Reading 2 Leeds United 2
This game was possibly even more of a disappointment to me than any of the previous six. We all knew that the first six Heckingbottom games were tough, really tough, all against teams with real aspirations of promotion this season. Coming after that 1 – 4 humiliation v Cardiff that saw the end of Christiansen, I think the 5 points we secured in those next six games was actually not bad if we are totally honest about the quality level of our current squad. No one believed we were a match for any of the top half a dozen or so sides in the Championship but we did though hope we were better than the sides fighting relegation. Reading fell squarely in that relegation category.
At the end of today’s game I am left still none the wiser as to where we currently sit in terms of quality as, to be honest, I don’t think there was much between the Royals and ourselves today. In the first half particularly Reading were the better side and I am sure I was not alone in thinking we had “got away with one” as we went in at half time all square. It’s true that as the second half went on it was Leeds that looked to be getting stronger but our defence these days looks capable of undoing anything the rest of the side can do. No, there wasn’t actually much between these sides and remember Reading have now had just one League win in 17 games!
And that is the worry; we have two more chances to prove we are better than mid-table coming up – Sheffield Wednesday are next and then Bolton – and wins against those sides will make me feel we at least have something of a base to build on for next season. But if we lose either of those games then I will be thinking we are in a real mess. Of the players on display today, if I had to say who I was desperate to see in a Leeds shirt next season I would probably only utter the name of Pablo Hernandez. Many Leeds fans will say Samu Saiz too, but you know what, his impact recently has been very limited. Is Pontus Jansson still the colossus we all grew to love last season? I’m really no longer sure, and for the rest, well, no one is really making a case for themselves.
Leeds scored two good goals today – and yes, Samu Saiz played a huge part in creating the first – but defensively we look a very fragile side still even now that we have a goalkeeper worthy of the name between the sticks. Bailey Peacock-Farrell again made some excellent saves and may well prove to be the find of the season but the back four, which today comprised Berardi, Pennington, Jansson and De Bock looked as uncertain as any other combination we’ve used this term.
These are uncertain times for Leeds as Hecky tries to assess his best players and combinations but I think I’ve now seen enough to know that we need serious numbers of quality players to add to this squad if next season is to be anything better than this one.
Reading Leeds Utd
Possession 51% 49%
Shots 10 19
On Target 4 8
Corners 13 7
Fouls 14 11