Leeds United 2 Bristol City 1
It was another of those ‘must win’ games and we won it, so that’s the main thing. It was a ‘must win’ to stabilise us after the recent blips v Barnsley, Huddersfield and Cardiff. The chasing pack was starting to get too close and confidence that we really are good enough to be top six was waning. The fans needed reassuring too as many were starting to talk of the wheels coming off!
I thought it was a workmanlike performance against a limited team – quite how Bristol stormed into a 3 – 0 lead at Derby the other day beats me. But then again we thought we let ourselves down in that narrow home defeat to Cardiff yet the Welshmen came away from Derby last night having scored four and stashed away another 3 points! Maybe Cardiff, on their day are a better side than we gave them credit for. Maybe Derby have run into a blip? Who the hell knows such in this topsy turvy Championship.
So, Leeds were workmanlike. The players all did their jobs well and solidly – Pablo was back to his mischievous best, the return of Pontus made the rest of the defence suddenly look assured again and Rob green was superb. Quick thinking from Pablo and Chris Wood got us the lead and then Pablo himself got lucky with a deflection to put us 2 – 0 up. It perhaps ought to have been more, as once again our finishing was not exactly of the highest standard. In fact of our 15 attempts only 4 hit the target. By the same measure incidentally, the Robins managed 19 attempts and got 9 of theirs on target which again shows the work that Green had to do and that he did it well. Bristol had the majority of the possession too.
It maybe illuminating that we looked better without Pedraza last night – either Alfonso needs time to gel with the team or maybe his attributes are not any more useful to us than those he kept out of the side for the Cardiff game. Mo Barrow similarly looked ‘OK’ when he came on last night but again didn’t show (in that admittedly brief spell) that he had anything more to offer than Sacko, Dallas, Roofe or Doukara , or indeed Pedraza. In terms of what our transfer window business has given us I don’t think it has made us any better. No worse, but no better either and maybe we’ll still yet rue not grabbing another centre back, striker or Pablo double instead of two more average wingers.
So, it was not a display such as we saw against Derby or in that second half at Villa but it was efficient and, that last minute aberration apart, error free. It keeps us right in the hunt and if we are to make it this season it was a game we had to win. Every Leeds game is now a cup-final, no one can be looking forward to the Ipswich game with anything but trepidation – they are always tough to beat, especially at their place and they have just had great results in three tough games v Reading, Villa and Brighton. Having said that though, they also lost 3 – 0 at home to Derby before that so make of them (or Derby) what you will. For me, the Ipswich game is not so much a must win… it’s more a must not lose!
We are in there fighting and there are some tasty games coming up in the Championship in the next fortnight with Reading travelling to Huddersfield and Brighton and then the big one, Brighton v the Toon. If we can pick up 4 points from every two games we’ll remain in the thick of it. Pull that seat belt strap another notch tighter there is turbulence ahead!
Leeds United Bristol City
Possession 45% 55%
Shots 15 19
On Target 4 9
Corners 4 5
Fouls 12 9