Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s derby at Sheffield Wednesday.
The defeat at Ipswich served as a reminder to us all that this Leeds side is nowhere near the finished article; at least not if we harbour genuine ambitions of getting out of the Championship.
We have a hard working side that has been bolstered by the addition of Liam Bridcutt giving us drive and energy from midfield and Mustapha Carayol up front but the side still has two areas where we are nowhere near strong enough.
Ipswich showed clearly that defensively we are weak. We have been suspect down the flanks for 18 months now and each time that weakness is exposed and a cross finds its way into our box, a second problem is also highlighted; we have no one who can command that space in the air.
On Tuesday night Ryan Fraser twice got behind us, once waltzing past Wootton and once bamboozling Bellusci.
Each cross was met by the head of an Ipswich player and each ended in our net. Charlie Taylor failed to win his header for the first and no Leeds player was even in the same post code as Brett Pitman for the second. We have been conceding goals like this for too long; it is the proverbial elephant in the room.
The other problem we have is that we don’t create enough openings. We were out-shot 17 to four by Ipswich and we are not giving our strikers enough chances.
Steve Evans keeps telling us we need more quality and until it arrives, results will not be good enough to propel us much above mid-table even though our work rate will, on occasions, throw up an eye-catching result.
At Hillsborough, we have a decent record, apart from that apocalyptic 6-0 thrashing two years ago.
In our last 14 visits we have won six, drawn five and lost three but Wednesday are as strong as we have seen in that time and they will consider they do have a side capable of getting into that top six. If we play to our best, we should bring home a point.
Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leeds United 1.
Ipswich Town’s last-gasp victory over Leeds on Tuesday ended the eight-game unbeaten run stretching back to November.
The 2-1 defeat basically ends any thoughts of catching the teams in the top six, it really wasn’t viable anyway because simply this squad isn’t good enough. Tomorrow, Leeds visit Hillsborough to play Sheffield Wednesday. The scene of a victory last season, the 2-1 win included a rare Steve Morison goal. The Owls have had new owners since that game and have flexed their financial muscles and have a team that has done consistently well and sit just outside the top six.
It wasn’t the defeat that annoyed me so much but the reaction of Steve Evans, who publicly criticised several players. I’m all for a word in private but not in the media. Confidence is a fragile thing and it could have been handled a lot better by the Scotsman.
His continued selection of Scott Wootton at right-back is one thing that needs to stop and the rest of the defence also cannot continue to gift teams goals.
For the game at Wednesday, let’s hope Chris Wood will have recovered from his injury. Evans will hopefully give Carayol and Dallas a opportunity in the wide positions as well as using either Byram or Coyle at right-back.
Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Leeds United 0.
Travelling to Ipswich and back on a Tuesday night in January should have been torment enough but to have to drive back through the night on the back of a last minute Ipswich winner was too much.
Suffice to say it was not a vintage away day.
Luckily, the packed Championship schedule means we wait only a matter of days to have another go but it won’t be easy against an in-form Wednesday team.
Chris Wood has been a big miss for United and, if he returns, it should boost our chances but we need to avoid sitting back like we did at Portman Road at all costs. A tough task lies ahead of us tomorrow.
Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 3 Leeds United 1.
I’m really not confident about tomorrow’s game. The late defeat on Tuesday night will have hurt the players and Steve Evans has got a big job on to try improve the morale. Hopefully, Wood comes back in and Dallas should start in midfield.
Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Leeds United 0.
After the late, late defeat in East Anglia, United have a Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow lunchtime. The Owls sit on the verge of the play-offs so this will be a stern test for the Whites if they are start another unbeaten run and maintain Yorkshire bragging rights. Contrary to the doom mongers I think that there’s still plenty to play for, starting with getting 50 points as soon as possible!
Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Leeds United 2.
The unbeaten run is over and as good as not losing games is for building up confidence, the simple fact of the matter is that Leeds United are not good enough to be considered as genuine promotion contenders.
12 years outside the top flight is begining to take its toll on the loyal support who are feeling fed up with the club being in a constant state of flux. Until a stable, secure and transparent ownership structure is in place, it seems as if we will be forever mired in the middle ranks of the Championship. With our turnover, fanbase and allegedly small budget, why are we constantly fighting to stay afloat?
Our oppenents tomorrow, Sheffield Wednesday, have had similar financial problems, yet they have been able to attract wealthy investment and are well placed for a genuine push for promotion.
Whilst results seem to have improved under Steve Evans, it is worrying how quick he is to crticise the players in public if results do not go his way, a trait that is a painful reminder of Neil Warnock, and we all know had badly it went for him at Elland Road.
Evans says that tomorrow’s game is a must-win if Leeds are to be in the push for a play-off place. We are closer to the relegation places than the promotion race. It’s a game Leeds will be lucky to get a point in, and that is sad state of affairs.
Prediction: Sheff Wednesday 3 Leeds United o.