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Leeds United v Watford: YEP jury verdict

FAIR EFFORT: United midfielder David Norris was one of the few players to emerge with any credit from Saturdays 6-1 battering at the hands of Watford. PIC: James Hardisty

FAIR EFFORT: United midfielder David Norris was one of the few players to emerge with any credit from Saturdays 6-1 battering at the hands of Watford. PIC: James Hardisty

The YEP jury provide their verdict on Leeds United’s clash Watford at Elland Road.

DAVID GOODWILL

How do you pick the bones out of that result? Forty years of watching football doesn’t prepare you for an afternoon like Saturday which at times was surreal and hours after the game I think am still in shock.

Neil Warnock had indicated that the formation would be positive but few could understand the logic of a back three including Paul Green, ultimately sacrificed following the loss of Jason Pearce, harshly given a red card, which removed two of our better players at one go.

Blocked

The match could have so easily taken a different course had Luke Varney not blocked a goal- bound effort from David Norris and then missed an excellent opportunity when the numbers were equal.

The opening goal came courtesy of misunderstanding between the back three, stood statuesque, hands raised looking for an two offside flags that never came. Watford to that point looked what they are, an ordinary side with a dash of individual flair expected of a side coached by Gianfranco Zola.

A catalogue of injuries meant five additional minutes before half-time but within two minutes of the restart the destiny of the points were decided.

A double substitution introduced Ryan Hall and Michael Brown but a horrific injury to crowd favourite Rodolph Austin saw him depart to hospital and the remaining men had to overturn a goal deficit with nine men.

Despite a gallant effort tiredness told and Leeds were latterly picked of with aplomb when they ventured forward in any number.

There was a communal groan as 10 additional minutes were added to rub salt in to the wounds but those remaining afforded the players an appreciative salute, particularly young Sam Byram who was outstanding in a lost cause.

Whisper it quietly but Leeds are in a relegation contest now in my view with key players missing, injured and suspended and a fixture list where points look scarce.

At these times supporters start pointing the finger and judging by the number of incidents in the stands at the weekend many have reached breaking point with the takeover now reaching farcical proportions.

Quite how long it takes to dot an ‘i’ and cross a ‘t’ is beyond me, surely less time than to post purile tweets for months on end whilst the encumbent hierarchy remain tight-lipped having sung like a canary at every previous opportunity over recent years.

The uncertainty is creating anxiety on and off the pitch and now detrimental to the club both parties insist they wish to see prosper.

Leeds United has been a poisoned chalice for many a manager and Mr Warnock cuts a forlorn figure on the sidelines hands in pocket, stirring occasionally to berate the fourth official with some justification when the Watford defender conceding the penalty and already booked should have left the field.

His post match analysis was understandably downbeat with the injury to Austin but that masked a much bigger problem which will require all his skill and experience to extract our great club from the proverbial.

KEITH INGHAM

A game destined for the rubbish bin in which nine men, yes the nine men of Leeds were ripped apart by Zola’s Watford.

So again the fans are treated to another battering at home, it’s becoming an annual event!

The Leeds team showed changes from the Burnley game with Green brought in but surprisingly alongside Lee Peltier and Pearce as Neil Warnock opted to go with a 3-5-2 formation, with White and Byram as wing-backs, Michael Tonge, David Norris and Austin in the centre with El-Hadji Diouf and Luke Varney up front. Out-of-sorts Luciano Becchio and Ryan Hall were on the bench along with youngster Chris Dawson.

Leeds started brightly with both Norris and Varney going close while Byram was using his pace to get forward at every opportunity.

But Watford broke quickly and Matej Vydra scored on 27 minutes and worse was to follow when Jason Pearce was dismissed for a poor challenge just on half-time. Lees replaced Green.

The second half brought a injury to Rudolph Austin, who fell in the area and was carried off with a suspected broken leg. Brown and Hall had replaced Diouf and White at half-time so Leeds were down to nine men. Watford capitalised after that with five more goals and Tonge getting a solitary goal back.

I feel for Warnock but as I said on Friday the business side needs to be sorted before a relegation fight starts to become a possibility or even worse.

A really bad day at the office.

Man of the Match: Sam Byram.

GARY NEWBOULD

Nine-man United fell to yet another home defeat against Watford.

Just before half-time and with the Whites trailing 1-0, Leeds were reduced to 10 men when Jason Pearce was harshly shown a red card by referee Trevor Kettle, when a booking should have done.

With Warnock having completed all his substitutions and then Austin going off, Watford scored five more, with Tonge’s penalty scant consolation.

The longer this takeover fiasco continues, the more points are dropped, the more confidence evaporates, the further down the league we go. Presumably the selling price also falls as League One looks more likely than the Premier League.

STEPHEN CLARK

Neil Warnock seems to be running out of sensible ideas, as his selection and tactics bordered on the bizarre at times against Watford.

The use of Green on the right of a back three was a strange one, as was the decision to replace him with Tom Lees when Pearce was dismissed, rather than taking off a midfielder. A double substitution at half-time left Leeds vulnerable to any injuries, which duly happened to Austin.

Neil Warnock hoped for one more promotion on his CV before his retirement. It is looking more and more likely that should he remain in charge, it will be from League One rather than back to the Premier League.

SHAUN HARRIS

Lowest of lows at the moment for Leeds United following an embarrassing 6-1 defeat against Watford.

Times are getting desperate for the Whites both on and off the field and with a tough trip to Millwall to come next followed by home games against Crystal Palace and Leicester, it’s a real struggle to see where the next point will come from at the moment.

Neil Warnock must draw on all of his exprience to lift United at Millwall, but with several players missing it could be another tough afternoon for the Leeds fans who made their frustrations known during Saturday’s game.

BEN SCOTT

Elland Road was a pathetic place on Saturday as a crowd of less than 20,000 saw nine-man United hammered by Watford.

The Pearce and Austin incidents or not, we are now a rudderless, shambolic club and is seems after every home game our attendances dwindle and our standing in the table drops.

We are not going forward and to do this we need cash to spend on squad strengthening.

Leeds were a mid-table second tier outfit in the late 1980s, but with the right investment by the board, Howard Wilkinson was able to build a team which not only went up but went on to win the First Division title too.

 

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