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Friday, 11 March 2011

10 games to go......hold on tight!

So with ten games to go for Leeds in their first season back in the championship we sit tantalisingly in 5th spot a mere 3 points off one of the coveted automatic promotion places.  Not only that QPR could well have their seven point lead slashed by a points deduction for underhand transfer dealings throwing both automatic spots wide open.  To say we are over exceeding the pre season expectations of the majority of fans is a bit of an understatement but we most definitely are.

A lot of the talk pre season surrounded the question of how an earth were we going to replace the departing Mr Beckford's goal tally.  Even die hard Leeds fanatics didn't believe Luciano was worth 25 goals a season and goals from our midfielders had been as infrequent as a picture of a smiling Arsene Wenger during our time in League 1.  It is a testament to how much the Leeds attack has improved this season that our erstwhile scoring talisman who disappeared across the M62 to Goodison Park is never ever mentioned by any of the Urinal philosophers in the half time debates. Jermaine who? Even the most optimistic crystal ball gazer couldn't have predicted that we would have notched up 69 league goals by this stage of the season.  So is the sudden development of the most potent attacking machine in the league good luck or good management?  I suspect a bit of both.  Beckford's departure saw Leeds dabble in the lower end of the transfer market bringing in Paynter, McCormack and Nunez none of whom have exactly set the world alight with their scoring feats. The biggest change has been the switch from 4.4.2 to 4.5.1 formation which initially worked to dramatic effect at Scunny.  Was that tactical genius or had we just run out of suitable partners for Becchio?  Or was it the fact that Johnson took up the defensive midfield spoiler role?  All credit to Lord Larry for the way he has managed the team but I am not entirely convinced that the impressive attacking style that the 4.5.1 formation allows was a result of forensic scrutiny and tactical genius from our backroom staff more a combination of circumstances and an admirable belief in attacking football?  What ever the reason it has certainly worked.

  The other burning question pre season was would the defence be good enough for the championship?  Of the goalie and back four that played in the final game of last season only Bromby remains and he has played very few games this term.  So it is safe enough to say that our great leader recognised the defensive failings of the team and moved to strengthen that area through the pre season.  It is one of the great disappointments of this season that we still have to witness excruciatingly naive and at times woeful defending by the mighty whites though.  I know it's stating the bleeding obvious but this could yet prove to be our Achilles heel in this exciting rollercoaster campaign.

So by hook or by crook we are still in with a shout for promotion and with seemingly every team around us getting either mild or acute cases of squeaky bum syndrome the opportunity is there for Leeds to grasp with both hands.  Maybe last season's experience of a tight finale with momentum swinging from one club to another as each week went by could work in our favour.  I can certainly see our season going right down to the wire with our last game against QPR.  So the equation is really quite simple.  We are now in a ten game season.  If we can scrap, fight and grab 7 victories and a couple of draws from those games I believe we will go up automatically.  Of those ten games only two are against current top six teams, Shrubs and QPR, with a home game against ever improving Burnley to boot.  Whilst the other 7 games won't be easy we are capable of winning those games starting with the Tractor boys this weekend giving us a fantastic chance to nick one of top two places and avoid a trip to South Wales in the play offs.  That in itself should be motivation enough don't you think?  Seat belts and oxygen masks at the ready we're on the final straight and we are one of the contenders!
Bring it on.
Can't wait.

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