With their destiny in their own hands, Leeds United have thrown it away
21 May 2023 09:48 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Yerry Mina’s equalizer for Everton against Wolves in the tenth minute of stoppage time on Saturday may have been a bit of a kick in the teeth but points shared at Molineux meant that Leeds United had control over their destiny, this power lasted for a mere twenty hours. A victory against West Ham could have propelled Leeds out of the relegation zone and positioned them favorably for the final game of the season. However, just like in previous instances when their fate was in their hands, Leeds United let it slip away.
Despite a promising start with seven points from the first three games, Leeds embarked on a bleak eight-match winless streak. Even after a brief respite with victories over Liverpool and Bournemouth, they stumbled through ten more games without triumph ending the managerial reigns of Jesse Marsch and Michael Skubala in the process. Javi Graci's arrival brought about a resurgence, as Leeds secured ten points in six games, edging closer to safety. But when safety seemed within reach, they crumbled in a spectacular fashion.
What happened at half-time against Crystal Palace remains shrouded in mystery. Leeds went from a winning position with safety in sight to a devastating 5-1 loss. This collapse set the tone for the final stages of the season. The wheels had come off completely as Leeds lost 6-1 to Liverpool, lost 2-1 to Fulham, and suffered a 4-1 at the hands of Bournemouth. Even when three points were within grasp, Patrick Bamford's missed opportunity against Leicester left Leeds ruing what could have been.
As a last-ditch effort, Big Sam was brought in. The game against Manchester City offered little hope of gaining points, but the subsequent fixtures presented a glimmer of possibility. Leeds held their ground against Newcastle, but their characteristic self-sabotage led to two conceded penalties, one missed by Bamford, and a red card for Junior Firpo. We had become our own worst enemies, undoing our chances at every turn.
And so Everton gave us one last glimmer of hope if we could get a result against West Ham. After 17 minutes, Rodrigo's volley found the back of West Ham's net, and things were looking up. Leeds had climbed out of the relegation zone, surpassing Everton, at least temporarily. However, complacency set in, and within a mere fifteen minutes, Declan Rice equalized. West Ham found it all too easy, particularly in the second half, as they added two more goals to their tally.
With that, Leeds United's survival prospects dwindled to near impossibility. Once again this season, they had capitulated when their fate rested in their own hands.