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The Same, But Different (Leeds United)

We go again...
Started on 27 April 2020 by joshleedsfan
Latest Reply on 16 September 2020 by joshleedsfan
A solid start to life in the Premier League. It's not that many points to start with but if the league is also getting off to a bad start then nobody can complain. Haberer is looking great with that hat-trick, too!
Pleasing results so far. If you keep getting points at this rate, you'll place highly.
A solid start, have to be happy with that
ScottT: The Southampton game was a turning point, great to finally get a win and some goals on the board

OneMoreGame: Good to see you on board! We did what we set out to do last year, just a case of making sure we don't ever have to do it again!

Wolf: Still a long way to go, but getting up at the first attempt was vital

Jack: I knew he was a gamble, having rarely scored more than 3 in a whole season, but he fit the bill in terms of the player I needed. Seems to be paying off!

Justice: You'd hope so, still a long way to go yet

Griffo: Very happy with it mate, just need to build on it now


SEPTEMBER 2020


Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United

Alexandre Lacazette 10


After the international break, we were back in action at the Emirates to take on Arsenal who as always, had aspirations of getting into the top four. It was never going to be an easy match but we'll always look to give the so-called 'big six' a game. Douglas was injured during the break and with Holding ineligible to play against his parent club, Mings shifted out to left back whilst Woolfenden made his league debut at centre back.

We didn't exactly get off to a blistering start and Arsenal took an early lead. Lacazette spearheaded the counter attack after our corner was cleared and Mings should have done a lot better with the time and space he had to close him down. He continued to bear down on goal before firing it past Casilla into the far corner. As a whole game, it was clear to see Arsenal were the better side and deserved a win but that's not to say we didn't play well. We created some half decent chances ourselves and overall, we also defended well. Casilla played a blinder, saving 15 of their 16 shots on target, with the other of course being their goal.

Leeds United 1-0 Leicester City

Janik Haberer 40


After defeat against Arsenal, we were back at it at Elland Road against 2016 champions, Leicester City. Since winning the Premier League, Leicester have been making strides towards achieving regular European football, so they weren't to be taken as lightly as a lot of other sides outside the 'big six'.

In a first half in which we were the much better side, we finally got a reward for it with five minutes to go until half time. It came from a Phillps corner from the left which was headed at the near post by Fry, Kasper Schmeichel got a block on it but Haberer reacted fastest to put us ahead. There was a heart-in-mouth moment when Casilla half-dropped/struggled to get a hold of a shot from Ben Chilwell. Everything seemed to move in a slow motion as the ball just seemed to keep wriggling along the goal line away from Casilla before Fry eventually booted into row Z, with the goal-line technology ruling that the ball never fully crossed the line. We'd shifted to a defensive focus in the second half and we defended very well, particularly at a time when they started to throw the kitchen sink at us. A fully deserved three points and a vitally important result.

Reading 1-0 Leeds United
Carabao Cup Third Round

Yakou Meite 23


With a decent start to the league campaign, we were back in action in the Carabao Cup. In the Third Round, we faced a trip to the Madejski Stadium to play Reading, where just under a year before, we had climbed to the top of the Championship table for the first time last season.

The hosts took the lead midway through the first half. Mihailo Ristic- on loan from Montpellier- floated a cross from the left, which Yakou Meite got above Oliver Casey to head home. It was a poor performance and not one that I was particularly happy with. Having said that, I could take or leave the Carabao Cup and it wasn't a complete humiliation. Just a fixture one team fancied more than the other.

Leeds United 1-2 Burnley

Ebere Eze 31
Ashley Barnes 47
Chris Wood 49


Out of the cup, we were able to focus solely on solidifying our position in the league until the new year when the FA Cup comes around. This time, we played host to Burnley, a game which would see Chris Wood at Elland Road for the first time in three years, when he'd struggled against Fulham before making his move to the Premier League a couple of weeks later.

We had the best of the first half once again and got our reward after half an hour. It came from a move I was very proud of, with slick fast passing, but with the patience to wait for an opening. It was Klich who unlocked the defence with a superb through ball out to Eze, who cut inside from the left and curled it past Nick Pope into the bottom corner. We seemed to sleepwalk into the second half however, and within the first couple of minutes, they got back on level terms. Dwight McNeil sent over a free kick from the left, Fry got his head to it at the far post, but his clearance dropped to Ashley Barnes who unleashed a magnificent volley into the far corner. A couple of minutes later, they got in front, when Barnes played a quick through ball from his own half, playing in Chris Wood who got himself one-on-one, finishing as coolly as you'd always expect him to. I was pretty angry that we'd thrown all the good work in the first half down the drain by starting so slowly after half-time. It's cost us dearly and it's something we have to learn from.

LEAGUE TABLE



Despite taking just three points from the available nine this month, our league position hasn't suffered an awful lot. Of course, we're further behind the European places, but I'm not expecting us to really trouble that end of the table until we can secure a second season at this level. We play Spurs and Liverpool back-to-back next month so I'm expecting it to get a bit hairy for us, but these things will even themselves out of course. It's just a case of taking advantage of the games we should be picking up points in.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH



With the benefit of hindsight, it was a mistake to drop Woolfenden to accomodate the return of Holding for the Burnley game. Woolfenden had stepped in for the Arsenal game and had played so well I forgot to put Holding back in the side for the Leicester game. I played him against Reading with a view to getting Holding back in the side but on reflection, he's probably been our best player this month. He's been dependable when called upon to perform his defensive duties and has made any concerns that he wouldn't be able to handle the step up from League One to the Premier League look rather silly. Well played indeed.

IN OTHER NEWS


The big news at the club is that I was offered a new contract and gladly accepted it. With just nine months remaining on my old deal, I wanted to ensure my long term future at the club and the new deal will see me remain until June 2023.

In the Carabao Cup, the only real upset of the Third Round came at Carrow Road, as Norwich City held Man City to a 0-0 draw before beating them on penalties. The rest of the 'big six' are all through, with Wycombe and Walsall the only teams remaining outside the top two tiers.


That's all from me today. October will be a little shorter as there are only three matches to be played and the next update could well be out later today
Congrats on the new deal! Life in the premier league is proving to be difficult but you’re doing more than enough to be pleased with. Survival this season would mean the club will have a nice bank balance next season, which could lead to big funds available for spending!
A well-deserved new deal it has to be said. Haberer coming up big to secure another free points for you. He's been a great piece of business so far.
Not a bad start in PL, mid-table with really impressive win against Leicester. Maybe it's for the better that you lost in the cup.
Firstly congratulations on the extended contract, very much deserved. Mid-table is nothing to be down about, especially for a newly promoted side. You made some very nice deals in the summer and really do seem to like those loan with options to buy!

Also good to see Manchester United so low down in the league :D
Justice: It's a tough league but I think we'll manage. Not done too bad so far

ScottT: Can never go wrong with a free transfer, especially when they slot so well into the team

OneMoreGame: A blessing in disguise...

TheLFCFan: You don't know the half of it! ;) 'Mind the gap' springs to mind...


As predicted, we have two updates in one day, with October only containing three matches. It'l even itself out over the season, I'd expect

OCTOBER 2020


RESULTS


Middlesbrough 0-1 Leeds United

Carles Perez 34


After a disappointing result against Burnley and with games against Tottenham and Liverpool on the horizon, a win here was absolutely vital. Boro sat bottom of the table and were the first fellow newcomers we were due to face this season, with a trip to the Riverside. Our last game here saw us beaten by a Dael Fry goal, so at least he can't do it to us again!

The only goal of the game came ten minutes before the interval, after a good period of dominant play. Mings got to the byline and dinked a cross to the back post, which Perez intially headed at Aynsley Pears before poking home the rebound. There was a sustained period in the second half where a series of mistakes put us under a lot of pressure, but we rode it out and gained a result that our play throughout the rest of the game deserved. A vital three points.

Leeds United 1-1 Tottenham Hostpur

Heung-Min Son 11
Patrick Bamford 49


After an important win against Middlesbrough before the international break, our attentions turned to another difficult fixture in the form of a home clash against Jose Mourinho's Spurs.

They got off to a strong start, opening the scoring after ten minutes. Serge Aurier floated over a cross from the right which Heung-Min Son met at the far post with a volley. We responded well and when we got back level shortly after the restart, it was the least our play deserved. Ayling sent over a cross from a deep position on the right which Bamford met with his head at the near post. We came agonisingly close to winning it with five minutes to play, when a magnificent pick-out from Klich put Roberts in a one-on-one. He beat the keeper, but the ball pinged away off the post. We played really well and as a draw was the very least we deserved, as we were arguably the better side.

Liverpool 3-1 Leeds United

Patrick Bamford 30
Andrew Robertson 31
Mohamed Salah 85
Roberto Firmino 90


After Man City away, this is arguably the fixture I feared the most. One of the best club sides in Europe at the moment was always going to be a difficult task, but it at least meant the pressure was off. At Anfield, all I wanted was a performance, anything else was a bonus.

After matching them yard-for-yard in the opening half an hour, we managed to get ourselves in front. Phillips picked out Douglas with a beautiful ping out to the left, Douglas sent over a cross which Bamford met at the far post and headed it back across goal. We immediately went to defend and probably invited more pressure than we could handle and the hosts got themselves level immediately. Joe Gomez's cross was headed clear by Ayling, but Andrew Robertson arrived with a brilliant volley into the top corner. The intensity took its toll on us towards the end, when Robertson's cross from the left was met with a tap-in by Mo Salah at the far post. They wrapped up the game just before stoppage time, when Paulo Dybala's left-sided cross was met by the head of Roberto Firmino at the near post. We played well, we worked hard, but were ultimately outclassed by a world class side. We kept it respectable and can take a lot of heart from the performance itself.

LEAGUE TABLE



I'd have taken three points from this move (would accept no less than a win against Boro, not expecting much against Spurs and Liverpool). We picked up four and maintained a solid position in mid-table. We're five clear of the relegation zone with a game in hand. A useful start to the season that we need to sustain.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH



With the points we needed against Middlesbrough secured, Bamford provided in the games where any further points were a bonus. Stepping up for an injured Haberer, he popped up with a crucial equaliser early in the second half against Spurs and put us in front at Anfield. On top of this, he was up to his usual tricks of holding the ball up in the final third, allowing us to create a lot of our chances.

IN OTHER NEWS


At the club, we've secured the long term future of one of our more exciting prospects, tying Alfie McCalmont down until June 2024. The contract comes with an £18.25m release clause to clubs in continental competitions, expiring in September 2022, but I'm sure we can renegotiate if it ever gets to a point where that's a problem.

In the Carabao Cup, Norwich have taken another scalp, this time by putting the red side of Manchester out of the cup with another win on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. Perhaps Manchester is now yellow? Wycombe and Walsall's adventures came to an end with a 2-1 defeat away at Leicester and a 3-0 defeat at home to Liverpool respectively.
A massive point gained against Spurs. That's a point more than what you would have expected, I think.
You have one of the best defensive records in the league which is just absolutely tremendous for a newly promoted side! If you can get the goals flowing in the other end, top half will surely be beckoning!
Encouraging signs to your new life in the Premier League. If you keep it up you should not even have to hint at any worry of a relegation fight.
That's as tough a month that you're likely to get and you handled it well. The priority is just keeping the distance between yourself and that 18th place!
ScottT: We could've easily taken three off them, but I'm just happy we played well

Justice: Despite my preference to attack, I can't hide my delight at how we've defended so far!

Eoin97: I'd like to think so, but still a bit of work to be done yet

Jack: All I ask for against the 'big six' is performances. If we do that, results might even follow


NOVEMBER 2020


RESULTS


AFC Bournemouth 0-0 Leeds United


After a couple of tough games against Spurs and Liverpool, we were down to the South coast to take on Bournemouth. They were sat a few places above us, chasing European football. Speaking of which, they're currently going well in the Europa League, sitting top of a group with Lazio, FC Kobenhavn and AZ Alkmaar. They've qualified for knockout football (as have Lazio) with a game to go.

Over the game, we were the better side. Our only issue was- similar to the first game against Bristol City last year- we had a tough time breaking down their five-man defence to create any real chances.

Leeds United 2-3 Brentford

Said Benrahma 5
Janik Haberer 6
Ebere Eze 51

Bryan Mbeumo 57
Bryan Mbeumo 67


Having played Middlesbrough, we were due to play our other fellow promotees. Brentford took the second automatic promotion spot, and similarly to us, had adapted well to the Premier League, sitting within just a few points of the top seven.

We were put on the back foot immediately after five minutes, Brentford took the lead when Valentin Rosier's cross from the left was met by Said Benrahma, whose volley bounced off Ayling and back into Benrahma's feet. He worked it into some space before smashing it past Casilla. We got level almost immediately, after some good link-up play with Costa down the right, Ayling swung in a cross which was headed home by Haberer at the near post. We got ourselves in front shortly after the restart, when Costa cut out Rico Henry's headed clearance, cut inside and played in Eze, who buried the one-on-one. We weren't ahead for long though, and found ourselves pegged back when Mathias Jensen played a quick ball over the top, Fry was caught paying little-to-no attention to Bryan Mbeumo, who got in behind and fired the Bees level. Their winner came through Mbeumo again. This time, it was Costa's poor clearance cut out by Christian Noorgard, who headed a through ball to Mbeumo (being played a mile onside by Cooper), who slotted it home.

Fair play to Brentford, they were top quality and fully deserved the win. You have to give credit where it's due and it's clear to see why they've taken to the Premier League so well. As for us, it was a rare defensive howler, shooting ourselves with a series of defensive clusterfucks.

Manchester City 2-1 Leeds United

Sergio Aguero pen 36
Sandro Tonali off 44
Sergio Aguero 45+1
Janik Haberer 84


The international break fell after the Brentford defeat and then it was on to our toughest test of the season, an away trip to face back-to-back-to-back English champions, Man City. We'd already had a taste of what they can do to not-yet-world-class teams when they annihilated us 6-1 last year. I had learned from that and used the international break to get the side trained and ready to deploy a defensive counter-attacking style, if we were to stand a chance of not seeing a repeat of last year.

We held them off well, but were punished by the cruel mistress known as referee interpretation. In FM (as most who have managed in the Premier League on this will know), VAR is used by the ref checking the replay, not just being overridden by a control centre as you'd see in real life. With that in mind, Michael Oliver gave a penalty for a 'trip' by Ayling on Raheem Sterling, in which he blatantly put the ball out for a corner. Not satisfied with getting it wrong once, he then reviewed the incident on VAR as instructed and still gave the penalty. Absolutely baffling. Sergio Aguero stepped up and a striker of his calibre was never missing, as the Argentine sent Casilla the wrong way to put City in front.

The ref did earn a tiny bit of redemption by sending off Sandro Tonali, although not doing so would've been an utter injustice, it was a clear-as-day two-footed foul on Haberer. Aguero doubled City's lead, pouncing on the rebound after Bernardo Silva's shot was blocked by Casilla. We pulled one back near the end, when Eze cut inside from the right and played in Haberer one-on-one, with the ex-Freiburg man notching his sixth of the season.

Over the ninety minutes, we defended admirably, although couldn't begrudge City the win. We did get unnecessarily screwed with that absolute shocker of a penalty call, an absolute injustice of a decision.

Leeds United 3-0 Everton

Jamie Shackleton 73
Tyler Roberts 90
Tyler Roberts 90+2



The defeat at Man City, however reasonably anticipated, stretched our run of games without a win to five. The press were turning the narrative into how we were relegation candidates after all, despite us being four points clear and having had to play Spurs, Liverpool and Man City in those five games. With Everton struggling down in 17th, it was a chance for us to create some breathing space again at home.

We dominated the first half, but Everton found a way back into it after the restart and were putting us under some pressure. We switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Eze in the hole, instructed to man mark Roberto Gagliardini in the defensive midfield role. We took back control of the game and got ourselves in front with 17 minutes remaining. Mings floated over a cross from the corner of the box which one of the smallest players on the pitch, Jamie Shackleton, got up to head home. The points were sealed just before added time was announced, when Ayling's cross from deep evaded the head of Seamus Coleman and landed at the feet of Roberts, who took a touch and buried it. We got a third a couple of minutes later, again through Roberts, as Perez's through ball was cut out by Jonjoe Kenny, who attempted a one-touch pass to Pickford. It was a weak pass that was instantly snuffed out by Roberts, who initially hit the post before burying the rebound.

It was a dominant performance that brought us a deserved and overdue win. We were now seven points clear of the drop zone. The switch to 4-2-3-1 worked an absolute treat, perhaps a trick I can keep up my sleeve for similar situations in the future.

LEAGUE TABLE



The win against Everton has brought us some breathing space once more. We do face one of the 'big six' next month in Man Utd, but looking at how their season has panned out so far, I'd say they're there for the taking. A cursory glance at either end of the table shows Man City running away with it once again, whilst Middlesbrough are having an utterly torrid time at the bottom, taking a puny two points from fourteen matches. At this rate, they could be on course to smash Derby's record for fewest points in a Premier League season.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH



Often overlooked due to a lack of consistency, Tyler Roberts is in luck this month as everyone else has struggled for consistency too. The Welsh Ronaldo's brace against Everton sealed the points for us in a game where we really needed them. He's starting to look increasingly lively as he gets more used to Premier League opposition and has even managed to be named Premier League Young Player of the Month. Keep it up Tyler...

IN OTHER NEWS


Having not taken a look a managerial ins and outs for a while, its perhaps time we got caught up. A 12th place finish last season cost Brendan Rodgers his job, he was replaced by Dinamo boss Nenad Bjelica. Norwich boss Daniel Farke lost his job in the summer after a takeover, he was replaced by former Bayern boss Niko Kovac. Luciano Spalletti quit the Wolves job in summer to take on the Italian national team, his replacement is ex-Swansea manager Michael Laudrup. Ralph Hasenhuttl became the first managerial casualty since the season kicked off, he was sacked in October with Southampton sitting in 19th, his replacement is Brentford boss Thomas Frank. After leaving Brentford, Frank was replaced by Huddersfield boss Danny Cowley. Finally, Everton's poor league position cost Quique Sanchez Flores his job in early November, he's been replaced by Genoa manager Cristian Stellini.

In the Championship, there have been a raft of ins and outs so far. The following were sacked for a poor league position unless stated otherwise:

Scott Parker was sacked by Fulham, having bottled promotion last year, he now had them sitting in 22nd. He's been replaced by ex-Everton boss Marco Silva. Results have drastically improved since, with Fulham now in 13th. Stoke sacked Steve McLaren and replaced him with Charlton boss Lee Bowyer. Charlton replaced Bowyer with ex-Southend boss Chris Powell. Mark Warburton lost his job at QPR, his replacement is yet to be confirmed, with Chris Ramsey taking the caretaker manager role. Blackburn sacked Tony Mowbray and brought back Henning Berg. Sunderland sacked Phil Parkinson but have yet to replace him, with Angelo Alessio taking the caretaker role. Danny Cowley is yet to be replaced at Huddersfield, with Mark Hudson stepping up as caretaker manager. Preston parted company with Alex Neil and replaced him with ex-Villa boss Dean Smith. Steve Cooper was sacked by Swansea and replaced by Hull boss David Adams. Adams is yet to be replaced, with Terry Boyle taking on the caretaker role.


That's all from me for today. There are six fixtures in December (I said these things would even themselves out), so the next update could potentially be delayed
A tough month but a very important victory against Everton.

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