Leeds U 3 (Raphinha 21, Rodrigo 73, Harrison 85)
That wasn’t the best performance we’ve ever seen from this Leeds group, but it was possibly one of the most welcome results we’ve had in a while! Surely we’ve now done enough, got enough points in the bag, to mean that it would now take an incredible combination of bad results from ourselves and miracle results for our rivals to see us drop out of the Premier League.
In many ways, watching Watford today was a bit like watching Leeds for much of this season. They had their chances, particularly early on when Louza curled a free-kick just the wrong side of the postage stamp and Hernandez hit a cross-shot that Meslier got fingertips to. Sarr also missed a great chance early in the second half on one of the few occasions when that narrow defence of ours left him a big gap on the Watford right. He had no composure at all thankfully and merely blasted that one high and wide. In fact, Watford hit the target just once from their meagre eight attempts. So Watford missed a few chances, but they also saw the rub of the green go our way on a couple of occasions. Sound a bit like us this season? I think so.
Contrast that with Leeds today and, unlike earlier in the season, most of the season in fact, we hit five of our ten attempts on target including three well-taken goals. I firmly believe it’s the main factor in the EPL, take your chances and you’ll not go far wrong. When we needed it we got the rub of the green too, as we have in fact throughout this four-game unbeaten run. Maybe that’s what Jesse Marsch brought with him from across the Pond? A bit of good fortune here and there!
Even so, you have to work hard, and Leeds did that too. Watford made a real hash of clearing the ball for the first goal, twice failing to get it away, but Dan James still had to be brave enough and determined enough to launch himself into a 50-50 challenge to get the ball to Raphinha. His fine shot then did the rest. You can argue that our second goal came from a bit of luck, or you can argue that Watford again caused their own downfall, as they somehow contrived to let Rodrigo get onto a loose ball on the edge of their area. Still, he had to be strong enough and, yes, that word again, determined enough, to get between two Watford players and then hold off the shirt-pulling challenge of the keeper. The third Leeds goal though was a thing of beauty; a lovely through ball from Greenwood and a stonking strike from Jack Harrison who has seemingly found his shooting boots since the turn of the year. OK, that rub of the green came our way again as the ball flew between the defender’s legs! But, as they say, the harder you work the luckier you tend to be!
Perhaps the only blot on our copybook today was the effort that Diego Llorente fired wide from a right-wing corner, but that would be greedy to demand that went in as well.
So, all in all, a very satisfactory result and a result born out of determination and hard work with a sprinkling of good finishing. Watford look in trouble and, despite not doing too much wrong themselves today, or indeed in their previous game where they had the chances to surprise Liverpool, they do seem to be missing those vital ingredients; clinical finishing and the rub of the green. They also need a confidence boost as that can work wonders too – we saw that as Leeds relaxed after our second goal today, the play suddenly became much more fluent and I’m sure that helped Jack to decide he was just going to have a go and see what happened.
Now, if Norwich can just accept they are already down and relax, then maybe they can do us all a favour and beat Burnley tomorrow; that would then be pretty much the perfect weekend!
Watford Leeds U Possession 48% 52%
Shots 8 10
On Target 1 5
Corners 3 8
Fouls 8 12