Leicester C. 1 (Barnes 67)
Leeds Utd. 0
I’m finding this a difficult one to assess to be honest. Yes there were changes, notably in the formation, which most commentators are saying was the 4-2-2-2 often favoured by Jesse Marsch, (although it didn’t look a lot different to any recent Bielsa formation to me!) But there were also lots of similarities to other performances this season, not surprising I guess as it’s probably too early yet to see embedded too many fundamental alterations in style or substance.
My overriding feeling at the end of this game was that we’d witnessed a pretty stereotypical Leeds United 2021/22 performance. We were probably just about the better team on the park and just edged the possession stats and, if the stats are to be believed, we amassed almost three times as many goal attempts as the home side. Yet that age-old failing of ours, the inability to put the ball in the net, was probably the key factor again. It is telling that the Foxes sniffed out only 7 goal attempts throughout the game but managed to hit the target with four of theirs while we recorded 19 attempts but still only hit the target with four of ours - all of which were dealt with safely by Kasper Schmeichel of course.
If you think back over the game there were not too many clear-cut chances for either side but with those that we had – Firpo’s in the first half, Dan James’ cross-shot in the opening minutes and Raphinha’s close-range stab at the ball from three yards - we didn’t exactly punish them, did we?
In contrast, Leicester probably only got through us once in the whole game… but they did it sweetly and far too easily and they scored from it. Barnes played a one-two on the corner of our box, collected the return and steered the ball calmly around Meslier. How many one-twos like that have we seen undo our defence in the last few weeks? Too many is the answer.
So, yeah, we were lively and energetic, there was pace about our game and sometimes the passing looked pretty but we are going to need more than this; somehow we continued to look lightweight to me and the sight of Patrick Bamford running up and down the touchline is possibly the best sign that we can do something about that; hopefully very soon.
Another positive was that we did look a little more sure of ourselves at defensive corners although, at the other end, despite winning ten corners of our own, I can only remember that Rodrigo glancing header that really caused the Foxes any heart tremors. I just don’t understand why we can’t attack the ball in those set-piece situations.
With Jesse Marsch’s liking for player rotation and with two games coming up later in the week, I wonder if we will see a few changes; certainly, if Paddy B is fit I’d expect to see him in action. We don’t have too many options but we desperately need to try to find a winning formula by the end of the week. These two games against Villa and Norwich now look to be the ones most likely to define our season. You would think we absolutely have to get some serious points from those and the Saints and Watford games after the next little break with the away game at Wolves another decent looking chance for points if the Wolves continue to stutter as they’ve started to do.
We’re at the business end of the season now folks, let’s hope the lads can start finding that net!
Possession 51% 49%
Shots 7 19
On Target 4 4
Corners 5 10
Fouls Conceded 9 12