Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leeds United 1: Blues short-lived as Whites Klich back into gear - The Final Word

AFTER seeing Leeds United dominate but ultimately draw 1-1 at Sheffield Wednesday, the YEP's Lee Sobot has the Final Word and picks out a few key talking points from Friday night's Championship Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 30th September 2018, 7:57 pm
Updated Monday, 1st October 2018, 9:47 am
HOW DID WE NOT WIN THAT? The frustration is obvious for Jack Harrison, left, and the rest of his Leeds United team mates after Friday's 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.
HOW DID WE NOT WIN THAT? The frustration is obvious for Jack Harrison, left, and the rest of his Leeds United team mates after Friday's 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

The near perfect response

Marcelo Bielsa's Whites approached Friday's clash at Hillsborough facing a test of character in how they would react to their first league defeat of the season following the previous weekend's 2-1 loss at home to Birmingham City.

But despite not getting the victory that they so richly deserved, United could hardly have reacted in a more positive manner with Leeds producing some of their best football yet under their Argentinian head coach.

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A total of 25 shots on goal was the most by any team in the Championship so far this season and Leeds were rarely troubled at the back but for a handful of decent long shots led by Adam Reach's rocket on the stroke of half-time.

Leeds were particularly dominant in the second half, laying constant siege to the Owls goal and the reaction of United's players at full-time was akin to losing a cup final, not bagging a point in a fiercely competitive Yorkshire derby.

That reaction said it all, United's players knew their dominance should have been rewarded with a victory but performance-wise it is clear there has been and will be no hangover from United's first league defeat.

Finishing touches

Man of the match Mateusz Klich insisted afterwards that he had no long term worries about United's failure to score more than one goal at Hillsborough and against Birmingham.

Rather like Bielsa has said, the feeling is that if United continue to create so many openings with such frequency then naturally the goals will follow.

The law of averages would suggest that seems likely but in the long run Leeds can ill-afford to be so wasteful in front of goal, squandering valuable points when what appears to be a very strong chance of promotion is staring them in the face.

Whether Leeds specifically work on finishing in training is Bielsa's call but the header that Barry Douglas squandered in the first half was a particularly golden opportunity wasted with the Scot mocking himself on social media afterwards admitting that he needed some extra heading practice.

Gjanni Alioski and striker Tyler Roberts were also guilty of missing good chances which will need to be taken in Tuesday night's clash at Hull City in which Leeds will look to avoid the prospect of making it just one victory from their last six league games.

United's football does not warrant such a statistic and Bielsa's men remain second and only one point off top spot but Leeds will only remain in such a lofty position for so long if continuing to be wasteful in front of goal.

Clearly, the return of Kemar Roofe from injury which is seemingly quite close will help no end.

Top scorer Mateusz Klich

The final, final word should probably be about to United's Polish international midfielder Mateusz Klich who took his goalscoring tally to four goals in ten league games with his corking equaliser nine minutes after the break.

This one was Klich's best yet and he has now become United's joint top goalscorer for the season so far, quite a feat for a player shipped out on loan to FC Utrecht last January having been handed just four league outings by former head coach Thomas Christiansen who seemed to take a particularly dim view of the Pole's slip and performance in the 3-1 loss at Cardiff City in September.

One year on, Klich has become of United's best players and his creative flair gives United plenty of options when pouring forward with Samu Saiz pulling the strings and United's wingers plus Luke Ayling and Barry Douglas in support.

With Kalvin Phillips bouncing back from his early Birmingham substitution with a strong display, it means Adam Forshaw still has to make do with a place on the bench and the same seems likely for Gaetano Berardi when he returns back from injury with Pontus Jansson and captain Liam Cooper dominant at the back.

'Keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell also responded with a strong display after his Birmingham blip - Reach's strike was simply unsavable - and Alioski and Jack Harrison both had their moments on the wings though Alioski continues to stray offside too many times.

Even in spite of one win in five, Bielsa's Whites are clearly looking very good indeed and without getting carried away there's a strong argument to say that Leeds are the best team in the division.

Now the goals only need to follow for the table to reflect that and victory at Hull on Tuesday would likely send Leeds back to the top with West Brom in action the following night - at Sheffield Wednesday.