FRESH from witnessing a cracking opening day contest at Elland Road, the YEP’s Lee Sobot looks at five things we learned from the visit of Burnley.
Leeds finally have wingers
What seems to have been a problem for a very long time finally seems to have been solved with the arrival of Stuart Dallas on the left flank and the continued development of Sam Byram on the right.
Dallas was clearly not fully fit with head coach Uwe Rosler contemplating starting his new arrival on the bench but the 24-year-old still impressed, giving United some much needed balance, and the new recruit was unlucky not to score.
Byram, meanwhile, looked United’s best player in the first half and is looking like a natural right winger.
United’s only problem on the wing front will be if one of the two becomes injured. Souleymane Doukara, Luke Murphy and Alex Mowatt are among those who can and have played out wide but Byram and Dallas look natural wide men who give the side perfect equilibrium and balance.
United are firmly in the promotion race
The bookies don’t fancy United to go up this season - the Whites are as big as 14-1 to win promotion with Sky Bet - but on Saturday’s evidence there is no reason why elevation cannot be achieved.
Yes, it’s a long shot and Leeds will need lady luck, especially on the injuries front, but Burnley were arguably lucky to escape with a point and it would be a major surprise if the Clarets are not in the top six. If United can win at Reading on Sunday then the wheels could be in motion for a top six finish.
The club have a new David Batty
Okay, not quite, but new signing Tom Adeyemi was quietly very effective in the defensive midfield role behind Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook. As new YEP columnist Noel Whelan alluded to, Adeyemi is not a flashy or flair player and to many he will go unnoticed. But Whelan himself compared the 23-year-old to fulfilling a Batty-type role and Leeds might just have raided Cardiff City to unearth a developing gem.
The crowds are firmly on side
Quite clearly Leeds are always well supported - home and away - by the best, most loyal fans in the country. But to get an attendance of 27,672 for a lunch-time kick-off that was a season opener on Sky was still impressive. It’s repeatedly stated but the importance of United’s support can never be over-emphasised though nor should it be taken for granted. Leeds have huge momentum and the club need to build on Saturday’s crowd and start trying to bring in 30,000. It’s doable, especially with Rosler’s men performing like they did against Burnley.
Chris Wood needs support - and don’t forget Mirco Antenucci
New striker Chris Wood is a firm favourite to be United’s top scorer this term but on Saturday’s evidence Antenucci will give him a run for his money. The Italian looked razor sharp from the first minute of being introduced as a substitute and his 83rd-minute strike which looked to have bagged all three points was an absolute gem. The goal of the weekend no less. Wood can’t produce miracles on his own and needs increased support from United’s midfield - another point we learned on Saturday - and it’s not a given that United start with only one up front. Wood and Antenucci could both play - indeed they did on Saturday for the last seven minutes - but that would mean altering the current starting formation and system.
But however Rosler opts to play it, Leeds still have a goal hungry and very talented striker in Antenucci whose pearler will live long in the memory of those present for Saturday’s season opener.