On FM Scout you can chat about Football Manager in real time since 2011. Here are 10 reasons to join!

Leeds United: Emulating El Loco

Started on 17 December 2019 by joshleedsfan
Latest Reply on 31 January 2020 by Aaron
A lot of dominant wins here and we’re back where we need to be! A shame about losing Corberan, who has been a sensational influence on our U23s for years now.
What a great month that is! Second and rather comfortably ahead of the playoff chasers. Should hopefully set you up nicely and we can see a push for the league title (that Leeds don't bottle)
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited
As the comments are split across pages, it'll be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to address them individually. What I will say is that you'd think that the next logical step would be for us to push on and consolidate in the top two. But this is Leeds United, and nothing is ever done the easy (or logical) way. As for Corberan, it is a shame to see, given all the hard work he''s put into our U23s. With regards to the format, it's something I'm still toying with, making tweaks here and there until I've found a stlye I really like. Each update does take a while (about 2-3 hours) but it's all worth it.


Into the busy festive period we go and we were in as strong a position as any. We were unbeaten in thirteen matches and kicked off the month away at Huddersfield Town for the Yorkshire derby, with a chance to go top at stake. I was once again blessed with a fully fit squad, but we were about to see what sort of effect this run was having mentally and physically.


Huddersfield Town 2-1 Leeds United

Steve Mounie 63
Florent Hadergjonaj 72
Mateusz Klich pen 87

Leeds United 2-2 Hull City

Tom Eaves 25
Jamie Shackleton 31
Tom Eaves 37
Mehdi Zeffane 41
Pablo Hernandez missed pen 90+2

Leeds United 4-0 Cardiff City

Patrick Bamford 19
Patrick Bamford 24
Helder Costa 44
Pablo Hernandez 81

Fulham 2-0 Leeds United

Aleksandar Mitrovic 60
Stefan Johansen 85

Leeds United 0-1 Preston North End
Andre Green 38

Birmingham City 0-1 Leeds United

Nicholas Opoku 24


In a frustrating month in which few players covered themselves in glory, the award has to go to Ben White. He's one of the few defenders that when asked to do a job, he's actually done it well and has rarely put a foot wrong all month. Not much of a marker laid down this month I know, but he's been important in keeping us in games, it's just been more of an attacking problem that we've not made the most of the positions he's put us in. Honourable mentions also go to Pablo Hernandez and Jamie Shackleton, who have both put on some good passing displays this month.


It's been a month in which we've wasted what was a very promising position. We went into it in 2nd, five points clear of 3rd. We now sit 3rd, three points adrift of 2nd. We need to get a consistent run of form going again asap. What I will say, to the players' credit, we have faced some tough opposition this month, and no full month will be this consistently difficult. We've got a big month ahead which starts with a New Year's Day trip to underachievers West Brom.


There have been a few more managerial movements since last month in the Championship. The vacant manager's seat at Cardiff has been taken by ex-Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis, an intriguing move to see him take up a job near the foot of the second tier. He should at least make them a bit harder to beat.
Elsewhere, Millwall parted company with Gary Rowett and re-appointed Neil Harris, who left for Cardiff in the summer. Lee Johnson lost his job at Bristol City, being replaced by Mark Hughes taking a rare role below the Premier League. Meanwhile, West Brom's poor first half of the season cost Slaven Bilic his job, he's been replaced by Chris Hughton, who has won automatic promotion with Newcastle and Brighton previously.

It was also a month in which chairmen in the Premier League got busy. Steve Bruce, Dean Smith, Brendan Rodgers, Roy Hodgson and Quique Flores lost their jobs at Newcastle United (20th at time of sacking), Aston Villa (19th), Leicester City (18th), Crystal Palace (18th) and Watford (16th) respectively. The only one to be permanently replaced so far has been Roy Hodgson, succeeded by Sam Allardyce at Selhurst Park.

A little closer to home, Pablo Hernandez is up for sale. Hernandez's contract is up in the summer and we have been unable to persuade him to stay at the club. So we've put him in the window so we can at least get a transfer fee for him. The Spanish wizard has been linked with a move back to Qatar in a £500,000 switch to Al-Sadd.

There are also doubts lingering over the future of Eddie Nketiah, with the club willing to send him back to Arsenal if we can find an affordable and more reliable replacement. Nketiah is still yet to find the net in 17 appearances and with Bamford's injury only sidelining him for a week, this could be sooner rather than later.

That's all for now. It's quite a long update I appreciate, but it is sacking season and we are also heading into the transfer window. You thought things were interesting already, we're just getting started

PS, I don't know if anyone else is getting this, but the screen seems to run out of white to hold this post on. No idea how that's happened.

<-Back home
Not a month that a top two side should be having, especially that gutting loss in the Yorkshire derby and top of the table clash. Still in there without a doubt, though.
An inconsistent month overall, but the victory against Birmingham at least stops the rot of successive losses. Hopefully that result could steer you back on course to a more consistent month. A lot of movement as you say, but West Brom have certainly made an excellent appointment in moving in for Chris Hughton. He has a great record at this level and arguably has enough about him to do a job in the Premier League.
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited
Jack- defnitely not one of our better showings in December, but we couldn't just steamroller our way through the season. All the best teams have a rough patch

ScottT- seeing Hughton excites me, as West Brom were one of the sides I was hoping to see up with us. Gained a lot of mutual respect for them in real life this year, just a shame it's not come together in game for them this year


After a frustrating Christmas period, we came into the New Year full of hope and optimism. We'd just beaten Birmingham last time out to put an abrupt stop to a losing habit and the January window was opening, giving rise to an opportunity to make the necessary tweaks for the run-in. We'd made it over the halfway point in the top six as well, which given our horrendous start, was something to be thankful for. Onwards and upwards for the new decade...


West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Leeds United
Alfie McCalmont 79

Blackpool 1-2 Leeds United
FA Cup Third Round

Callum Guy off 45+1
Eddie Nketiah
Ryan Hardie 52
Mateusz Bogusz 70

Leeds United 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Patrick Bamford 10

Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Leeds United
Patrick Bamford 25

Leeds United 3-1 Millwall

Tyler Roberts 6
Rhian Brewster 24
Mateusz Klich 20
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson 60

Leeds United 1-1 Luton Town
FA Cup Fourth Round

Jack Harrison 59
Martin Cranie 75


The problem with rotating as often as we have throughout January, is that for things like this, you don't get players that have played every game and shone throughout. Nevertheless, the award goes deservedly to skipper Liam Cooper, who has played in the majority of games this month and has led by example every time. We've conceded just once in four league games and our captain has been a large part of that, upping his game from his slump in December, leading the team through another impressive run. Worthy mentions also go to Patrick Bamford, whose return to scoring form has helped us and Jack Harrison, who has been a menace for opposition teams down the left hand side.


Some much improved performances have made a huge difference for us in the league standings. We're back up in 2nd, six points ahead of 3rd placed Brentford and three points behind Huddersfield, who occcupy top spot. It's as if December never happened. December should act as a warning though. It happened earlier in the season so we had time to recover but if we let this strong position slip now, we'll be rapidly running out of games to put it right again. The need for consistency has never been greater, particularly when consistency is already so abundant.


What sort of January would it be without some transfers? Let's hop in to the ins and outs at the club...

The most noteworthy departure is that of 34-year-old midfielder Pablo Hernandez. The Spaniard has returned to Qatar to play for Al-Sadd in a £500,000 move. I wanted to keep him, but he refused to renew his contract all season long and when a player does that in the last year of their contract, your hands are tied. History will still look upon him favourably, arguably our best player since relegation from the Premier League in 2004 and one of the best players to grace the Championship in the last decade.

Another notable departure- and much more financially so, than Hernandez- was that of left-back/winger Gjanni Alioski. We negotiated a bid for him from Chinese outfit Wuhan on the 29th, causing them to pull out (it was negotiated to £12.5m). Alioski came to me unhappy about this and because he's rarely featured under me, I agreed to be more reasonable about any incoming offers. Lo and behold, on Deadline Day, we received a second bid from Wuhan. We eventually settled on a fee of £8.5m and for a fee that could really help us rebuild should the worst come to the worse, all we had to do was wave goodbye to a player who has served well in previous years, but struggled for game time in this one.
Other departures from the club were Lewie Coyle, Kun Temenuzhkov, Jordan Stevens and Ryan Edmondson, who all had their loans terminated by us so that they could play somewhere that would be of more benefit to them/us. They moved to Hibernian, Red Star FC (the French third tier outfit, not that of the Serbian capital), Mansfield Town and MK Dons. Coyle's move comes with a £680,000 option to buy. We also said goodbye to Eddie Nketiah, who returned to Arsenal after his loan with us just didn't work out.

Our first arrival of the window was upcoming Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster. Brewster comes with a glowing reputation amongst fellow pros and coaches alike. He is fast and armed with a good finish too. Although he can play anywhere across the front three, his main position is as a striker. He's a lot more aggressive and stronger than Nketiah was and he fits the Bamford mould more accurately, creating hot competition for places. He has already scored for us this month of course, netting in the 3-1 win over Millwall.

Just when you thought Victor Orta has done well to get Mehdi Zeffane on a free, he goes and pulls this off. Liverpool defensive midfielder Pedro Chirivella has signed permanently for us, for a fee of just £1.4m. With Forshaw having been the man to have deputised for Phillips previously, Chirivella comes in as a more natural rotation option, allowing Forshaw to stay in his favoured role further up the centre. He also provides further cover should things go awry and we stay in the Championship and lose Phillips.
Another piece of exciting incoming transfer news is that we've renegotiated the terms of Jack Harrison's loan deal with Manchester City. His loan has now been extended until the end of next season, with an option to buy of just £3.5m. This gives us great flexibility whatever happens, with the opportunity to make his stay permanent if we go up (or if we stay down but can still afford it). Whatever happens, he's here to stay come rain or shine.


Elsewhere in the window, Man City completed the signing of Benfica winger Rafa for £57m in the most expensive deal of the window. Arsenal landed Gremio winger Everton for £25m, whilst Bruno Petkovic made a £12m switch from Dinamo Zagreb to Leicester City.
In the Championship, we were involved in most of the more important deals, although Brentford midfielder Emiliano Marcondes did make a £10.5m move to Borussia Dortmund in one of the more intriguing deals of the window, after spending the first half of the season on loan at Danish outfit Midtjylland.

As for the managerial ins and outs, Fulham's occupation of 11th place in the Championship has cost Scott Parker his job. The hot seat at Craven Cottage is still being presided over by caretaker manager Stuart Gray. Phillip Cocu left Derby County to take on the vacant job at Aston Villa, he's been replaced by former Bristol City boss, Lee Johnson.

In the Premier League, no new vacancies but all jobs left empty in December have now been taken. Newcastle United have made an interesting move by headhunting Rangers boss Steven Gerrard; Leicester City have hired Michael Laudrup, who has spent the last year rebuilding his career at German side Mainz; whilst Watford have made a move for Cristian Stellini, who was assistant to Antonio Conte at Inter Milan.

That's all for now. A lengthy update, plenty to sink your teeth into. Expect February to be similarly long, the irony of the year's shortest month being the busiest one- with no fewer than EIGHT matches- is not lost on me, whatsoever.

<-Back home
An excellent month of results in January there which will boost the players confidence as they close in on top spot. A great fee brought in for a player outwith the starting eleven that has allowed you to make some great additions. Of your acquisitions I know the most about Rhian Brewster who should really push Bamford for a starting spot or be excellent cover should he get injured. Who did Rangers replace Gerrard with?
An excellent month of results! Rhian Brewster introduction to the side has gone rather well, hasn't it. He could be a significant upgrade on Nketiah, a player in whom was just unable to provide the goods for you, should he continue to perform as he did against Millwall. I also welcome the signing of Chirivella and look forward to what he brings to the side. Hernandez's departure appeared to be imminent, but Alioski's departure - especially to China - comes as a surprise. A decent fee has been recouped though for a player that was merely an option at most rather than a key component of the side.

The future fee included within Harrison's newly negotiated contract appears to be low-risk should Leeds opt to trigger it. I can't see why they wouldn't, though!
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited
Imagine- Steven Gerrard was replaced by his assistant, Gary McAllister, his first management gig since he managed Leeds in League One from 2008 to 09.

ScottT- An astute analysis of the transfer window. Particularly pleased with the Harrison and Alioski deals as they represent good business for the club. Mind you, it's a good job Harrison's option to buy is so low, his wages will cost us a fortune, around the 40-50k mark


After an improved January, we faced up to the shortest month of the year which would throw more games at us than any other. With eight games to play including an FA Cup replay against Luton, this was where the games really came thick and fast. We were about to be thrown in the deep end and were about to find out whether we'd sink or swim. We were without Barry Douglas for most of the month, who we were looking to gradually phase back into the side after an ankle injury.


Leeds United 3-2 Wigan Athletic

Adam Forshaw 4
Dujon Sterling 9
Jack Harrison 28
Nathan Byrne off 47

Kieffer Moore 59
Adam Forshaw 90+4

This particular fixture brings back some traumatising memories for many Leeds fans. 1-0 up against 10-man, relegation-battling Wigan, with 2nd place seemingly on a silver platter. That's where it all started to go wrong. By the end of the game, Wigan came away with the points in a 2-1 turnaround, catalysing the most catastrophic of implosions any team's promotion challenge has ever seen. It was time to exorcise those demons.

We started well and got in front inside five minutes, with Adam Forshaw popping up at the far post to head home a Kalvin Phillips free kick from the left, for his first ever Leeds goal. A moment of sloppiness five minutes later was all it took for Wigan to pull level. Dujon Sterling broke down the right hand side with Leif Davis seemingly away with the fairies, before finishing past Kiko Casilla. We got ourselves back in front before the half-hour mark though, with Forshaw's dinked through ball finding Jack Harrison, who half-rounded David Marshall before tucking it home.

Shortly before half time, Wigan were awarded an extremely questionable penalty. Anthony Pilkington cut inside from the left making it into the box, before- and I make no exaggeration in saying this- Nicholas Opoku nicked the ball off his feet and Pilkington just fell over. James Linington inexplicably pointed straight to the spot. His blushes (and a possible lynching in the West Stand car park) were spared by Kiko Casilla, who got down low to save Charlie Mulgrew's penalty.

The visitors went a man light shortly after the break, with Nathan Byrne picking up a second yellow for a needless trip on Helder Costa near the touchline. Somehow, Wigan were next to score, sparking murmurs of last season's meeting. It was a fairly routine free kick, with Michael Jacobs floating it over and Kieffer Moore heading home. We were saved from dropping more points at home to 10-man Wigan, when Costa found Forshaw on the edge of the box, who took a touch and lashed home a half-volley into the top corner.

My delight with Forshaw's performance did not mask the fact I was unhappy with how we'd performed against an average side with a man advantage. It was poor defensively, just a good job we were at it going forward.

Luton Town 0-3 Leeds United
FA Cup Fourth Round Replay

Jack Clarke 10
Ben White 46
Helder Costa 90

After a frustrating 1-1 draw in the initial tie, we had a replay at Keilworth Road thrown at us to play Luton again. It certainly wasn't ideal, but it was a chance to give some of the younger lads some game time and hand a debut to Pedro Chirivella. If we could win but say 'no thanks' to a Fifth Round tie, that would've been lovely.

We got off to a much brighter start than the hosts and after ten minutes, we were ahead. Simon Sluga sent a free kick from his own corner towards Niclas Eliasson. Eliasson headed it straight to Jack Clarke though, skinning Dan Potts and finishing before Sluga could set himself after rushing back to his goal.

Almost straight after the restart, we doubled our advantage. It was another routine free kick, with Pedro Chirivella floating it over from the right and the back post header coming from Ben White. We bagged a third with the final seconds ticking away. It was Chirivella's corner that was knocked down by Rhian Brewster at the far post and poked home by Helder Costa.

It was a dominant win and I was delighted for the players that came into the side. Particularly pleasing was to see debutant Pedro Chirivella picking up a Man of the Match award for his two assists.

Nottingham Forest 3-0 Leeds United

Lewis Grabban 7 Lewis Grabban pen 13
Lewis Grabban 87

Our track record has never been great at the City Ground. It may just be because Forest get themselves up for this particular fixture more or if they're just better at home than us. We went into this one full of confidence though, we had six straight league wins and were looking good value for the 'P' word (not playoffs).
We got off to a pretty poor start. Joe Lolley caught the defence napping, picking out Lewis Grabban with a through ball putting him clean through on goal and a striker of his quality was never missing that. It went from bad to worse for us just over five minutes later. Nicholas Opoku pushed Grabban in the box whilst Rafa Mir floated a cross over. The ref pointed to the spot and Grabban duly stepped up two double Forest's lead.

Despite a half-effort to get back in it in the second half, we were killed off by Grabban bagging a hat-trick with little time remaining. Similar to his first, it was a through ball from Lolley which carved the defence open and as I've already said, Grabban doesn't miss those.

As good as Grabban was and all credit for getting his hat-trick, we were undone by some truly criminal defending in this one. The defence spent the whole time asleep and the less said about our attempt to get back into it the better. Head and shoulders our worst performance of the season so far.

Brentford 1-4 Leeds United

Patrick Bamford 5
Jack Harrison 13
Said Benrahma pen 29
Jack Harrison 58
Patick Bamford 81

After an afternoon of utter humiliation in the East Midlands, I was braced for more of the same on Tuesday night in West London. Our record at Griffin Park over the past decade had been truly dismal: played six, won none, drew two and lost four. Of course, I always enjoy a challenge, but breaking this hoodoo was going to be a big one to sink my teeth into.

Patrick Bamford allayed my fears pretty early on my putting us in the lead after five minutes. It was Jack Harrison who pressed Josh Clarke and won the ball near the byline, before squaring it to Bamford, who produced a neat first time finish at the near post. It wasn't long until that lead was doubled, thanks to a great goal from Harrison. He broke down the left, skinned Didier Digard and Josh Clarke, before placing it across the keeper and into the bottom corner.

We were totally dominant until Brentford pulled one back. Ollie Watkins led a counter attack, making it into the box before being tripped by Ben White (who was lucky not to be off as he was on a yellow). Said Benrahma stepped up to the penalty and buried it down the middle.

The second half saw us pick up where we left off before the penalty, completely dominating a side only one spot below us. Harrison restored our two-goal cushion before the hour, it was Luke Ayling who sent Helder Costa through on goal. Benrahma caught up and got a tackle in, but the loose ball fell to Harrison, who had an empty net to aim at. Bamford wrapped it up with ten minutes remaining, heading home a cross from Leif Davis at the near post.

I was stunned at what we'd just done to a team we've always struggled against for so long. We dominated for the vast majority of the game and in the space of three days, had gone from our worst performance of the season to our best. Unbelievable.

Leeds United 0-1 Bristol City

Famara Diedhiou 75

We were back at Elland Road for the weekend up against a Bristol City side, who it has to be said, were looking much worse for wear. Getting rid of Lee Johnson really hadn't done much for their season so far and a side which had been playoff contenders for a few years now, were sat dragging their arses along the bottom half of the division.

So it seems only fitting that our visitors from the West Country grabbed the only goal of the game. It was as frustrating a goal as you'll ever see see your team concede, as Bailey Wright caught the defence half asleep with a quick long ball from the left which Famara Diedhiou got up to loop a header over Kiko Casilla.

Yet again, a combination of poor attacking play and lousy half-arsed defending had cost us points against a poor side.We looked decent value to get something out of the first half, but dropped our game miles below the usual standard in the second.

Leeds United 3-3 Reading
Rhian Brewster pen 6
George Puscas 7
Jack Harrison 17
George Puscas 45+1
Jack Harrison 56
Andy Rinomhota 63

It had been an inconsistent month so far, so against a Reading side that sat 16th shortly before Christmas and had ghosted their way up to 4th, I had no idea what to expect. I was anticipating a tough match though, against a side that must have put together some serious form to get where they are from where they were two months ago.
We made a bright start to the game, winning a penalty in the opening five minutes, when Helder Costa cut inside from the right and skinned Tyler Blackett, who then bundled him over in the box. Rhian Brewster made no mistake from the spot, firing into the bottom corner to Rafael's right. Our defensive frailties ensured that goal counted for nothing and straight from kickoff, Liam Moore played a simple ball over the top to George Puscas, who had shaken the attentions of our centre backs and got in one-on-one, comfortably slotting it home. We got ourselves back in front ten minutes later, when Mehdi Zeffane played an incredible crossfield ball to Jack Harrison, putting him one-on-on. Harrison produced a cool finish, sliding it into the bottom corner. We couldn't just hang on before half time though, our defenders were caught backing off Ovie Ejaria, who played a through ball to George Puscas, who buried it on his first touch.

We took the lead again for the third time in the evening through Jack Harrison. Helder Costa switched the ball to Harrison, who got away from his marker and into a one-on-one. He dinked the ball over Rafel who had already commited to the low shot. Rafael did reach to get a hand to it, but couldn't stop it going past him. Fitting with the theme of the evening though, we were incapable of holding onto that lead. The pinballed around in our box after we failed to clear a corner, it broke to Andy Rinomhota near the right hand side of the box. There was no one closing him down, so Rinomhota fired across goal into the far bottom corner, a shot which Kiko Casilla shouldve done better with given his starting position.

Whilst it was good to see we were back at it going forward, some slack defending had cost us another two points. Although credit where it's due, Reading showed a lot of fight and determination to get back into the game after going behind three times.

Middlesbrough 1-0 Leeds United

Britt Assombalonga pen 37

Our penultimate challenge in our eight-game February was a trip to the North East to face Middlesbrough. The hosts had dropped off a cliff since we last met. They were sat in 9th last time around and eyeing up a playoff spot, but since then they had slumped to 16th. I'd been putting on extra defending sessions in training in an effort to resolve our defensive frailties, but against another bottom half side, I had that gut feeling we'd throw this one as well.
And I was proven right. Inside the last ten minutes of the first half, Patrick Bamford played a careless pass to Ryan Shotton, who sent a quick ball over the top for Britt Assombalonga. He'd got himself in behind the defence (shock) before being bundled over in the area by Liam Cooper. The ref had no hesitation and Cooper was probably lucky to get away with a yellow given the position Assmobalonga was in. Assombalonga stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards, sticking it in the bottom corner to Casilla's right.

We had our chances to get back in it but we were wasteful again. More lousy defending had cost us again and I was beginning to wonder how many more sessions I'd have to put on until the message sunk in.

Hull City 1-3 Leeds United

Patrick Bamford
Mateusz Klich pen 35
Mateusz Klich pen 62
Josh Magennis 74

After some poor defensive showings over the past couple of weeks, it was a relief to come up against a team that sat bottom of the form table, losing four their last five. I wasn't expecting any fireworks from the back at the KCOM Stadium, but at least our attack stood a chance in this one.
Patrick Bamford got us off to a flyer fifteen minutes in, despite Hull having the better of that earlier period. It was Jack Harrison who whipped a corner in which evaded everyone except Bamford, who slammed a half volley into the roof of the net. We kept them quiet after that and when we went 2-0 up, you could hear a pin drop. That is of course, apart from the away end, which was in good voice. It was a penalty that doubled our advantage, after Mateusz Klich had sent a free kick over from the left and George Honeyman was adjudged to have shoved Ben White. Klich stepped up to the spot kick and tucked it in the bottom corner to George Long's right.

Seemingly in competition with Bamford to be our top scorer, Klich stepped up to another penalty won in the second half. This time, it was Tom Eaves who handled a corner from Pedro Chirivella. Klich stood over it once again and buried it down the middle. The hosts did pull a goal back fifteen minutes from time though. Jarrod Bowen played a long ball to Josh Magennis, who got away from White and Opoku, before sliding a low effort past Kiko Casilla.

Ultimately, the difference in attacking quality showed. We were against a really poor side but with that being said, we have contrived to lose against a few of those already this month. We need to start burying weaker teams like this more often.


It's been a month in which very few players (if any) have shown enough consistency to stake a claimas first name on the team sheet. One player that has stood out for me however, has been Jack Harrison. Despite not doing it consistently, when he has turned up (which he has done a fair few times) this month, he's had a massive impact on the team going forward. In those eight matches, Harrison has contributed to six goals, scoring five and assisting one. Although there was little competition for this month's award, honourable mentions go to Patrick Bamford, who has chipped in with a few himself and Pedro Chirivella, who despite not playing often, has seldom put a foot wrong when he has played.


This is it then, ten games to go. This is where the run-in starts and I find out if this team has what it takes to win promotion to the Premier League and end a 16-year absence. Despite our inconsistency last month, we're still fairly well placed in the league, bridging the 8-point gap between Huddersfield and Brentford/Blackburn/Preston by having each party four points either side of us. As you can see, Huddersfield do have a game in hand. They actually made it to the Carabao Cup Final, beating Spurs 4-1 in the semi-final second leg to win 6-5 on aggregate. They're set to play Man Utd at Wembley at the beginning of March. I digress. They're next up for us in the league at Elland Road in a match we absolutely must turn up for and avoid a repeat of last time.


The news is that there is no news of note, at least on a managerial front. No sackings/appointments over February (at least in the Premier League and Championship). In the Champions League, Man City have been held 3-3 in the first leg of their last 16 tie against Valencia. Across that tie, Bayern Munich currently lead Barcelona 1-0, whilst Ajax face off against Real Madrid once more, with Los Blancos 3-2 up in their quest to avenge last season's reverse against the Dutch outfit. Meanwhile in the Europa League, five-times winners Sevilla have been dumped out in the first knockout round by Wolves on away goals.

Closer to home and the Premier League title race is heating up in Manchester. Holders City occupy top spot, just two points clear of United with eleven games to go, with a derby at Old Trafford still to play in May. As mentioned previously, Huddersfield and Man Utd will meet in the Carabao Cup Final, having beaten Tottenham 6-5 and Chelsea 3-2 respectively on aggregate in the semi-final.

That's all for now. Feedback on the new format would be much appreciated, should I put spoiler buttons on my match thoughts/report still or are they fine laid out as they are now? I'd love to hear your guys' thoughts on that as I try to create something a little more manageable, but without taking any good things away (at least not without adequately replacing them). Thanks for your support on this story and I''ll be back with another update in a couple of days or so.

<-Back home
A very inconsistent month results-wise, but you're still in a great position come the end of it. Hopefully form can be steadied sooner rather than later.
Still 2nd despite some hiccups. Ten games to go and in a great position to secure promotion, I have faith in you
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited
We were let off the hook to a large extent. It's going to make for an interesting run-in though

MARCH 2020

With ten games to go, we went into March on an inconsistent run but still in the top two and on the back of an away win. Next up in the keague was top side Huuddersfield, as we geared up for a tasty run-in. We had Barry Douglas back from injury which was something to shout about. I mentioned in the last update, February would be the test of whether we sink or swim and whilst we hardly thrived, we didn't sink either and now had to make the most of the fact that we were still in charge of our own destiny.


Reading 3-0 Leeds United
FA Cupt Fifth Round

George Puscas 12
Lucas Joao 47
Lucas Boye 84

After a month away, the FA Cup was back. As great as it is to see from a neutral's point of view, I was pretty ambivalent towards it, at least for this season. We have a promotion to chase down and as far as I'm concerned, this was an unnecessary distraction. At least by getting to the Fifth Round, it meant the board were kept happy. I did at least want a positive performance.

The hosts took the lead just after the ten minute mark. Pele played a through ball to George Puscas, who wriggled away from Ben White and fired past Kiko Casilla one-on-one. We were fairly evenly matched for the rest of the half, but were unable to find a way through like Reading had.

We started the second half poorly and within a couple of minutes of the restart, Reading had doubled their advantage. Pele picked out a gaping hole in our defence and found Lucas Joao, all alone and onside. You know how the rest goes. We made a half-hearted effort at getting back into it but not like the first half. With just over five minuteds remaining, the tie was dead and buried. This time, Lucas Joao played a through ball and some slack defending (for a change) saw Lucas Boye clear of defenders and one-on-one with Casilla.

It was a really poor performance. We didn't begin to show up and that was something I was annoyed with. But I was equally relieved. Any further progress would've been a distraction and we if we go up automatically, that will be the last time we play Reading this season, who have been awkward customers for us.

Leeds United 1-0 Huddersfield Town

Jack Harrison 24

With no cup games left to play and just ten games left to play in the next two-and-a-bit months, we hah no excuses left. With everything in our hands and an effectively fully fit squad, only we stood between ourselves and the Premier League. No more dossing off at the back and no more single-minded attacking (i'm looking at you, Helder Costa). What better place to start than with a Yorkshire Derby against a side four points clear of ourselves?

We dominated the game and spent the majority of it passing and probing around Huddersfield's half. A marked difference to the reverse clash at the John Smith's Stadium. We bagged the only goal of the game when Leif Davis got onto a wide ball from Adam Forshaw. Davis pulled the ball back to Jack Harrison on the edge of the area, who took a touch before smashing it into the roof of the net.

In one of the most important games of the season, our defence finally turned up and limited Huddersfield to four chances. It kept us on top and when we were putting in that sort of performance, all it was going to take was one goal. We should play like this more often.

Cardiff City 0-1 Leeds United

Jack Harrison 29

With our back-to-back wins in the league came a chance to make it three in three, which wouldn't be a bad run to set off on at this stage of the season. This time, our chance came away at Cardiff City, who we'd already beaten 4-0 at our place and who were sat 22nd, facing back-to-back relegations.

It was another pleasing dominant performance, in which at no point did we look like letting Cardiff come away with any sort of result. We could've done to have finished more of the many chances we created, but we proved- as we had against Huddersfield- it takes one shot to score a goal and one goal to win a game. It came just before the half hour mark, when Jack Harrison lost his marker to head home a Barry Douglas corner. Cardiff turned up to park the bus, but we just had too much for them. Three in three, thank you very much.

Leeds United 1-1 Fulham

Patrick Bamford 53
Liam Cooper own goal 86

We were on good form going into this one. Three wins in a row and starting to look once again like genuine promotion candidates. Under the lights, we welcomed Fulham, who since they beat us at Craven Cottage, had won just twice in their last fifteen games and lost five of their last six, slumped down in 16th. Of course, I was wary of they are capable of as I'd seen it first hand, but I also felt good about our chances.

We went into half-time goalless. We were firmly on top, dominating possession and creating plenty of good chances. The only thing we didn't do right is not taking any of those chances.

Eight minutes after the restart, it was Patrick Bamford who broke the deadlock and put us 1-0 up. It was a pretty routine set-piece, with Barry Douglas sending an in-swinging corner which Bamford met at the far post, stroking it ome with his left foot. But this is Leeds United, ever the architects of our own downfall and after another half of total domination, we still found a way to throw points away. Aboubakar Kamara had got through on goal. Liam Cooper arrived with a slide tackle which, while clean, led to a loose ball which wrong-footed Kiko Casilla- who was expecting a shot directed the other side of him- and trickled into the bottom corner.

It was absolutely infuriating. I was livid that for all those chances we created, we couldn't put more than one of them away. On the rare occasion that Fulham did create a chance, we finished the move for them. Absolutely bloody typical. Leeds, that.

Leeds United 4-3 Luton Town

Patrick Bamford 9
Patrick Bamford 15

Alan Sheehan 52
Jack Harrison 64
James Collins 67
James Collins 76
Patrick Bamford 90

Frustrating though the Fulham game was, it meant we came into our last game before the spring international break on the back of four games unbeaten. We were still 2nd, which although it meant we still hadn't stolen a march on top spot, it also meant we were making ourselves pretty difficult for the sides below us to dislodge. Elland Road was ready for fixture number 40, the visit of 21st-placed Luton Town.

We started brightly and within ten minutes, we were a goal up. Leif Davis got into some space down the left, before floating over a cross for Patrick Bamford to head home. On the quarter hour, it was 2-0. In an almost visually similar move, Davis had space and time on the left hand side, on the end of Jack Harrison's through ball, before crossing for Bamford at the near post to head home once more.

We went into half-time in the driver's seat. We were two goals to the good and playing Luton off the park. You know how the next bit goes.

Niclas Eliasson whipped a free kick over from near the right corner flag, across the corridor of uncertainty and onto the head of ex-Leeds man Alan Sheehan, putting the Hatters back in with a shout.

We seemed to have killed the game off shortly after the hour. Luke Ayling played a quick crossfield ball from a free kick to Harrison, who took one touch to get away from his marker and another to fire home and restore our advantage.

That wasn't the end of it. Just three minutes later, George Moncur flicked on a long free kick to James Collins. Collins found himself all alone and being played onside by Ben White, before tucking it into the bottom corner. He then pulled Luton level with a drive from 25 yards which found the bottom corner, with our defence slow to close him down.

It was beginning to look like another two points pissed away until the last minute. Tyler Roberts played a long ball to Bamford on the counter attack. He found himself all alone and onside and made a run into the box, where he fired a shot across the keeper and into the far corner, completing a wonderful hat-trick.

It was alarmingly sloppy in the second half and ultimately, we were bailed out by Bamford being on top form. Credit where it's due to Luton though, who put up a serious fight after half time.


I know it's probably easy to hand the award to Bamford straight off the back of scoring a hat-trick, but he had the quality in front of goal to turn one point against a struggling team into three. Not only that, but he has been particularly useful throughout the rest of the month too, scoring in the 1-1 draw against Fulham and helping us in the final third in games he hasn't scored in. His hold up play can often be second to none and makes him a valuable asset to our side. Honourable mention goes to Jack Harrison, who has bagged against Huddersfield, Cardiff and Luton and continued to be a nuisance in the final third this month.


You know when I said "this is it" at the end of February? Well I lied. This is it. Six games remaining, five of which are to be played in April, after the international break. Half of the teams we'll face find themselves in and around the playoffs and they're all away fixtures, against Blackburn (7th), Swansea (6th) and Derby (9th). Three points clear of 3rd and a point off top spot. The heat is on.


There's just been the one managerial exit in the Championship this month, with Stoke City's lowly position in 20th enough evidence for the board that Michael O'Neill was no longer the right man for the job. He's been replaced by ex-Leicester boss, Nigel Pearson.

In the Champions League, Real Madrid got their revenge on Ajax, beating them 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to progress to the quarter-final with an aggregate win of 7-3. Elsewhere in the competition, Barcelona came from behind in their tie against Bayern Munich, winning 2-0 at the Nou Camp and 2-1 on aggregate; Man City eventually progressed past Valencia with a 2-1 home win (5-4 on aggregate); whilst holders Liverpool showed no mercy against FC Kobenhavn, winning 5-0 at home for an aggregate score of 8-0.

In the Europa League, Man Utd scraped through to the quarter final on away goals against Roma, after losing 3-2 on the night at the Stadio Olimpico; whilst Arsenal overcame a 1-0 deficit against Lille with an emphatic 4-1 win at the Emirates Stadium.

In the Premier League, it is still very tight at the top, with just a point to separate leaders Man City from Man Utd. Liverpool, completing the rivals' triangle are in hot pursuit, five points Man Utd with a game in hand and a meeting with Solskjaer's side straight after the international break.

In domestic competitions, Reading made it to Wembley, beating Bristol City 2-0 at the Madejski Stadium to set up a semi-final with Liverpool whilst Man City hammered Arsenal 3-0, with their semi-final coming against last year's beaten finalists Watford. Man Utd beat Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup Final, with goals coming from Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw in a 2-0 win.

<-Back home
Well, that Huddersfield game has really made it interesting. Just a point between you and top spot and just three ahead of having to be in the playoffs. These final six games are going to be very very interesting and lets hope you are able to break the old Leeds curse of bottling it at the big moments!
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited
TheLFCFan- it's definitely opened things up, just a question of seeing the job through. Easier said than done mind

APRIL & MAY 2020

With it being just the one fixture in May, it made sense to just roll April and May together in one update. We were in a strong position, but strong positions mean sweet nothing if you don't make them account. We had three fixtures against teams in and around the top six yet to play, all away from home, so it's fair to say we had the least enviable finish to the season. We were set to end the season as we started it, missing Luke Ayling through injury. Another notable injury absentee was Adam Forshaw.


Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Leeds United

Mateusz Klich 26

So here we go. The end of the spring international break signals the start of the mad dash to the finish line for leagues running from August to May and for us, it was no different. Six games to get ourselves promoted and end a 16-year wait for the return of top flight football at Elland Road. The first of those six games was a trip to Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers, who themselves were circling viciously around the top six.

We won the game with a goal scored by Mateusz Klich midway through the first half. Patrick Bamford led a counter attack, veering towards the left and drawing defenders to him on the edge of the box. He got his head up and dinked it over to Klich on his right, who had been left all alone and onside. Klich made no mistake, firing an effort across the body of Christian Walton and into the far corner.

As far as the flow of the game was concerned, we fully deserved all three points. Blackburn did have a little spell at the beginning when they asked questions of us but we held on. Once we got a foothold in the game, there was no stopping us. It was a complete performance.

Leeds United 1-1 Stoke City

Patrick Bamford 33
Tom Ince 80

The Easter Weekend had rarely been kind to us. being the weekend where we fell out of the playoffs in 2016/17 under Garry Monk as well as the infamous weekend last season. 1-0 up against 10-man Wigan, four points clear as it stood (I may have mentioned this before). We finished the weekend four points behind 2nd and got dumped out of the playoffs in the semi final. Not this time. Five games to go and everything was going well. The win over Blackburn had put us six points clear of 3rd and now we faced Stoke, who were dragging their feet in the bottom half of the table.

It was Patrick Bamford that put us in the lead with just under fifteen minutes left of the first time. Helder Costa got to the byline, cut it back to Bamford, Bamford's shot was half-saved. Cameron Carter-Vickers picked up the loose ball on the line but was immediately closed down by Bamford who scrambled it over the line. Not pretty but they all count (if they're onside and there's no foul).

We looked so close to wrapping it up in the second half. First, Nicholas Opoku headed home a Barry Douglas free kick, but it was ruled out for offside; then Jack Butland pulled off an incredible triple save to deny first Douglas, then Bamford and then Klich.

Stoke came at us in search of an equaliser in the last fifteen minutes and with ten to go, they got just what they were looking for. We failed to deal with a cross from Mark Duffy, Opoku scuffed his clearance and it fell to Tom Ince, who made no mistake from about 14 yards with a clear shot at goal.

There was absolutely no excuse for that. We missed chance after chance (27 shots, 10 on target) before inexplicably giving a very soft goal away. I must credit Butland though, who rightly won man of the match for some tremendous saves he made in that game. On the positive though, the teams below us dropped points too, putting us seven points clear of QPR and Swansea. We were due to play Swansea next, meaning a win could potentially take us up. Oh, and we'd secured a playoff spot with this result. Not all bad eh?

Swansea City 0-1 Leeds United
Mateusz Klich pen 67

After a not-overly-spectacular performance on Good Friday, all results had still gone in our favour, meaning we could potentially seal it away at a promotion rival. Swansea, as you may remember from earlier in the story, were the last team to beat us before we went on that run which shot us up the table. So there was some vengeance to be taken on that level, but at least this year we went into Easter Monday leading by seven points, rather than trailing by two. If we won and it didn't happen today, a win against Barnsley would complete the job. In the other game we needed to go our way, QPR played host to Sheffield Wednesday.

We got the result we needed, with the only goal once again coming from Mateusz Klich. It was a battle of the Robertses as Tyler, playing on the left wing for us faced up against Connor, playing right-back for Swansea. It was Tyler who cut inside, gliding past Connor, who he was tripped by in the box with a late challenge. Connor Roberts was actually lucky not to be sent off, given that he was already on a booking. Klich stepped up with his usual confidence and swagger, burying it down the middle to send the travelling Leeds fans into ecstasy.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Does that mean you sealed it?" The answer is no. In fact, at the end, I was led to believe that QPR had beaten Sheffield Wednesday 2-0. It was only when I saw the result after that I noticed Wednesday scored twice in added time to clinch a 2-2 draw. It set the stage for our penultimate home game, with a point being enough to finish the job off. We were as good as promoted anyway by this point, leading by 9 points with a goal difference advantage of 12. Stranger things have happened in this league though, so we still had to turn up on Saturday.


Leeds United 1-0 Barnsley

Jack Harrison 66

We knew what was required of us. One lonely point was all we needed to clinch promotion. Whether it was today against Barnsley, next week against Derby or the week after against Charlton. As long as we didn't lose all three, we'd guarantee ourselves Premier League football next season. Coincidentally, Barnsley also only needed a point to stay up, although with the greater likelihood of dropped points down that end of the table, they were all but safe.

We went about it the way we went about almost every other fixture this season. We dominated the first half, all we needed was a goal.

And then it came. The goal. The goal that won the game. The goal that took us up. The goal that ended 16 years of hurt. Helder Costa cut inside from the right after good link up play with Mehdi Zeffane and Jamie Shackleton. He dinked the ball over to the far post where Jack Harrison was waiting. Harrison was up like a salmon and looped a header over Sam Radlinger and into the far corner of the net. Harrison went beserk, the players went mad, I went bonkers and the fans went absolutely fucking mental. We weren't just taking the point we needed, we were taking all three for good measure.

The final whistle went and bedlam ensued. Pitch invasions, flares, big flags and banners, with one noticeably saying "Fuck The EFL". After 16 years of pain, mediocrity, third tier football and abject despair, our decade-and-a-half in exile was all over. The club had had near misses, false dawns and close shaves down the years, but finally we'd done it.

Now focus switched to the title. We were still three points behind West Brom. If we didn't do it, it was no biggie, but wouldn't it be great if we went up as Champions?


Derby County 0-0 Leeds United

We'd done the important bit and achieved what we set out to achieve. I'd even got my reward for it, signing an extension to my contract that would keep me at Elland Road until June 2023. Now for the bonus point, we were gunning for the title. Huddersfield slipped up the night before and lost against West Brom, giving us the opportunity to pull level on points with them. Win by four and we'd go top.

The biggest opportunity of the game presented itself to us after fifteen minutes. Klich had broken down the right and made his way into the box, proving too fast for Matt Clarke to keep up with. Once Clarke did catch up, Klich was in the box and he tripped him with a poorly timed challenge. The ref pointed straight to the spot. Klich has been our man of the moment from penalties all season and he chose this game to miss his first spot kick since pre-season, with keeper Kelle Roos saving low to his left.

The performance was pretty poor from us. We didn't press them hard enough or create enough. Their lack of quality at our end meant that both teams came away with a 0-0 draw, with neither side really deserving to win. It felt like a missed opportunity, but we were still in with a shot, trailing Huddersfield by just two points going into the final day.

Leeds United 2-0 Charlton Athletic

Jack Harrison 13
Jack Harrison 64

We knew the situation. Win here and we have a chance. In the other game, Huddersfield faced a trip to The Den to take on Millwall, who were already relegated and were rooted to the bottom. We were asking the impossible of Millwall, but if they could at least get a point, we had a chance. We weren't the only ones in this fixture with something to play for. Our visitors, Charlton Athletic, had taken their relegation battle to the wire. They sat 22nd at the start of the day, three points and three goals worse off than 21st placed Luton, who hosted Blackburn. Charlton also needed a win to stand a chance of getting what they wanted.

It was us that got off to a flyer inside the first fifteen minutes. Mateusz Klich had got to the byline, cut it back to Helder Costa emerging into the box and- similarly to the Barnsley game- he dinked a ball towards Jack Harrison at the far post, who duly headed home.

Harrison popped up once more midway through the second half to make it 2-0. Pedro Chirivella cut out a pass from Ben Purrington, by nodding it down to Tyler Roberts. Roberts looked up and carved the Charlton defence wide open with a through ball to Harrison. Harrison got to it first and slid the ball past Dillon Phillips and into the bottom corner.

Huddersfield were held to a 0-0 draw at Millwall, meaning we got level on points but missed out by one goal on goal difference. Winning by two more goals would've landed us the title. I had a feeling the 4-3 against Luton would come back to bite us on the arse. But for all our first world problems, we had sent Charlton out of the Championship's other exit door, the relegation zone. Charlton needed a win to stand a chance and were well beaten, causing them to slip back down to League One. This meant that Luton, despite being hammered 4-0 by Blackburn, were safe.


This man has had a big month for us. Jack Harrison scored the winning goal in the game against Barnsley, which saw us promoted and bagged a brace against Charlton, in a game which on another day, could've seen us win the title. Honourable mentions go to Mateusz Klich, whose goals against Blackburn and Swansea put us in such a strong position and Helder Costa, who has stepped up his game to provide some important assists.


There it is for confirmation. 2nd place. Automatic promotion. "Not dicking around with the playoffs any more". It's been a struggle with some rough patches, but 91 points is always a very strong season. We've beaten the club record of 85. Yet for all the jubilation of winning promotion, there will always be that nagging part of me that sees those two goals that could've won us the title. But we're up and if we carry on the way I intend us to, no one will care that we missed out on the title when we finally got out of the second tier of English football. As you can see, Brentford won the playoffs, beating QPR in the West London derby at Wembley, whilst Millwall, Cardiff and Charlton all went down. This will all be covered in my next post when I review the year in football.


I'll be honest, I missed the managerial movements for this period, but I'll cover that in a later update.
In the Champions League, PSG and Liverpool saw off Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, making the neutral wait a while longer for a first El Clasico final. The result of the finals of competitions covered in this section will be revealed when I do the review. In the Europa League, the four English teams played each other in the quarter final, with Arsenal knocking out Man Utd on away goals whilst Chelsea beat Wolves 4-2 on aggregate. Arsenal and Chelsea also won their semi-finals to set up a repeat of last year's final in Gdansk.

In the FA Cup, Reading's cup run ended in a semi-final defeat to Liverpool, who beat them 1-0 at Wembley. In the other tie, Man City beat Watford 4-2 to set up a final against Liverpool. The Premier League conclusion will be covered in the review.

That's all for now. It's been a successful season and I hope you're all on board ready to see what the summer brings.

<- Back home
Congratulations on going up once again! A real shame you missed out on just a couple of goals but as you said, when it comes down to it and if all goes well in the Premier League, nobody will remember how you were promoted. Good luck for next season.

You are reading "Leeds United: Emulating El Loco".

FMS Chat

hey, just wanted to let you know that we have a fb style chat for our members. login or sign up to start chatting.