2nd September, 2023, EFL Championship.
I’ll admit first today that I wasn’t at the game! I had a longstanding engagement with a friend’s wedding for whom my lad was Best Man and Mrs W refused to let me off for this one! I know, I know, I’m no Gary Edwards! LOL! Don’t ask me when I last missed a game…I can’t remember!
First things first though, I guessed this would be a case of “typical Leeds United”. After all these years I have grown very used to us following up a great result like we got at Portman Road last week with a poor one. I predicted a 1 – 1 scoreline in my piece for the Yorkshire Evening News football jury. Too many people were ignoring the fact that we faced the disruption of losing Luis Sinisterra; that we showed as recently as Tuesday night that we were still not clinical enough in front of goal, and that this was a Yorkshire Derby with the Owls who were not about to record a fifth straight league defeat at the home of their old foes if they could possibly avoid it. A draw in these circumstances, and remember so many Championship games are either drawn or won by a one-goal margin, was pretty much nailed on for me in this one! For anyone keeping count, after today’s 12 games just 14 out of the 60 Championship games played this season have been won by more than a single goal difference. Every game will be tight.
So, what I’ve gleaned between speeches and food courses at the wedding, not to mention a bit of “Dad Dancing” is that, as so often, our finishing let us down. Hitting the target with just 25% of our goal attempts simply is not good enough and from various replays I’ve seen, too many shots were dragged wide, fired over the bar or, on the few occasions we did hit the target, the Owls’ keeper was solid enough without having to be Superman. You could argue that the Owls were twice as efficient as we were in front of goal with 5 of their ten attempts needing the intervention of Illan Meslier. Against Ipswich last week we all thought we’d turned a corner in this stat when we hit the target with 9 of our 16 shots that day. The more we hit the target the more chance we have of scoring. Simples.
And it’s not just that our forwards’ shooting is wayward, part of the issue is that the quality of the chances we are creating is not good enough – we are probably asking too much of the forwards to make something almost out of nothing. I was hoping we’d recruit a creative midfielder in the transfer window, someone capable of finding those through balls and passes that are a bit easier to stick in the net. We didn’t, so we pretty much now have to get on with what we have. Losing Sinisterra is a blow in that respect but I’m hoping we have got a decent replacement in Jaidon Anthony. Time will tell. In the meantime, as I’ve said many, many times before in this blog; get the lads doing shooting practise please Daniel!
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds United 0
Sheffield Wednesday 0
Leeds: Meslier, Ayling (Spence 81), Rodon, Struijk, Shackleton, Ampadu, Gray (Kamara 88), Gnonto, Summerville, Piroe. Subs not used: Darlow, Cresswell, Gyabi, Poveda, Gelhardt, Hjelde, Joseph.
Sheff W: Vasquez, Famewo, Diaby, Bernard, Delgado, Bannan, Byers, Gregory (Iorfa 67), Paterson (Valentin 90), Windass, Smith (Fletcher 70). Subs not used: Dawson, Palmer, Ihiekwe, Musaba, Bakinson, Vaulks.
Booked: Delgado (Sheff W)
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Venue: Elland Road