Cardiff 2, Leeds United 0 - Errors and lack of cutting edge gift Bluebirds the points

21 Jun 2020 04:35 pm, by YorkshireSquare

Cardiff City 2 (Hoilett 35, Glatzel 71)
Leeds United 0

Sunday 21st June 2020 12:00 | Cardiff City Stadium

And so, the Championship is finally back. After months of waiting, weeks of speculation and hundreds of Covid-19 tests conducted football finally returned this weekend and Leeds United, well they were typically Leeds United! After Fulham slipped up against Brentford and West Brom could only manage a point against West Midlands rivals Birmingham City, Leeds had the chance to put some space between themselves and the chasing pack. But this is Leeds United we are talking about and we were playing Cardiff City! It was the home fixture against Cardiff at Elland Road back in December when the wheels fell off, three nil up when it all went wrong on the hour mark!

There was a similar feel to Leeds United’s performance in South Wales on Sunday, plenty of possession, plenty of toil but no end result. The Leeds players looked fit enough after the break, fitter than Cardiff certainly but they lacked a sharpness both at the back and up front which ultimately cost them. Wayward passes, poorly weighted final balls and lacklustre shots meant Leeds didn’t make the most of their possession whilst errors at the back were pounced on by Cardiff, who to be fair to them, took them very well.

By it’s very nature Bielsaball can be risky, in the first half a loose Phillips pass was punched on by Junior Hoylett, who with plenty of work to do ran at the Leeds defence who backed off as Hoylett unleashed his shot. Should Meslier have done better at his near post? Perhaps, but Hoylett took his chance well. In the second half another sloppy pass from Cooper, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing found Robert Glatzel in acres of space, his half volley thundering in off the near post. Once again there were questions around the defenders and keeper but take nothing away from the strike.

At the other end Ayling’s effort is cleared before Jack Harrison could get anything on it, Harrison finds his own effort blocked by teammate Bamford and Roberts close range effort is blocked spectacularly by Alex Smithies. On another day it could have been two nil Leeds but a lack of match sharpness, a lack of concentration cost them at both ends of the pitch. Take nothing away from Cardiff though, they had a game plan, stuck to it and took their chances well. If only Leeds United could take their chances in the same way!

Leeds could have been cruising heading into next weekend, ten points ahead of the chasing pack needing only five victories to secure promotion. As it is, they head into next weekends game seven points ahead of Fulham. It’s a game Leeds United could very well lose if they don’t sharpen up and whilst it wouldn’t be the end of the world it would be a serious blow with the memories of last seasons final nine games still pretty raw in the memory. Beat Fulham however and we are a big step closer towards promotion, especially with West Brom heading to Brentford on Friday night.

At times on Sunday it was hard to see where a Leeds goal would come from, the graft and guile of Pablo Hernandez was seriously missing and with it doubtful we will see Jean-Kévin Augustin, the options for changing things are limited. Individuals need to step up and deliver in the coming weeks, these next eight games are where heroes are made and whoever can score those goals to lead us back to the Premier League will be a legend forever.

Leeds Team
Meslier, Ayling(Alioski 62), White, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Costa (Poveda 77), Robert, Klich (Gotts 84), Harrison, Bamford

Unused Subs: Berardi, Miazek, Struijk, Davis, Shackleton, Stevens