Bolton Wanderers 2 Leeds United 3
That was a tricky game to analyse! At the end of the day, the most important statistic is that Leeds got the three points and three points away from home is always a great result. The Leeds finishing was also of a high order with three well worked and well taken goals. Other positives for me were the performances of Luke Ayling, Kemar Roofe, Liam Cooper and Eunan O’Kane all of whom stood out. Kalvin Phillips was the unlikely name on the scoresheet for two of the goals with clinical accuracy while Chris Wood showed he was razor sharp with an instinctive close range header for the third. And we did all that in some difficult wet conditions for much of the game.
But it wasn’t all good news for Leeds and this was far from the perfect display; Wiedwald in goal didn’t fill me with any great confidence on a couple of occasions while the defence overall didn’t look anything like as solid as it did for most of last season. The enforced absence of Pontus Jansson was a major factor in that as were injuries to Berardi and Pennington along the way. A Bolton goal from poor marking at a corner and a second that rattled our nerves from a penalty when young Shaughnessy had a rush of blood, served to remind us that we are a bit short of cover in that area of the pitch. Vurnon Anita grew into the full back role eventually when he deputised for Berardi and even had a decent shot that would have been embarrassing had it gone in so early in his Leeds career while we are still waiting to “get on the pitch” if ever Berardi gets one! In midfield our only real fault was a failure to keep the ball at times, giving it away too cheaply and allowing Bolton more use of it than they ought to have had.
My gut feel is that this Leeds performance was more about the lack of quality in the Bolton side than out and out class from us. A stronger opposition, with more ability on the ball, might have caused us more problems although there were spells in the game when we passed it about really well. We still didn’t create that many clear cut chances but if we continue to finish like we did today then might get a few more goals than we did last season.
It’s the first game, so there is no point in getting too carried away either way, especially until we can gauge just how good or bad this Bolton side is; my guess is they will struggle all season and concede plenty but it’s just a guess. We must also remember that Pontus will be back for our next League game, next Saturday against Preston, while surely we will see more from the likes of Saiz, Klich and Stuart Dallas as the season gets going; the feeling has to be that our bench is going to look much stronger this season than it did last year on occasions giving us the ability to turn the screw on teams such as Bolton.
Third in the table looks much better than where we were after one game last year… rock bottom!
Bolton Leeds Utd
Possession 47% 53%
Shots 10 11
On Target 4 5
Corners 6 8
Fouls 9 14