Leeds 2-0 Derby
I was feeling very confident ahead of this one. After all, Leeds never beat us, do they? Well, not for nine years. Here are few post-match points.
- Leeds were very physically strong. The hosts got in the Rams’ faces and made any neat football difficult. That really is something Derby struggle to contend with and struggle to adapt their play with. I’m sure I’ve said that before! Leeds were a hard-working side, yet a far cry from the silky play of the Derby side we all love to see, but deserving winners.
- No shots on target all game! The visitors didn’t manage a single shot on target. Much frustration in the away end was of the lack of times somebody hit a ball into the box through a simple cross.
- Martin out of form. It’s fair to say Derby’s No 9 is struggling for form at the minute. He had a golden chances 5 minutes in and appeared to take the ball too wide of the goal, similarly to the chance at Watford last week. What’s worrying is that nobody can come on and replace him or compete for his position. Leon Best was ill today, according to the club. January investment in a striker is essential, the dependence on a good shift from Martin means it is always difficult to come from behind.
- Goals conceded. Will Hughes could have done better for Leeds’ first. Both goals were clinical finishes with nothing Lee Grant could do.
- Omar. Bueno? Mascarell struggled today, he made a few clumsy tackles and another bad challenge would have probably sent him to an early shower. Is it time for John Eustace to be deployed again against workhorse sides like the Leeds of today and the Millwall of last month? Roll on George Thorne’s return. In fact, all the midfield three had a bad afternoon. I think Craig Bryson will start next week, probably for Jeff Hendrick.
- Penalty? Cyrus Christie was brought down. Whether it was in the box or not is up for debate. I think it was just inside but it seemed hard to tell.
- Debut for youngster. A surprise inclusion to the bench was Kwame Thomas, though not that surprising given Best’s omission. He came on in Steve McClaren’s triple change around 65 minutes in. Thomas hit a good chance over but, overall, looked lively. Thrown in the deep end really.
- Dirty Leeds. They lived up to their name. Adryan did some of the worst play-acting I have ever seen after a foul by Russell. All right next to the travelling fans. To be fair, Derby also committed many fouls, however Leeds were dirty in the first-half. Any remotely good run was stopped by a late tackle. A team of John Eustaces!