Ipswich Town 3 (Downes 30, Dozzell 47, Quaner 90)
Leeds United 2 (Klich 45, Dallas 76)
It’s getting hard to come up with new things to say about Leeds lately, every game recently has been so similar. Leeds dominate the possession, amass huge numbers of “attempts”, miss most of them with dreadful finishing and then, on occasion, give away soft goals through apparent defensive errors. There is for example little difference between the stats from the Villa game last week and the Ipswich game today and yet our feelings coming away from Portman Road are so different from those we enjoyed last week. Most of us reckoned we saw a battling, spirited, largely dominant and encouraging performance against Villa and yet the majority tonight feel let down, despair and concern at the display we witnessed at Portman Road. A concern that suggests that any optimism about our chances in the play-offs is misplaced.
The result plays a huge part in our perception of course; a draw against a high flying, ten wins on the trot Villa side is obviously seen as more creditable than a 3 – 2 defeat at relegated Ipswich Town who had the second worse home record in the Championship.
And yet, were the performances really that different? I don’t think they were actually. The main problem was there in both games and has been there every game this year; for whatever reason we are appalling in front of goal. The Roofe penalty today sort of summed up how we’ve been for months – it’s not the first pen we’ve missed of course – but the statistics have been there for all to see for ages and we know that Bielsa knows about it. Put simply our efficiency is dire. For the sort of match domination we are recording game after game and for the vast number of attempts we have at goal, too few are going in. The game is about getting the round thing in the oblong thing and we don’t do it well.
There were other traits today that I’m hoping were the result of our players inevitably having one eye on the play-offs; there was little really riding on the game today and yet it was still possible for anyone to pick up an injury that would have kept them out of those huge games and potentially a day at Wembley. If anyone tells me that is easily dismissed from a player’s mind… I just don’t believe them. Hence the game today began at a pedestrian pace and such challenges as there were seemed less, err, committed. Maybe our concentration suffered too as there were some pretty dire defensive mistakes made too. There was a nervy look about us at both ends of the pitch.
So, on balance, I’m trying to reason that today was not representative of what we can expect at Derby next weekend and certainly not representative of what we know we are capable of; OK, we do have to somehow be more accurate in front of goal to succeed, but if we can be then we should have no fear. We will dominate the possession, we will have more attempts than Derby, of that I’m certain, so the odds are in our favour. I’d have our lads doing far more than the usual 15 minute session on ‘finishing’ this week though!
Ipswich T Leeds Utd
Possession 35% 65%
Shots 6 27
On Target 3 7
Corners 2 11
Fouls Committed 11 11