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It’s been a tough few weeks for Leeds United. The fabled game against Millwall was said to be one of the key moments in our season having been the game, and the same point in the season, that we started to fall away last year. Our relatively small squad size has also been questioned and injuries mounting up have taken their toll. It’s been tough, but we came through it. In third place!
Bad referees, bad luck, bad injuries, some poor finishing. Some tough opposition too; Middlesbrough, Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday, Hull, Birmingham, Preston and Brentford. Three teams in the top seven, one where we notoriously struggle, a Yorkshire Derby and one of the best footballing sides in the league. But we only lost one and Birmigham have taken points off five of the top seven.
On the face of it we’ve dropped points and fallen out of the top two but we’ve lost the least number of games in the league (Joint on one with Nottingham Forest) and still have one of the best defence and attacks in the league. Our goal difference is second best only to West Brom (Who scored seven in one game). We of course play them next month and you can check out the betting tips on the match here, it promises to be a free scoring game.
How would any team cope with the injury list we have had? How would Brentford cope without Maupey, Watkins, Canos and Mepham for example. How would Middlesbrough cope without Assombalonga, Braithwaite, Hugil and Ayala. How would West Brom cope without Rodriguez, Gayle, Barnes and Bartley. How would Villa cope without Kodjia, Abraham, Grealish and Chester. It goes on and on.
How does a side cope without their two best strikers, most creative player and a defender who started the season in great form? It’s not idea for one game, it’s devastating for five or six games. A downturn in goals is to be expected, without Hernandez we had to expect a lack of creativity and without Roofe or Bamford we would expect less clinical finishing.
And yet, we only lost one game. We should have beaten Wednesday, we had the chances to beat Millwall too. We can blame referees and whatever but it took wonder goals, disputed penalties, time wasting and gamesmanship to take points off us. And we should be proud of that! Nobody hammered us. Nobody had an easy ride, we made chances. Sometimes wonder goals happen, sometimes controversial penalties happen, it is what it is.
Under strength and injury ravaged, doesn’t matter. Against Millwall, Wednesday and Brentford, we fought back. No Hernandez, no Roofe, no Bamford, no Berardi. A teenage striker, a twenty-one year old winger with less than ten league games to his name, a couple of teenagers on the bench, no problem.
Seventeen year old Jack Clarke comes on and looks like a seasoned pro. Nineteen year old Tyler Roberts scores goals. Jack Harrison rifles in a shot from twenty-five yards. Jansson rises like a salmon to rescue a point. This side has something about it. The football wasn’t always as fluid, the chances went always taken, the passing wasn’t always perfect. But would any of our rivals have coped any better? Doubt it.
Have we been "found out" like some of our rival fans say? Are we overrated? You lose the equivalent players we have then see how you do. It’s been tough, but we came through it.
From a post by Cjay, view the topic here.