Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 3-0 defeat to Middlesbrough and look ahead to the home clash with Wolves on Wednesday.
With three thousand fans defying the authorities advice not to travel after overnight chaos on the roads, you would have thought the Leeds players would have been determined to give them a show they’d never forget.
Well, they did in a manner of speaking. Seldom has a Leeds side looked so inept as this; weak in the tackle, unable to control the ball and unable to pick the simplest of passes; this was a horror show up there with the likes of Hereford and Sutton, another game that will be forever etched in the minds of our long suffering fans.
That an average striker of the ilk of Patrick Bamford could be presented with his first ever hat-trick tells us all we need to know about the performance of the Leeds defence – all three goals were the result of inadequate and naïve defensive decision making. We made Middlesbrough look a far better side than they really are as we allowed them to dictate all over the pitch.
Goodness only knows what will happen on Wednesday night when a really good side visits Elland Road; Wolves arrive as champions elect and if we don’t pull our socks up for that one it could also join the ranks of the never to be forgotten disasters; think Preston and Forest in the last few years.
Man of the match: Gaetano Berardi.
Well below zero, the fans wrapped up warm and indeed, even the game was wrapped up by half-time.
‘We’ll keep the white flag flying high’ sang the fans. The players were waving the white flag long before that.
So, let us too wave Auf Wiedersehen to our goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald. Feebly flapping at crosses as if he were waving off passengers of The Titanic. The distress flare went up early. We were marooned in our own six-yard box. Wave after wave of Boro pressure, defenders bailing out for corner after corner. Panic stations as usual, as the ball failed to find the safe haven of the keeper’s hands.
And this game was never at any point, in our hands.
We waved at Adama Traore steaming through our middle, met with no resistance.
No resistance, indeed, if every game were as stress-free for Boro as this, Tony Pulis would have a full head of wavy hair by the end of the season. We finally, inevitably, with our inherent flaws, with our future as uncertain as our floundering keeper, wave goodbye to 2017-18.
Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.
The last time Leeds travelled up to Teesside (2015) it was a game to forget, three years later so was this.
I cannot understand this squad at all, one week they can play like a ‘team’ then the week after like strangers. Most of the players apart from a few need a good kick up their proverbial backsides!
I’ve said all along that this ‘so-called’ football team isn’t good enough, it’s one of the worst squads I’ve ever had the displeasure to pay to watch. Too many just aren’t up to playing this standard of football, why Paul Heckingbottom is persisting with a goalkeeper that struggles week after week is totally beyond me. The midfield two of Eunan O’Kane and Kalvin Phillips is weak and doesn’t work, I could go on but I’m just getting annoyed by doing so.
Wednesday brings the visit of the best team that Leeds have played this season – Wolves. Last time we crossed paths, they put four past us and even though they haven’t been playing as well recently I fear if they get in front early in the game Leeds could be on the end of another beating.
I’ve no confidence at all in this squad and with the season gone it’s time the youngsters in the under-23s should be given a few games, they can hardly do any worse than the first team are doing!
Man of the match: The long-suffering supporters.
For the first half hour at the Riverside, the Whites held out.
The selection of the mercurial Patrick Bamford as an out-and-out striker for Middlesbrough was also a surprise. This supremely skilful player is not a battering ram and does not usually score bags of goals. However due to United’s frailty in defence and midfield, Bamford was to have a field day and record the first hat-trick of his career.
By half-time, the game was effectively over. Bamford slotted home his first shot with ease from Stewart Downing’s pass. Five minutes later Anita had been overrun by Adama Traore and from the resultant cross, Bamford hit the ball towards Felix Wiedwald who did a ‘Gary Sprake’ and allowed the ball to go under his body and into the net.
Although United contained Boro better in the second half, they were bereft of any attacking ideas. Bamford completed his hat-trick from a clearly offside position but if Leeds were allowed a further hour on the pitch, they still wouldn’t have scored. At least there can now be no delusions about a play-off place.
Man of the match: The long-suffering supporters.
Leeds United were never at the races in the 90 minutes of freezing cold ‘entertainment’ we enjoyed (or endured) on Teesside on Friday night.
As one of my fellow fans pointed out to me, Boro’s keeper barely touched the ball, and that summed up how well they negated the feeble threat that United posed.
In the other goalmouth, Felix Wiedwald hardly had a touch of the ball either but, in his case, that was the problem.
The German keeper has been under fire for months and I have been prone to giving him the benefit of the doubt but, what there is no doubt of, is that he has cost us more points than he has won this season.
The thing you need more than anything after such a dismal display is a visit from the runaway leaders so, lucky for us, we’ve got just that on Wednesday night when Wolverhampton Wanderers come to Elland Road.
Things will get worse before they get better and I think two heavy defeats on the bounce are very likely.
Man of the match: Liam Cooper.