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Saturday, 3 February 2018

Leeds Utd v Cardiff City 3rd Feb 2018.

January 2018 wasn't the most productive month in the history of Leeds Utd.  Just two points from two goalless draws and an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at mighty Newport County have rocked the confidence of fans and players alike.  February is hardly likely to offer much chance of recuperation as after today's game with Cardiff we play Sheff Utd, Bristol City, Derby and then Brentford.  At least that will prepare us for the following two games against Boro and Wolves.  All of a sudden there is a deep depression hanging over Planet Leeds.  Certainly the injury toll and needless suspensions haven't helped the situation but whilst we are still only four points off the play offs the gap seems enormous based on the shocking performance at Hull on Tuesday.  Still if we can just beat Cardiff you never know!

To beat Cardiff Leeds will have to do something they have failed to do this season and that is withstand a big physical pressing team and with Mr Warnock's latest signing, Madine, adding more brutality to the team the prospects are not good.  Still that wasn't going to stop me joining another big crowd heading for LS11 on a cold, wet miserable afternoon.  They say it's the hope that kills you!

There was only one change to the Leeds team as Pennington returned to the back four to partner Jansson and try and repel the Cardiff artillery.  The miserable weather in West Yorkshire didn't dampen the crowd's anticipation as both teams started positively.  Ominously for Leeds though Cardiff won two early corners and tested the Leeds defence with their big men. Sadly it took just 9 minutes for Cardiff to expose the weak Leeds underbelly as Paterson headed home from the back post after sloppy play gave the ball back to Cardiff and Traore was allowed to cross far too easily.  1.0 Cardiff and another mountain for Leeds to climb if they were going to get back into the game.

Leeds were shaken by the goal but Lasogga restored some hope for the home fans with a strong shot from 25 yards that the Cardiff goalie did well to save.  This was better and when Hernandez got free and found Lasogga with lovely cross the big German should have scored but could only hit the bar from 6 yards...................but hang on the ball fell nicely for Alioski only for him to rush his shot and the chances were gone.  Leeds were lifted by the chance and started to look as if they would find a way back into the game.  Then it all started to go pear shaped.  First Berardi received a yellow for a flying challenge on Madine when in truth he could have got a red for what seemed a two footed challenge.  Then when all the commotion over Berardi's yellow had died down Jansson was still prostrate in the Cardiff box. The stretcher came on and we lost yet another centre half.  Bollox.  Dallas came on for the Swede and Berardi moved to centre half.  I'm not sure what was worst losing the only bit for height we had or losing the commanding presence of Jansson at the back.  Probably both to be honest.

The Berardi Madine battle simmered on with the Cardiff player earning a yellow for a niggly tackle on Berardi. Dallas gave Leeds some hope as his shot was saved by the Cardiff keeper but Leeds looked vulnerable at the back especially when the ball went high to the Cardiff front men.  On 40 minutes my worst fears were realised as Paterson chased down a ball on the half way and ran away from the Leeds defence with ease..........he shot from the edge of the box but pulled the ball to the right where Hoilett sneaked round the back of De Bock and tapped in the simplest of goals.  Shocking defending once again by Leeds and the Bluebirds were now flying at 2.0.  The referee wasn't helping with some strange decisions but once again Leeds were contributing massively to their own downfall.  2.0 Cardiff but worse was to come.

4 minutes into added time Madine drew another foul from Berardi and the Leeds man was off for a 2nd yellow.  As if that wasn't bad enough Leeds were still complaining about the decision when Cardiff took the free kick and scored from a simple header at the back post with no Leeds player in sight.  Disgraceful, amateurish, spineless defending.  3.0 Cardiff and the game and season over.  The referee went off for half time with boos ringing in his ears but for me Leeds were their own worst enemy. 3.0 down at half time at home was just shambolic and embarrassing for the long suffering home fans.

Understandably the Urinal Philosophers were seething.  "We've no f****** bottle out there"  "We knew how they were going to play why can't we defend against them" "What a load of bollox" were a few of the more repeatable comments but everyone was in agreement on one thing.  This Leeds team is a million miles off top 6 material. How many would we concede in the 2nd half was the main worry.

Leeds did get a smidgen of hope on 54 minutes as Bamba turned a teasing Dallas cross into his own net which lifted the crowd.  The game became even more scrappy, if that was possible, as Warnock's men sat back and looked to catch Leeds on the break.  That's when they weren't stopping the game at every opportunity.  The wily old Warnock didn't want Leeds building up a head of steam.  He needn't have worried because they didn't.  On 75 minutes Lasogga departed to be replaced by Sacko much to the derision of the crowd........not at the German but at TC. Why take a striker off when we still needed to score two goals?

The game ended in a whimper for Leeds and Pilkington got a 4th for the Welsh team by which time Elland Road was emptying faster than a Lemmings convention on a cliff top.  A shocking performance from Leeds.  Too many errors and too little passion.  Yes the suspensions have hurt us, yes going down to ten man hurt us but there's no excuse for the weak and aimless performance from the team today.  Absolutely shocking.  It's difficult to see where we go from here with yet another suspension for Berardi, fit and available centre halves as rare as a Pork Pie at a bar mitzvah and TC seemingly lost the plot.  We need some strength and steel in the team.  At the moment we have too many flicky players and not enough hard players.

The season is over for Leeds in my opinion as we seem to be gravitating to our favourite position of 15th in the table.  February is going to be a very difficult month for Leeds. Sheff Utd away is next on the agenda.  God only knows what will happen there?  Tin hats on we're in for a very bumpy ride.

Can't wait.



Leeds watcher since 65 said...

From what I have heard and seen this was as bad as it gets, thanks for still bothering to write about this dross, where do we go from here Andrew TC to go? Players to go on anger management courses or just settling for 15th and give up now

Andrew Butterwick said...

This performance is not a surprise to those fans who have witnessed the games since Xmas. I'm not in favour of firing Managers until they've had a full season in charge at least but TC does worry me with some of his decisions, subbing Lasogga being the latest one. Why hasn't he recalled Coyle and Antonsson from loans when we are down to the bare bones? The red cards have all been avoidable and much as I like Berardi he fell for Madine's verbals hook line and sinker yesterday. He should have got a straight red for his first yellow. In the situation we're in that's just unacceptable IMO. Thing is we have some decent players but we lack steel and experience. This months run of games is going to be excruciating.


Unknown said...

Leadership is very poor from TC. He wont cut it for much longer now. I cant see him improving the team performance
I think he will be gone by month end sorry to say especiLly since the way we performed in early season. But since then he has allowed the team to go downhill with no fight.

Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Thanks for taking the time to reply, have just watched the goals from yesterday for the umpteenth time, do they not coach defending, while i take your point on Beradi i grew up on Norman and Billy and i thought the bookings were harsh but in todays climate the ref had little choice but you have to question when on a booking why give hime a decision to make.The games coming up frighten me witless good job we have some points on the board. Finally regarding TC i thing managers can improve like players unfortunately time is the constant pressure and i think a plan b or c is where he struggles whether he can learn that is the big question for me.MOT

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