Leeds United 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0
It’s going to be like this for the rest of the season; every game will be close and tense! There wasn’t much to choose between Wednesday and Leeds today and, as so often is the case with games in the Championship, it came down to an unlucky break suffered by the Wendies defence and a fine penalty-save by Rob Green.
When Gaetano Berardi fired over a cross, a stretching defensive header aligned the ball perfectly for a grateful Chris Wood to control and prod it home when everyone in the stadium must have thought he was offside. Wood has become the perfect predator since those shaky first few weeks of the season when 20 goals looked a tall order never mind the thirty he’s on track to achieve now. The penalty looked harsh to me on first viewing but thankfully Rob Green pulled off a fine save to thwart a subdued looked Jordan Rhodes. Who’d you rather have up front… Wood or Rhodes? My guess is the answer has changed completely since those early weeks of the season.
But the foundation again for the three points today was the defence, our defence, a defence that must be the envy of the Championship. Kyle Bartley had another almost flawless game, Pontus Jansson was, well, Pontus Jansson, Rob Green was safe and secure and Ayling and Berardi were bright and alert all game. Ahead of them there was the added protection of O’Kane and Bridcutt. Not many sides are going to penetrate this Famous Five between now and May so long as we can keep them all on the pitch. Pontus picked up his 13th yellow today and is perilously close to another ban as are Ayling and Bartley. As we’ve already found, take any one piece of this jigsaw away and the picture doesn’t look anywhere near so good.
Up front we still lack the potency to ensure any game will be easy for us, even with a rock solid defence. We have more wings than the RAF but none of them seems to be a consistent un-locker of Championship defences, albeit we haven’t seen that much of Messrs Barrow and Pedraza yet. Chris Wood was my man of the match today – not only for that poacher’s goal but also for some sterling work helping out in defence. Had Sacko had a bit more composure Wood might have doubled his tally too, the lad must add some end product to his runs.
On we go, with another tricky little encounter next Friday at Birmingham. Trust them to grab a surprise win at Wolverhampton last night just before we play them! As we all know, playing our A game we can easily turn over the Blues but anything less and they might surprise us as well.
Leeds Utd Sheffield Wed
Possession 48% 52%
Shots 6 10
On Target 1 1
Corners 2 5
Fouls 18 14