Leeds United 2 Reading 0
It is a peculiar fact that in many Championship games it is not the team that has the bulk of possession that wins the game. In confirmation of that old adage that “It’s not how big it is but rather the way you use it” Leeds pulled off an efficient victory over high flying Reading last night with just 23% of the ball during the game. Of course Leeds have typically been set up as a counter attacking side this season using the pace of Hadi Sacko and the guile of Charlie Taylor on the other side to break quickly and last night was no different. Leeds were patience personified as we were mostly content to prevent Reading coming forward too quickly by making sure we were right in the face of the man with the ball forcing them to endlessly play the ball back and forth along their own back line – reminiscent of the Leeds United we saw far too much last season.
The injury to Chris Wood just after he scored also played into our hands – with a goal in the bag to defend the return of Liam Bridcutt to the fold to take up station alongside young Vieira was probably exactly what we needed as Reading were then forced, at some point to have to come at us. As we’ve seen a few times this season, that allowed us to capitalise on the counter attack and nick a late goal to calm the nerves.
The most pleasing thing for me last night though was the way our defence shrugged off what was undoubtedly its worse showing of the season at Brighton to recapture the solidity we have shown for most of the season so far. At Brighton Ayling, Bartley and even Pontus Jansson all looked out of sorts and nervy whilst last night they were back to their best and despite their overwhelming possession, Reading only managed 2 shots on target all night.
The only piece of this Leeds jigsaw that is missing now is Pablo Hernandez and as we start to think about who we might like to see join the squad in the January window I think possibly the most important acquisition is another such creative player in the Pablo mould. We are crying out for that control and vision in the centre of the pitch and Pablo has a history of long injury absences. No one else in the squad looks capable of filling it. For now though we will have to battle on with what we have and continue to hit teams on the break.
Last night was another hurdle cleared by Leeds and more and more we do look like a side that is destined to compete in the top six this season – only Newcastle and Brighton look streets ahead of us at the moment. As always though we are only as good as the next result and to maintain our position and belief we need to beat Brentford on Saturday.
Leeds Utd Brighton
Possession 23% 77%
Shots 12 14
On Target 4 2
Corners 0 6
Fouls 8 16