A mixed start to the season with those two losses but with Bournemouth having a brilliant start it can be excused. A tough group for sure, but Europa League qualification will be more than good enough for a side that three years ago were a Championship side.
2022/23 FIRST HALF
We've been a lot less 'at it' so far in the league. The fixture congestion with our participation in the Champions League has been telling and it probably wouldn't be an unfair statement to say that the players haven't been as motivated for routine league games as they have. Evidence of this was a weak performance at West Brom, sandwiched by brilliant wins against Napoli and Monchengladbach. It's something we need to learn to live with after the winter break, otherwise we won't have European nights to look forward to next year. Inconsistency across the front three has cost us a lot so far, with the midfield's industry not always matched by the application in the final third. We can take solace from the fact this isn't strictly the halfway point, it's just the point at which we break for the World Cup. We've still got six games to play before we get to that stage which is a long time in football. There's no Champions League football until February now so hopefully we can re-focus on domestic football and start getting some much needed league results. Bournemouth, Wolves and Southampton are all wreaking havoc in the top six, perhaps a sign that the league has pushed on in quality this year. We could possibly be victims of our own success, with our resurgence last season fresh off the back of a relegation battle has inspired other teams to be more ambitious and take advantage of the lack of continental football clogging their fixture lists. This has probably been my longest paragraph about the table, but it's undeniable these first 13 games have given me a lot to think about.
Having had his progress hampered with injuries and a lack of fitness last season, Razvan Marin is back with a vengeance this year. Flashes of quality last year were an insight into what he can do for us and he's produced the goods for us so far, contributing six goals and two assists from 19 appearances. He's been a star turn for us so far. Honourable mention goes to Haris Seferovic, who has overcome a slow start to the season to become our top scorer in the Champions League with four goals in as many starts.
IN OTHER NEWS
I know I said I was doing away with this feature, but there was some big news in the summer that I completely forgot to put in the last update. On top of completing the refurb on our training and youth facilities at Thorp Arch, we are also in the process of the most significant building works at Elland Road since the East Stand was built over the 1992/93 season. At the end of last season, work began on expanding the ground's capacity by 5,000. Of course, the game will just show an expansion, but for the purposes of making shit up (it's the point of these stories, right?) the crumbly old West Stand- which has stood since 1956- will make way for a shiny new West Stand to mirror the stand opposite. For a rough idea of what that will look like, the image below was a proposal put forward a few years ago, when Leeds United put the ground forward as a candidate for the site of a new casino:
That's all from me for now. I might do an update midway through the restart as there are still a lot of league games to go, on top of cup commitments. Until then, thanks as ever for your support and comments and I'll see you next time!