A 0-0 draw at home to Reading wasn't the best way to kick off a bank holiday weekend, but the wheels haven't fallen off yet for Leeds United. One fan outlines the season so far.
So, not such a Good Friday for Leeds then. The start of the chocolate gorging festival saw us draw 0-0 at home with fellow play-off contenders, Reading. While the wheels have not yet come all the way off, the Leeds United bandwagon would certainly struggle to get through its MOT.
Like seasons past we hit the new year limping and found the run-in a case of one step forward, two back. I’m not too disheartened. To me promotion this year was never a serious consideration. After the ups and downs of the previous campaign and a last day home victory to go up, I’d prepared myself for a season of consolidation. But no, they have to dangle the play-off carrot at us. The play-offs that we’re so bad at. Always the bridesmaids never the bride it was once said about Leeds. When it comes down to the end of season cardiac arrest challenge we’re the bridesmaids, page boys, both sets of parents and the cousins who’ve flown in from overseas especially for the big day. Four attemps, four failures.
If Leeds don’t qualify, which I now don’t believe we will, the 2010-11 campaign has to go down as one of the more entertaining ones. Like Arkwright at dusk, putting away his display of buckets and brushes outside the shop and having a last ponder you’d have to say ‘it’s been a funny old season’. Goals? You want goals? You got ‘em - 78 up to press in the For column. But that’s offset by 68 against. 146 goals in 43 games is some going – we’ve certainly had our money’s worth.
The manager has questions to answer; why sign the tricky Nunez and not play him? Should Somma have started more?
Big defeats early on away at Barnsley (5-2) and home to Preston (6-4) saw the first rumblings of dissatisfaction with Simon Grayson. The man who a few months earlier had guided us to promotion was now having to endure some serious finger pointing. He slowly turned things round and following a fine 4-1 away win at Scunthorpe we went on a 12 match unbeaten run. Wingers, Max Gradel and Robert Snodgrass were on fire, Becchio was notching regularly and Johnny Howson was performing like a true leader. Things though began to stutter and February saw us looking tired, lacking invention and spark culminating in a 3-0 defeat at Swansea whilst being seriously outclassed. Losing our last three away games has seen us slide further down the table and the confidence ebb away.
So what’s gone wrong? You might say we overachieved for a time. Second at Christmas isn’t a bad base to build on but cracks can only be papered over for so long. Some of the football has been lovely to watch, whilst other times it’s been like a bad car crash. The manager has questions to answer; why sign the tricky Nunez and not play him? Should Somma have started more? Amdy Faye – why?
The loan market has been raided a little too often I feel. Some you win, Lichaj for example and some you certainly lose, see George McCartney in that instance, continuing the tradition Leeds seem to have in that position of pure ineptitude.
With 270 minutes of the season remaining I have to say I’m satisfied. Gradel, Snodgrass, Somma, Schmeichel and Becchio have been a pleasure to watch at times, Paynter and McCormack less so. I’ve feasted on goals, the kind of statistic that would have seen George Graham firing half the team and witnessed mighty comebacks –Burnley away springs to mind. So yeah, it’s been okay this season of consolidation but I fear we’re done now. Too many recent defeats, too many missed chances and the form of teams around us have all caught up with Leeds United. Sixth position is looking a little further away. Hold on though, we’ve another game this Easter, didn’t Jesus rise from the dead about this time? Now that really would be a miracle.
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