Sheffield Wednesday 0 Leeds Utd 2
As professional a performance as I have seen from any Leeds side in a long, long time. It was not perfect, particularly in the first half when Wednesday undid our defence a few times but each time they did, Forestieri appeared to have his mind on other things thankfully. A free kick smashed against our crossbar too as the home side had the better of the possession and the chances. But with the addition of Liam Bridcutt in front of the defence we suddenly looked more able to withstand such pressure and for once we made none of those frequently seen self-destructing errors we have become famous for. Liam Cooper in particular looked very assured and Bartley was his usual unflustered self; have we found a decent centre back partnership? What about Pontus Jansson? That will be for Monk to decide in the weeks to come but in a full season we will no doubt have to call on both Bamba and Jansson on occasion. A word for Rob Green too who liked the experienced keeper we thought we had signed.
The second half was almost as perfect an away display as you could wish for. Far fewer chances offered to the home side and a growing sense from Leeds that this Wednesday side was not actually that strong. It was Wednesday that often played the wrong ball, knocked simple passes into touch beyond a stretching leg and looked shaky… all traits we are more used to seeing from our own and caused by our own chasing and harrying. Meanwhile Leeds attacked with more potency than we have seen for a while and twice broke the home defence with clinical finishes. Had we been more clinical we have doubled that score but let’s be grateful for what we have. Sacko did really well today on the right wing but he really has to make more of his crosses; too often the ball went far too long. We continue to waste chances in front of goal too – just 2 of our attempts hit the target though fortunately they also hit the back of the net! It can only be good news though that we still have plenty to work on yet we can pull out a result like this even at this early stage in our development. We will have bad days before this becomes the norm but hopefully we are on the way.
I like to think that Bridcutt is one of the final pieces of the Garry Monk jigsaw and what we saw today is what we can come to expect more often as this team now beds in and the youngsters learn from the likes of Bridcutt and Hernandez. We have some explosive talent in the likes of Roofe, Sacko and Antonsson while Chris Wood looked far more useful today than he has done; maybe he just needed the rest of the side to click to be able to offer his best. This was encouraging stuff and not a minute too soon!
Sheff W Leeds Utd
Possession 64% 36%
Shots 15 14
On Target 4 2
Corners 6 4
Fouls 7 13