Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s 4-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
Well, that wasn’t in the script was it? Leeds have finally paid the price for a failing that has been apparent for weeks; we’ve been dominating the possession during our games without actually converting that into clear cut chances and goals.
We had almost three times the amount of ball that the Albion had and yet they managed 20 shots at goal compared to only 15 by Leeds. When they got their chances they were ruthless in putting them away too, with four different strikers each getting on the scoresheet – Hal Robson-Kanu, Matt Phillips, Harvey Barnes and Dwight Gayle. At the other end Leeds typically blasted theirs wide or high of the target.
This needs to be a wake-up call for Leeds, we have to find a way to make our possession of the ball count as we did in those early season games. The decision to leave out Samuel Saiz seemed to make sense at the time as he was being wasteful of that possession Marcelo Bielsa craves so much, but without him we are then left bereft of those moments of Saiz magic which can create a goal from nothing, just as we saw when he came on late in this game. It’s a dilema we need to resolve.
Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.
Over the course of any season you’re always going to get results like that, no matter who you are. If it was going to come against anyone, it was going to be the league’s top scorers.
The Baggies set out with a game plan that Leeds couldn’t handle from an early stage – overloading their own half and playing on the break.
It worked a treat and their pressure stopped Leeds from playing the eye-catching football we’ve come to expect.
In fact, the Baggies’ high-intensity style was somehow reminiscent of how Marcelo Bielsa has set Leeds up this season.
Individual errors were rife across the board, but more worryingly, United didn’t adapt and they couldn’t find a way of playing through West Brom.
But, this was one game. It’s the first time in 17 Championship games that they’ve been outplayed which is a testament to how good Leeds have been overall.
With the international break now upon us, Bielsa and his squad have an opportunity to regroup.
Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.
West Brom provided us with our biggest test of the season so far and it was a test that we failed in spectacular fashion.
There was nothing particularly unusual about United’s performance, perhaps we were a bit sluggish and a bit sloppier than normal with our passing, but we saw plenty of the ball, got into some very good attacking positions and struggled to turn those moments into attempts on goal. Just as we’ve come to expect.
West Brom showed strength, speed and opportunism to break on United time and time again and were more ruthless in front of goal than we have been all season. There should be no panic or knee-jerk reaction to this result. We won’t face a team like this every week. Our two centre-backs, Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw all come away with credit but Pablo Hernandez again gets my vote for man of the match. At 3-0, a swathe of United fans desserted the away end to hit the motorway home but, once they were out of the way, the remaining crowd got behind the team and Pablo rewarded us with a consolation. This was a good game with an awful result.
Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.
Leeds United crashed to their third defeat of the season as they were well beaten at the Hawthorns. The 4-1 reverse was the heaviest defeat of the season and was warranted because the hosts were much the better team and costly errors at the back (once again!) handed the opposition their goals.
An unchanged Leeds team were put on the back foot from the start and were lucky to not go behind when Matt Phillip’s shot crashed against the bar. Leeds struggled to create anything during the first half. Far too many players looked off the pace and Sam Johnstone was virtually a bystander.
The second half will not be one that the Leeds players will look back on with much pride. West Bromwich tore the Leeds defence to pieces in a rampant second-period display. Hal Robson-Kanu, Phillips, Harvey Barnes and substitute Dwight Gayle got the goals. Pablo Hernandez’s injury-time goal didn’t detract from how good West Brom were and how badly Leeds played.
I’ve not seen Leeds perform so badly this season and Marcelo Bielsa’s comment about not needing additions when the transfer window opens is well wide of the mark – the squad is not strong enough to compete at the top continually without them. The loss of Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi has had an impact and with both absent for a considerable time, a defender is desperately needed. Goodness knows what could happen if either Pontus Jansson or Liam Cooper were injured.
Leeds must ‘lick their wounds’ for a couple of weeks while the international break is on. A bad day at the office for sure!
Man of the match: Nobody stood out.
Once again, the Championship confounded us all with its sheer unpredictability.
The scene was set for Leeds United to profit from the results of their peers. On Friday night, Sheffield Wednesday had managed against all the odds to hold the Blades to a 0-0 draw. Earlier, Derby and Bristol City lost at home and Birmingham could only draw. Okay, Norwich and Middlesbrough won but Leeds still had their superior goal difference, didn’t they?
Furthermore, West Brom were down on their luck and Leeds were on a high. Leeds played like a team who had started to believe their own publicity.
In the first half, there were a couple of signs of what was to come but the Whites finished quite strongly. Seven minutes after the hour, Hal Robson-Kanu and Matt Phillips had put the Baggies in the driving seat. Marcelo Bielsa threw all his chips across the green baize and United’s gamblers tried to chase their losses with inevitable consequences. In betting parlance: ‘When the fun stops...’.
For once the international break is welcome.
Man of the match: Adam Forshaw.
We must remain philosophical. Marcelo Bielsa will. He spoke this week of the beautiful game and his desire to play it whilst he is always at pains to insist that no style is more valid than any other.
West Brom played tough, aggressive and direct football. Leeds were always seeking the time and space to impress their style.
Caught on the counter-attack having weathered the early onslaught, the Whites were once more chasing the game. The first goal came as Leeds were looking dangerous and aggrieved that they are never awarded penalties. It is not in the Argentine’s DNA to contain and the Baggies found freedom when Leeds pressed. It highlights the necessity once more of scoring first; scoring at all is helpful. There will be finger pointing by some. He could have done this, he could have done that, but the more thoughtful person would take it on the chin and decide whether Leeds are good enough to be promoted when the cauldron of the Hawthorns has simmered down.
Despite the score, there is enough evidence that this side will always be knocking at the door – unlocking it and forcing it open is what challenges them on their return from the international break. The philosophically minded will reflect that it is better to take a pasting in search of going top, rather than avoiding being bottom.
Man of the match: Not applicable.