Leeds Utd 2 Barnsley 1
It’s a long time since we went to games expecting to win… and even longer since that then actually happened! But these last few games have shown that this Garry Monk side has some real qualities. As he himself was first to say again after the game today, we are still not the finished article, but we are, for the first time in years, very close.
We now have a defence worthy of the name and no longer do we wince every time a ball is tossed into our box. In fact we now positively revel in seeing the colossus that is Pontus Jansson rising like a Saturn rocket to head away anything in the air space of LS11 in the belief that “If you throw a brick at him he’ll head the f***** back!” He even gave us a move worthy of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ today as he waltzed away with the ball from the South West corner. Alongside him, Kyle Bartley is as cool as Pontus is colossal and the two of them have transformed our back line.
In the middle of the park we now have Pablo Hernandez, the class player we have dreamt of having in there for years and again today he drove us forward and scored another fine goal. Kalvin Phillips had one of his best games for us too and we can see how playing in a decent team really helps the young players to develop. It is a shame we don’t currently have Liam Bridcutt in that role but Kalvin and Liam O’Kane still looked comfortable.
All that is left to bring up to standard is our work in the final third. All season we have been tentative if not downright wasteful whenever we get a sight of goal and today was no different. For all the fact that Chris Wood is steadily increasing his goal tally, he still seems to lack confidence when he strikes a ball in anger and particularly when the ball is in the air; another great chance went tamely wide today when it should have thundered into the net off his forehead. Too often we don’t seem to be aware of players in better positions and instead we try ambitious shots from tight angles; it needs work but I’m sure Garry Monk knows it and will come up trumps if his success with the defence is anything to go by.
For now let’s just enjoy the success we are having in the knowledge that we are not by any means at the limit of our abilities and there is much more to come. We sit comfortably in 11th in the table with 16 points, that’s 7 places and 5 points better off than we were this time last season.
On the day we paid tribute to the son of the great Don Revie it was fitting that we put on a display that the Don would have been proud of. We are a long way short of the complete domination his sides often achieved but we are at last looking like a side that is going to win more often than it loses.
We have two weeks in which to work on that final third before we face our old foe Derby County. We won there last season against the odds but this time we’ll go there with an expectation of coming back with some or all of the points.
Leeds Utd Barnsley
Possession 46% 54%
Shots 10 10
On Target 5 3
Corners 6 5
Fouls 8 9