Tuesday, 6 November 2018

The Big Indecision

We’re currently in that difficult void between Summer and Winter where we don’t quite know what to do. One day you need the heating on and opt for the ‘big coat’ when taking the dog out, the next day you’ve got a bit of a sweat on when you automatically do the same, and actually “it’s quite mild for this time of year isn’t it?” When a population is as obsessed with the weather as we are it can cause mild panic when the weather is indecisive, and there are days when we’d much rather the temperatures plummeted for good and we knew exactly where we were.

Indecision is pretty much how we feel about Leeds United too. Most fans are in that difficult void wondering whether we are a good side or not. The league table suggests we are, but some performances indicate otherwise, and of course there is always that nagging paranoia digging away at our expectations and forcing us to presume that Leeds will fade away to mid-table as always.

However, while we might want the weather to make its mind up, I’m certainly not suggesting it would be better to know for certain that Leeds United are in fact rubbish, as we watch them plummet to their rightful position of 15thand feel content that we know our place. The flipside is that Leeds could go on a ten-match winning streak and blow the division apart, but the reality is that this season in the Championship looks like a pretty even playing field, and it appears that Leeds might just do enough to stay in and around the top two until the business end. That doesn’t help us with our indecision but it does suggest that Leeds are no better or worse than a huge chunk of the division.

What we can definitely say is that Marcelo Bielsa has made this team a much more organised, committed and technically-adept unit than it was last season, and that’s why I think we’ll chisel away and pick up enough points over the course of the season to stay in the pack. So far it doesn’t look like anyone is going to run away and build up an impressive points gap at the top, so there is certainly an opportunity there for Leeds.

The search for consistency over the last month has been a frustrating one, but all the teams at the top can say the same thing. Leeds have salvaged points they richly deserved in some games, but also dropped points they really shouldn’t have, so it’s been a bit of a mixed bag. And certainly at Elland Road we’ve been left disappointed with some results and have witnessed a whole season’s worth of controversy in just two games.

October started with the visit of Brentford and one of the most inept refereeing displays you are ever likely to see. The argument goes that referees are only human and you can understand how some decisions go against you, but then the authorities haven’t helped Leeds either when given the opportunity to take retrospective action with the aid of video footage. Naturally, Brentford’s Sergi Canos got away with a blatant head butt clearly caught on camera, while Pontus Jansson was fined and suspended for his post-match comments about the referee. In fairness, Jansson was always going to face some form of punishment, but it is the consistency that baffles.

There is no doubting that Leeds benefitted from the incompetency of the officials against Nottingham Forest, however, and we can maybe agree that there isn’t a huge EFL conspiracy against Leeds after all. Kemar Roofe clearly scored the late equaliser with his arm and this wasn’t spotted by the officials, so we salvaged a point. Both games ended 1-1 and Leeds could make a legitimate claim that they should have won each of them, and the harsh truth is that we just didn’t have the firepower.

Unfortunately, that’s probably the main factor that prevents us calling Leeds a genuinely good side. There were moments against Ipswich Town, in the other home game we saw last month, where Leeds looked sublime, but Ipswich were a really poor side, and against better opposition Leeds have struggled. We really are missing injured players and a bit more creativity where it matters.

Still, Leeds are second in the table as I write, so we don’t have too much to moan about, except for the fact that our next home game is still three weeks away. Thanks to the fixture list sending us to Wigan Athletic and West Brom, and then yet another international break, we have to wait until Saturday 24thfor the visit of Bristol City. Then, like buses, Reading come to Elland Road on the following Tuesday, 27th.

The Peacock has certainly enjoyed some busy times this season, and it looks like crowds are going to remain at 30,000 or more. The 5.30pm Kick-Off against Forest made for a lively afternoon and the atmosphere built-up before everyone headed over the road to the ground was something pretty special, and as we head towards Christmas and the big games come thick and fast, we fully expect more raucous occasions like that.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on the new matchday food menu courtesy of the Spiced Mango, and also on the new matchday bars in the beer garden. We always try to fine tune things to make the experience better for everyone, so please let staff know if you have spotted something that can be improved.

Our restaurant partnership with the Spiced Mango continues to be the huge success we expected it to be. We even received an award recently when the restaurant was voted as one of the top ten curry houses in Yorkshire by Yorkshire Life and Living North magazines. The standards are fantastic and if you haven’t tried it out yet, make sure you pay us a visit and enjoy some amazing flavours of the east.

In the meantime, I’m pretty sure that the next time we meet the weather will definitely be cold enough to put the heating on, the big coat will be out when you venture down to Elland Road, and I’m even confident that Leeds United will still be in the mix for promotion, and because of the nature of the Championship, that’s regardless of whether we’re a good team or not.  

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