left-hand edge of the box but there were 9 passes into the box itself (3 accurate, 1 assist, 1 key chance and 4 unsuccessful passes).

Whatever Huddersfield team turns up, whatever formation they adopt, Leeds United fans are hoping for the ‘Redfearn-Run’ to continue and for 3 points to be the ultimate outcome. Hopefully these Terriers can be tamed and sent back whimpering with their tails between their legs.


29 Responses

  1. spellz

    Should be a comfortable result I feel, we are in great form atm and actually playing very decent football, what is more important, the numbers in positions we have, everyone is fighting for their place atm and it is definitely affecting performances, Dakoura was mercurial against Bournemouth hope to see him on the pitch and as for our goal conceded average of 0.67 in the last 3 that is definitely down to Silvestre who has been a human wall, for gods sake give him a little less to do today, please.

    • Graham

      He’s not had much to do today hasn’t Silvestri – Austin’s looking good though.

      • spellz

        He didn’t have to do a lot thankfully, accomplished team performance today I am a bit disappointed Redders did not take off Beradi or Bellusci by half time both were on yellows I felt between them a red was inevitable but wow what a transformation, Darko will have a lot to do to match Redders form lets hope he is the right man anyway, brilliant 3 points.

      • Rebel White

        I totally agree with you spellz about Berardi being substituted before he was red carded. Redfearn should have acted, especially at two nil and with Byram on the bench. Berardi has faced the best players in the opposing teams over the three last games, Shea of Birmingham, Grey of Bournemouth and the left winger for Huddersfield today and once your on a card with these guys raiding down the wing you are in serious trouble.

      • spellz

        Exactly and with two of our main defenders on yellows it was only going to risk a one match ban for someone , unfortunately the inevitable happened and Beradi who I thought has been excellent in recent games put in the silly challenge at 3-0 up and was rightfully sent off, just unnecessary. One positive is Byram might start and we can see how he comes along.

  2. Helen LUFC

    Does Graham Smearon get a prize for coming out with the biggest load if verbal diarreah ever? He should be writing Mills and Boons stories his articles are so flowery. Either that or he’s aiming to be statto of the year? Can’t the Scratching Shed boot him off and get someone better to write for them?

    • The Author

      I am sorry if my flowery prose offends you Helen LUFC. I’m sure that the Admin would love contributions from esteemed writers such as your good self; you should send an article to them for consideration. Before you do, would you mind if I gave you a few pointers?
      1. It’s ‘of verbal’ not ‘if verbal’
      2. It’s spelled ‘diarrhoea’
      3. You need an apostrophe in Mills and Boon’s to show their ownership of the ‘stories’ you refer to
      4. The sentence beginning ‘Either that…’ isn’t a question so doesn’t need a question mark
      5. They probably can boot me off and get someone better; maybe that someone is you!

      Anyway, thank you for the considered comments and I hope you take these grammatical lessons on board when writing your first piece for The Scratching Shed (it needs a capital T as it’s part of its title).

      I hope the sun shines brightly under your particular bridge in Internet Troll Land.

      Stop being so angry and enjoy your weekend.

      • spellz

        The English teacher schools another, that is the end of today’s lesson children haha.

      • spellz

        Yes that is the British way to be malicious indirectly, I guess we are too kind as people.

    • henrymouni

      Oh Hells Bells!
      It is nice to have someone who can really write, and tries to give a balanced view.
      You seem very angry Helen.
      Brian McDermott is not coming back!!
      Another excellent display today.

      Graham’s new book:-

      • spellz

        “Brian McDermott is not coming back”

        Ah man too funny, is this person real or a troll? I am just not sure anymore.

      • Graham

        I’m guessing the latter spellz; a troll.
        I don’t bite at trolls, let them have their fun – if that’s what floats their boats then so be it.

        Talking of bridges where trolls live; do you know there is a Tickle Cock Bridge in Castleford?

      • spellz

        That is one hell of a bridge lol, I am sure plenty of the young lads take their girlfriends there haha, no I am actually from London so I am not familiar with too many geographical locations outside of here. :)

      • spellz

        Haha unreal, that is one for the dirty area and road sign archives. :)

  3. Rebel White

    I’ve made the point here and elsewhere that today will be different. To date teams playing us have expected to win. They have all believed the simple line from numerous media sources that we are a shambles – no manager, new “mad” owner, fifteen new players all from European lower leagues, etc. Today, Huddersfield have a fair idea that they are facing a Leeds team with their tails up and are knitting together as a unit. Add to this that the feeling among the support is one of nearly giddy optimism, mainly because there’s been no optimism for years about the club, and they know they should be in for a torrid afternoon. To deal with this they will defend deep and in numbers and hope to hit us on the break. We need to approach this game with patience and cunning. One nil will do. We shouldn’t throw the kitchen sink to either score really early or for the extra goals to make it look any better than it needs to be. I feel Sloth, Adryan and Sharp could be key today to open the terriers packed defence. Really should be a win for us but I’m always cagey of Yorkshire opposition, they have a habit of hurting us, often out of spite!!
    As for the article, I thought it was well written and certainly makes you think with regards to our style of play.

    • Graham

      Thank you Rebel White – opening half hour we look like Reál Leeds – some really s**t player called Rodolph Austin scored apparently.

      The passing and movement is a pleasure to watch. Antenucci looks good.

      • Rebel White

        Great team performance! The confidence and understanding is growing. What a pleasure to watch after years of drivel. I’d have to pick out Austin, Bianchi and Antenucci as being really top performers today. And, in spite of what I’ve said previously, Warnock was rock solid today and passed forward accurately nearly all day. Do you think he reads the comments on The Scratching Shed?? On and on!

      • Graham

        Warnock only 4 missed passes; 1 was a clearance into touch. Agreed on the watching pleasure – it’s the movement into space to receive and distribute that’s go me purring.

  4. PMH

    The Smeaton analysis turned out to be pretty accurate. Leeds looked interested in scoring and took their chances at every opportunity, Huddersfield had more possession and created more chances, but were pathetic in front of the net. Football is determined by goals and not possession, so I’ll take the goals any day. Having said which, Leeds were fortunate to be facing a team lacking confidence up front because they did not look strong in midfield, especially without the ball.

    “We’re going to win the league.” It’s nice to have a good run of results for a change, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This team still needs a lot of work.

    • Graham

      Thanks for the reply – much appreciated to know people don’t think I’m a total crank.

      Possession is a weird thing; you need it to create chances, shots and goals but you need to make sure that you’re creative with it – we weren’t until Redfearn took over. Now we are playing better, passing with purpose and playing through balls.

      To be honest, we weren’t passing with frequency under BMD and at least Hockaday got that right.

      We still give up too many shooting chances but at least we are shooting back.

      Defensively we are improving; high number of interceptions showing awareness and ability to read game (Warnock with 5, Bellusci 6 and Pearce 5) – we’re getting there.

      I thought the whole back line looked pretty comfortable on the ball.

      Yes we’ll come accross more able teams than the Dogbotherers from Kirklees but it’s nice to know we’re gelling.

    • Alberto

      We might not win the league but the team is improving & still has lots of improvement to come. Some of these boys are actually decent players for a change.

      Nothing has been achieved yet but Optimism beats the pessimism any day.

  5. Helen LUFC

    Great article, Graham! Loved the fresh approach to the usual dross from the scratching shed writers, truly interesting comments from a new writer that has a long term future in kens hes nsu. Good descriptions, of, particularly about dogs, terriers, RSPCA in there somewhere?! horses, interesting statistics about 1:2 goal keeping timings compared to the outfield players and time spent on the pitch, as opposed to subs that haven’t used. Graham is similar in style to Brabara Cartland, I agree, but offers more depth and balance to her often over simplistic views of modern day socioeconomic lifestyle in the west. Graham is to writing that enemas are to constipation.


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