Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s clash at Hull City.
I have said from time to time that football is a funny old game and it is. How, after three wins, you can lose three and draw one, then win another three on the spin only the football fates know the answer to – and they’re keeping it a secret.
Let us have no bones about this season; it’s not been a good one and 19 points from 30 recently do not put plasters over wounds too big to cover. The club is still a mess off the field, whether the accounts say it or not. Being on the front pages of newspapers is not the way to convince fans to dip once again into their pockets to see it happen again. There has to be a plan and that has to include an owner that doesn’t crave publicity like our current owner seems to thrive on.
On the field, a man I didn’t give much credit to has driven this squad of players to the middle of the Championship, a couple of wins away from achieving part two of his strategy. His first is already done as Leeds are safe from any fears of relegation. He deserves respect for this very fact.
Before he came it looked very different to what we see now. He’s not perfect with his line-ups or tactics, but his heart is there for all to see and he, at least, deserves a chance to finish what he has started. Well done Steve Evans.
It remains to be seen if the season-ticket offer is to be taken up. A few questions already have surfaced about the proposed refund if a play-off place is not achieved come May next season.
But even the sceptics, myself included at least, see it as a step in the right direction. We need to, at least, give the Italian a chance with what seems like an olive branch to the fans who oppose him.
Lewis Cook’s award as Young Player of the Championship is a superb award for the performances of a gifted midfielder and has been one of the stars of this season. Another player who seems to have improved is Liam Cooper. The centre-back – picked for the Scottish squad last month – has improved his game under Evans. With additions, I firmly believe we can at least get to the play-offs and stop Massimo Cellino refunding our season ticket money.
Leeds travel to Hull City tomorrow and, with the East Yorkshire team vying for the top two places, it will not be an easy game. I saw enough in the Reading game to make me think Leeds will be no pushovers even against a team going for promotion. Liam Bridcutt may be key, if picked, as I see the midfield as decisive. Chris Wood has led the line well in the recent wins over Reading and Wolves and could also be a key player.
With a little luck, I can see Leeds at least sharing the points on Saturday.
Prediction: Hull City 1 Leeds United 1.
Until Tuesday night I was going to be forecasting a defeat for the ‘Mighty Whites’ at Hull, even on the back of those wins against Reading and Birmingham.
Those were decent wins but both were nervy and both only confirmed what we already know. We are a half-decent side with a soft defence and a tendency to miss the few good chances we create, but when everything goes for us we can beat anyone.
But on Tuesday night against Wolves something was different. Our second-half performance was, at times, sensational.
We tore Wolves apart for much of the half, albeit due to a bit of bad luck and that problem we have in putting the ball in the net.
We still had to ride out another nervy final 20 minutes or so. The questions are: Was that a one off? Were Wolves a very poor side? Or, did we turn a metaphorical corner last night?
Prediction: Hull City 2 Leeds United 2.
United fans will look on enviously tomorrow as Hull City play out an exciting end to a campaign that, for them, could still have promotion at the end of it.
Our dreams of promotion this season fell by the wayside months ago but the club have shown good intent this week with a gamble on next season’s ticket income that we have to pray is well calculated.
Our recent three-match winning streak has come at the expense of clubs who, like us, are stranded in no-man’s land. It will be good, this week, for us to gauge our levels of performance against a group of players who still have everything to play for. Lucky things.
Prediction: Hull City 2 Leeds United 1.
If we can perform like we did against Hull earlier on in the season then we can definitely come away with something. Their play-off place is sealed so Steve Bruce might swap things about to keep their squad fresh so it’s a good chance for us to take advantage.
Prediction: Hull City 0 Leeds United 2.
Spring is in the air and there is a definite feel of the end of term about Leeds United at the moment, and for once we appear to be ending on a high. Whilst ownership issues remain a cloud hanging over the club, the season ticket news this week is an encouraging sign of a determined push for promotion next season. Or is it just another cash grab to cover short term cashflow problems over the summer? I’ll let you all decide.
Trying to remain positive, Leeds played some of the best football seen at Elland Road in months during the win over Wolves. It’s another frustration that we are in with a shout of finishing in the top half (which was Uwe Rosler’s stated aim at the start of the season) despite another campaign riddled by instability on and off the field. In my opinion we are not a million miles away from really competing at the top end of the table.
However, let’s not pretend that Reading and Wolves were good sides. Although we won both games, the standard of opponent was at the weaker end of the spectrum. A real measure of how we stand will come on Saturday, as we take on a Hull side looking to regroup for the play-off campaign that awaits them. Leeds should go in full of confidence and might just catch the Tigers at the right time. I fancy us to grab a point to keep the momentum going, for at least another week!
Prediction: Hull City 1 Leeds United 1.
Fresh from their most comprehensive performance of the season, United go for four wins on the bounce at Hull. A significant test as the Tigers have lost only one league fixture at home all season. No pressure on Leeds, so a chance to express themselves.
Prediction: Hull City 3 Leeds United 2.