Leeds United 0 Fulham 0
This was a far more satisfactory point than the one we had to be content with against Preston. You start from the premise that Fulham are a better side than Preston, a side that proved to be better than us at the back end of last season when the chips were down. OK, Fulham were weakened by the loss of first choice centre back Tomas Kalas who was sent off at the weekend and the continued absence of Tom Cairney who Leeds fans know so well. But the Cottagers had started off with two decent looking draws against Norwich and then Reading away with ten men for all bar 39 seconds of that game. If both sides played to their best another draw looked on the cards.
And so it proved to be. Once again it followed the template of a typical Championship game – there was nothing much to choose between the two sides and it was always only going to be a major mistake at the back or a bit of magic that was going to separate them. Each side had one clear cut chance, both one on one chances with the keeper and both times the keeper came out on top. The fact that it was Chris Wood again, for the second game running, who failed to convert our chance is a shame but it only reinforces what I mentioned in the Preston report – Woody is not good when he has time to think. Whether any of the transfer speculation is weighing on his mind too, well, we can only speculate. To me he looks to be trying hard enough but needs a bit of a lucky break to get him really firing again. I’ve not seen it again yet but there are a lot of folk claiming he was onside for the chance he did put in the net. If so, then again his bad luck will even out soon.
As for our performance overall last night, I thought we did well. After an initial onslaught by Fulham we gradually got to the pace of the game and, in the second half particularly I thought we dominated the attacking play. On another day we’d have got the lucky break we needed to touch one of the several half-chances into the net. The stats say that Fulham out-shot us 15 to 9 but in reality most of their shots were long range and missed by a mile whereas several of ours were only a whisker away. Young Shaughnessy had a fine game and that shirt pulling episode against Bolton can now be put down to 1st match naivety . I’m now even more convinced that we don’t need another centre back – We have Pontus, Pennington, Coops, Shaughnessy and, at a stretch for the odd game even Luke Ayling so, although we are short at the moment, long term that’s enough. At the other end though, I would still love to have another goal getter, another man capable of playing the lone target man role. I don’t think Caleb Ekuban is that type of striker and he looks more suited to a 4-4-2 formation but in any case we need more than those two and if Doukara is now going to feature we need one more.
5 points from the first three, two clean sheets and undefeated is a decent start – certainly better than we did last season. Against that we have to remember that we beat Preston home and away last season so we still have to be cautious in assessing our start too positively. The tests continue to come thick and fast and Sunderland is another huge one on the horizon. I’ll be watching out for their result at Sheffield Wednesday tonight before making my prediction. If the Black Cats get a good result at Hillsborough then I’ll be happy with another point at the Stadium of Light although I do continue to believe that once our side settles down we have a squad capable of beating any side in the Championship if we play to our best and start taking our chances.
Leeds Utd Fulham
Possession 44% 56%
Shots 9 15
On Target 1 1
Corners 3 3
Fouls 12 10