Leeds United 0
Wolverhampton W 1 (Jimenez 70)
Bit of a reality check there I think! It was a very normal and expected first 45 minutes with Leeds bossing the game and creating chances albeit no really clear ‘big chances’. Wolves were toothless and looked to be off the pace and caused us no real problems. Second half though Wolves looked much more organised and dealt with us much better while a few of our players just looked to run out of ideas. At the end of the day though Leeds didn’t deserve to lose that game and we didn’t get the rub of the green, either in the play or the injuries before and during the game. It happens, nothing to worry about yet!
For 45 minutes it looked odds on Leeds would have enough to break down a very uninspiring looking Wolves side and the loss of Liam Cooper before the game didn’t look to be an issue. Just before the break though and we got the warning that it would be just as easy to lose this game as to win it as Illan Meslier made a fabulous point blank save to deny Wolves the lead. If anything Leeds were missing the guile of Pablo in midfield to just fine tune our passing and creativity.
We’ve grown accustomed to teams reorganising at half time once they have been battered for 45 minutes; history has shown that most teams can come up with a plan to blunt our attacking play as long as they can get to the break without going behind. And so it was with Wolves, a team that has specialised in being far better after the break than before it! Somehow they got to grips with us and far too many Leeds players were either not getting involved as much as they usually do or were having a bit of an off day. Kalvin Phillips in particular looked ponderous and almost weary and this was perhaps a sign that he’s played too much football in too short a time; he looked battle weary. He wasn’t the only one though, we were back to that Championship problem we had once upon a time whereby we couldn’t buy a decent cross for love nor money while Patrick Bamford got little to chase in any areas dangerous to the visitors. Harrison, Costa and even Poveda when he came on were all guilty of failing to cross the ball well enough, while the late appearance of Raphinha didn’t really tell us much about him. Rodrigo looked busy but also not in any danger creating areas.
Pablo made the difference we’d expect of him and, for me it took too long to get him on the pitch and we were already chasing the game following another bad run of the ball as Kalvin’s day went from bad to downright awful as he tried to steer a shot wide with his head only to find the corner of the net instead. It was just one of those days.
Nothing to worry about, this was after all a game against a team recognised by most observers as one of the best eight in the division, a Europa League contender after all. But there is a sense that Leeds now need to quickly establish what the best starting XI is, having got our hands on the likes of Rodrigo, Raphinha, and Lorrente, and having committed the best part of £100m to strengthen the team. I’m sure it will take time but the sooner we settle the 1st XI, the better.
Leeds Utd Wolves
Possession 68% 32%
Shots 13 7
On Target 2 3
Corners 8 3
Fouls Committed 13 12