Leeds Utd 1 (Summerville 9)
Queens Park Rangers 0
4th October, 2023, EFL Championship.
Difficult one to comment on without either being too optimistic or too pessimistic as to how this result augers for the rest of the season, if indeed it does at all. On the one hand, a win, is a win, is a win as they say, and the three points was vital and keeps us right in the mix, at least for a play-off spot although still a way behind the pacesetters. But the way we once again struggled to make our obvious supremacy in the game translate into goals is still a concern. On balance, we’ve seen that we can score goals – e.g. Ipswich, Millwall and Watford – so I guess we just have to put this one down as a typical dour Championship display from QPR.
The changes Daniel Farke made for this one were pretty much in line with what most fans were calling for. The key one of course was the return of Joe Rodon who replaced Liam Cooper. Coops has been a terrific servant for the club over the years but he is no longer reliable enough to be our preferred left-sided centre-back; I’m sure he still has a part to play this season but not as a regular first-XI starter. The other changes were all ones I saw muted by fans ahead of the game – Luke Ayling back in place of Jamie Shackleton, Archie Gray back for Glen Kamara, and Jaidon Anthony for Dan James. We saw the difference Luke made again. As a defender, there isn’t much to choose between Luke and Jamie but going forward Luke always looks more aggressive. Archie Gray looks to have the edge on Kamara with his better range of passing while Anthony and James are very different and I’m not sure who’s the best option there… probably neither when Wlly G is fit again!
Leeds got off to the best possible start with a fine goal inside ten minutes. We had the rub of the green for once as the liner on the east touchline adjudged the ball was still in when on another day it may well have been flagged as out but Leeds took full advantage. Sam Byram was able to stab the ball forward to Georginio and he then pretty much reprised the move we’ve already seen a few times this season as, surrounded by four defenders he was still able to pick the perfect pass to find Cry Summerville running in unmarked from outside the area. Cry finished it off perfectly clipping the ball past Bergovich.
We all probably hoped that would open the floodgates and certainly, there were other half-chances. Summerville latched onto another cutback from Georginio with a first-time shot but a defender got in the way of that one while Joe Rodon missed a decent chance with a header from a corner. Jaidon Anthony had at least three shots blocked too but fundamentally we just didn’t hit the target often enough – just three times in 16 attempts in the whole game.
Leeds were largely frustrated by QPR in the second half with the Hoops strangely time-wasting despite being a goal down! I guess they were hoping for one opportunity to grab a goal but didn’t want Leeds to have the ball too much.
Leeds changed things up with the arrival of Patrick Bamford and Dan James for Piroe and Anthony and that did give us more options. Archie Gray curled an effort just wide and then Bamford was put away with another piece of magic by Georginio but Bam Bam’s low show was easily saved. Later Leeds introduced Ian Poveda and even later Charlie Cresswell got a few minutes as Georginio took his well-deserved bow after another display of his twinkling feet. It took Georgi a long time to settle at Leeds but he’s now regularly the player likely to create an opening – as close to a new Pablo as we’ve ever had.
I have to say I was disappointed in Patrick Bamford when he didn’t appear to defend Bergovic at the end when the Hoops’ keeper looked to have brought Bamford down. As replays have shown, there was absolutely no contact although it looked like Bamford was suggesting there was. I’m sure Bergovic will escape that one if QPR appeals the red card. Paddy does have a tendency to spend a lot of time trying to get free kicks when sometimes he’d be better off trying to get the ball in the net! We all remember his shenanigans in the infamous Aston Villa game under Bielsa; no need for it Paddy.
So, at the end of the day, it was the vital win we needed to keep us right in the thick of the ten teams separated by just two points from 5th to 14th. Another win on Saturday against one of those ten, Bristol City, would bring this second phase of the season to a satisfactory conclusion. The top four must not be allowed to get too far away – they will all falter at some point and we need to be there to take advantage.
Leeds Utd QPR
Possession 65% 35%
Shots 16 5
On Target 3 2
Corners 8 0
Fouls 9 12