Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest at Elland Road on Saturday.
I came away from Elland Road disappointed. Not at the way we played, which was on a par with the excellent display we saw at Bristol City, but at the way the failures of last season came back to haunt us.
Throughout last season, particularly in the last month or so, Leeds gave away needless goals at one end while missing gilt edged chances at the other. This again was the story of the draw with Forest.
The overall performance was strong and it is hard to criticise individuals but it is also hard not to reflect on many good opportunities we spurned; Patrick Bamford had five of them. A decent chance went begging in the first half and he miscued a volley after the break that hit the bar. Thankfully Pablo Hernandez showed us how to finish a half-chance and he put one of his three attempts away superbly. At the other end Ben White had another assured game.
It’s early days and there will be tougher games to come with fewer chances and when we may need those chances to go in even to salvage a point.
Man of the match: Ben White.
Great disappointment at Elland Road but not about the performance (at least as far as I’m concerned) but because of the result and our persistent failure to score the goals needed to win these types of games.
It was more of a throwback to last season as we spread the ball around, created chances and dominated Forest without the cutting edge that players like Patrick Bamford should be giving us. Bamford was most culpable for us not scoring more but there were umpteen wasted crosses and a couple of very good penalty shouts that the referee inexplicably waved away.
Last season’s league table showed we didn’t draw enough games and only time will tell if this is a point won or two dropped. Forest were only interested in a point and got exactly what they wanted after some blatant time wasting and a scrappy goal that required very little skill on their part. Four points from two games isn’t too shabby and there are players in reserve who can give the current XI a run for their money if shooting boots are not found quickly.
Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.
United fans will have been forgiven for wondering if there would be a slight hangover around Elland Road following the final game of last season.
The atmosphere, though, was as electric as ever, as was Leeds’ performance for much of the game. Nottingham Forest were never going to roll over, though and, as we found at times last season, the Whites rued their missed chances.
The match stats failed to tell the story of the game. While Leeds enjoyed 68.3 percent possession and 14 shots, the scores ended level.
It took United some time to get into their stride, with neither side looking after the ball in the first half.
Pablo Hernandez again looked the main source of inspiration for the Whites, while last season’s defensive frailties came back to haunt.
Questions will also be asked of referee Rob Jones’ performance.
Marcelo Bielsa will feel as though it’s two points dropped but the game showed that his side can still create quality chances.
Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez.
Leeds blew a great chance of making it two out of two because problems from last season came a calling to Elland Road. Firstly so much possession should have been turned into a sizeable lead, but chance after chance were spurned. The 1-1 draw will be seen as two points dropped.
Unfortunately Patrick Bamford had forgotten his ‘scoring boots’ and the misses were to prove costly later in the game. At the other end a ‘calamity’ happened in the Leeds penalty area when a corner wasn’t cleared and somehow the ball crept over the Leeds line after a ball hit Lewis Grabban and it apologetically rolled past Kiko Casilla. The two moments summed up the rainy afternoon.
Leeds controlled the game from the opening minutes and how it stayed goalless only Bamford will know. I’m not blaming the lad, he just had one of those days that footballers sometimes have. The football Leeds played was a joy to watch, regularly getting in good positions but sometimes the final ball letting them down.
Forest on the other hand had one shot on goal and it went in! Their other efforts gave the fans in the South Stand catching practice. They didn’t really impress me but will be very happy to take a point back to Nottingham.
I must give a mention (I really must!) to a pretty shambolic performance from the referee. Forest seem to get away with many ‘robust’ challenges while Leeds were pulled up every time. He missed – in my opinion – a definite penalty when Stuart Dallas was flattened in the penalty area. It would have been a foul anywhere else on the field so it was a penalty.
Leeds move on to Salford City in the League Cup tomorrow and I’d expect a few that were on the bench to get some much-needed minutes in their legs.
Helder Costa for one may get his first start in a Leeds shirt after being on the bench for the opening two games.
It has to be seen if Eddie Nketiah is also included after joining United on loan from Arsenal on deadline day.
Men of the match: Jack Harrison and Adam Forshaw.
A near capacity crowd at Elland Road were in good voice to spur on United from the start. Real chances were scarce however but Patrick Bamford and Pablo Hernandez both came close in the first half.
United took the lead with a fine goal from Hernandez who burst through the middle after latching on to a well-placed through ball from Mateusz Klich.
Pablo was having a quieter game than against Bristol City but it was reassuring to see him score in this fashion.
More opportunities followed but the Whites were unable to convert them into goals. Forest seemed to be able to soak up the pressure and Leeds were made to pay for their profligacy.
The Whites defence, who had been immaculate up until this point, failed to clear their lines from corner and Lewis Grabban managed to slide the ball home in at the post.
Gjanni Alioski and later Helder Costa failed to turn the tide.
It’s early days but familiar regrets have resurfaced at our lack of clinical finishing.
Man of the match: Adam Forshaw.
Deja vu? Well, some familiar feelings but this was a performance of such dominance I am tempted to dismiss it as a freak result rather that a portent for failure.
That was a masterful demonstration by Marcelo Bielsa’s men and Nottingham Forest were never in the game. One should look at the fact that we were so far ahead of them and Bristol City last week that dropping points will be the exception rather than the rule this season.
Apart from putting the ball in the onion bag, Patrick Bamford led the line well and Adam Forshaw put in another good display.
Jack Harrison is providing a decent foil to Pablo Hernandez and the team looks slick and synergetic.
The familiar feeling of nausea echoes in the tummy but the glass is more than half full. Leeds are giving minimal focus on defence this season and one can see why.
Many teams will not lay a glove on us but we must land a knockout punch.
Man of the match: Adam Forshaw.