23rd for goals from open play: Leeds United’s accuracy woes revealed

Steve Evans.
Steve Evans.
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Leeds United’s 1-1 draw against Bolton on Saturday laid bare the Whites’ issues with finishing this season.

The Elland Road club had 12 shots in the match, more than Botlon who could only manage eight, Both sides hit three on target.

Mirco Antenucci fouled, winning a penalty on Saturday.

Mirco Antenucci fouled, winning a penalty on Saturday.

Leeds had to rely on a penalty from Mirco Antenucci to earn a point after Shola Ameobi opened the scoring for Bolton.

At no point have Leeds been particularly bad at creating chances this season, but it is their inability to be clinical in front of goal that is causing particular issue.

Since the start of the season, Leeds rank 12th in the Championship for the amount of shots taken, taking 12.7 per game.

However, when the amount of shots on target are ranked, Leeds sit 21st in the division, managing 3.6 on target every match.

Chris Wood celebrates after scoring a penalty against Fulham

Chris Wood celebrates after scoring a penalty against Fulham

By way of comparison, Championship leaders Brighton top the charts, hitting 5.2 shots on target per game.

That suggests that the team are struggling with accuracy, something that is reflected by the nature of Leeds’ goals this season.

Antenucci’s penalty was the second to earn Leeds a draw in a week - Chris Wood converted from 12 yards against Fulham to cancel out Moussa Dembele’s strike.

While Leeds are the 18th most prolific team in the Championship, scoring 12 goals all season, that tally is boosted by the fact that the club are the division’s penalty kings, converting four.

Worryingly for Steve Evans, Leeds have only scored five goals from open play all season in the league, the second lowest total in the second tier, ranking only above Thursday’s opponents Blackburn Rovers.

It is an issue that Noel Whelan has noticed and commented upon in his weekly column for the Yorkshire Evening Post.

READ MORE - Noel Whelan on Leeds United

He wrote: “We created more chances in the Fulham game than I’d seen in probably the last three games with Uwe Rosler in charge.

“But the worry is that when we are making these chances we are not putting them away and we need to start scoring more goals from free play.

“At the moment, it’s set pieces where we are getting goals from and it’s not because we haven’t had chances because we have.

“We just need to be a little bit more ruthless in front of goal.”

Whelan’s words and the reality of the statistics need to be noted by Leeds, who have to work on their accuracy if they want to pull away from the relegation zone.