Leeds United 4 (Bamford 3, Klich 45+3, 73, Costa 67)
Finally! The battering many have said has been coming all season! This was, in many ways, the perfect storm for Boro; in poor form with only one win in eleven previous games, ravaged by injuries and suspensions and meeting Leeds with their shooting boots on!
This was so reminiscent of the game with West Brom, at Elland Road back in March. That day a very early Pablo strike got us up and running and we never looked back, scoring regularly throughout the game to post our biggest win of the season. So too today, within three minutes we were ahead, with a piece of sharp thinking from Patrick Bamford and it knocked the stuffing out of Boro and put them on the back foot; they never recovered.
Yet if we look at the match stats (apart from goals obviously!) they look pretty similar to most of our games this season – 69% of the ball and 16 goal attempts has been about par all season. The difference though, this time, was that 10 of our 16 attempts found that big thing at either end of the pitch that is 8 yards wide by 8 feet high and surrounded by a frame. On Tuesday at Reading we sneaked through the game with a late, 87th minute goal, even though we had just the same number of goal attempts and almost the same share of the possession! What a difference it makes when you hit the target.
We can only hope that this season we go on to replicate this sort of scoring more often and if we continue to strike the ball as well as we saw from Costa and Klich today then surely we will. OK, Klich got lucky with his first this afternoon, as replays show he didn’t really catch that one very well at all but a wicked deflection did the job anyway.
Even more important today, we yet again despatched what is a poor team – we have now beaten six of the current bottom seven in the Championship and can make it seven from seven if we can beat the Terriers next Saturday. In seasons past, for whatever reason, it was games against poor sides on terrible runs of form that usually became giant banana skins for us; I hope I’m not tempting fate by saying it looks like we’ve got that monkey off our backs now. We know tougher teams await us around the corner – Fulham, Preston and West Brom in a period of two weeks around Christmas for example – so it’s vital to garner points from the weaker sides to give us a bit of leeway; we’re unlikely to beat all the top teams as well!
Leeds are in a good place at the moment – top of the table with 40 points from 19 games, the best goal difference in the table, fewer goals conceded that anyone else and two points ahead of that crucial 2 points a game average haul… But let’s just take a reality check folks: On December 1st last season, Leeds came away from Bramall Lane with a fabulous 1 – 0 win to go top of the table with 40 points from 20 games and with a better goal difference than any other side… and yet we messed it up. Still, as Angus told us, “We’re not dicking about with the play-offs again!”
Leeds Utd 'Boro
Possession 69% 31%
Shots 16 7
On Target 10 1
Corners 4 1
Fouls Committed 11 19