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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
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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


RESULTS

















LEAGUE TABLE



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.

STAR PLAYER



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!
Brilliant work in the Champions League, however the things in the league are different and you lost some points against weaker sides. However there is plenty of time to catch up the teams infront and get another great season under your belt.
What a strange season so far. Going on a run of beating Barca, Arsenal and Chelsea before struggling to Norwich and West Brom. I think i'd agree with you in regards to being victims of your own success as you just can't seem to find consistency in the league. But you are still only six points of Europe, so nothing to worry about yet. Also qualification to the Knockout rounds is a brilliant achievement, congratulations.
Beating Barcelona is still a tricky ask and you managed it. You can be pleased with that but ultimately results in the league have been inconsistent and do need to improve if you want to repeat the heroics of last season.
As you can probably see by now, this save is certainly something that comes and goes. Got a couple of other things going on at the same time that come and go in a similar nature. I've got back on the save recently and smashed out a few months and got to a point where I thought it would be a shame to leave this story unfinished, so it's high time we popped another update in here. There have been a lot of fixtures since the last update, so this update will have a list of the results, accompanied by a summary of how things have gone on and off the pitch. With that in mind, let's get into it:

RESULTS



As you can see, results have picked up since the last update. We've done well against those of the so-called 'Big Six' that we can reasonably expect to get any result from (all except Man City), particularly so when we took 10 points from a run of Man City (A), Man Utd (H), West Ham (A), Chelsea (H) and Spurs (A). The highlight of that run wasn't any of the wins however, it was the 1-1 draw against Man Utd, in which Fredrik Andre Bjorkan- covering an injured Kostas Tsimikas- scored a wonderful volley to level the scores in stoppage time.

As sod's law would have it, we went to Brighton near the end of a jam-packed February and lost to a side bottom of the form table and in very real danger of going down. I was furious with the performance at the time, but on reflection the players had put everything into getting results in what was a congested schedule and just looked dead on their feet by the time we got to the South coast. At one point, we had the 3rd longest injury list in the league and by this point, we had players recovering but not quite match fit and ready to play yet.

LEAGUE TABLE


In the 16 league fixtures since the update, we've picked up 11 wins and not only rejoined the race for European football, but put ourselves right amongst the contenders for Champions League qualification, having risen to 4th. Tottenham have had another miserable season so far, drifting into mid-table again, 13 points adrift of Chelsea, who are just one place above them in 9th. It appears now as though we can say, with some certainty, that the Premier League title will remain in Manchester, with both clubs now head and shoulders above the rest of the division, but neck and neck with each other. Bournemouth are going off the boil now, falling away from the top two and down into 5th, they were also significantly less difficult to break down when we faced them again at Elland Road.


Onto the cups and the only competition we're still in (outside the league of course) is the Champions League. We were drawn against Crystal Palace in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup- on paper, an infinitely more enviable task than playing either Liverpool or Man Utd- but we let ourselves down that night. We started slowly and found ourselves 2-0 down inside 25 minutes to goals from Albian Ajeti and Wilfried Zaha. A brace from Yan Valery- in the 33rd and 89th minute- put us in with a second chance, but in the shootout that followed, Palace ran out as 8-7 victors. A tense affair, but one we could have avoided if we'd just shown up in the opening exchanges of the first half.

We were disappointing in the FA Cup, we made it to the Fifth Round by beating Grimsby Town and Oldham Athletic in the Third and Fourth Round, but fell as soon we hit any real challenge, losing 2-0 to Tottenham after extra time, in a night where Rob Holding was sent off for a harshly given second yellow card. We've faired a lot better on the continent. We were handed a Round of 16 tie against Inter Milan, which I thought would be a tough tie, but we came out the other side and looked good value for the aggregate win. We blew them away at Elland Road with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Carles Perez and Odsonne Edouard, before a more nervy affair at the San Siro produced a 1-1 draw. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring for the hosts in that game, on a night where they were always threatening to get an equaliser until on a rare break, Alfie McCalmont struck a brilliant effort from 25-30 yards out to kill off the tie on the 85th minute (the away goals rule meant they would have had to score another three to go through). It's been a fun adventure, but one I expect will come to an end in the Quarter Final, when we face Man City, a team seemingly hard-coded to beat us every time we meet.

TRANSFERS


We had a relatively busy January window, with four in and five out on a permanent basis, plus six loans out including two had their loans cut short in the interests of sending them elsewhere. I'll start with those two.

Shortly after the summer window closed, we announced a link with Luton Town, giving us a Championship club to send our more advanced prospects to before leaping them up to the Premier League. Loic Mbe Soh and Marco Brescianini were two players I felt would benefit from playing at that level in this country. Brescianini was arguably one of Lincoln City's better players in the first half of a season where they haven't quite hit the heights they did last year, so I felt he needed a step up in a higher league, particularly at his age. Mbe Soh was a standout player at Cultural Leonesa and one of the better players in the Spanish second tier, so it was decided he would be better served in the Championship, so we can get a better gauge of where his capabilities lie on this country's competitive spectrum.

In the other loans, Leigh Knibbs is a player that's consistently stood out at U23s level (regen, creative advanced playmaker, 18 years old) as one of the best players outside the first team. I'd like to see him transition into our starting XI over the next 2-3 years and decided that now was the time to start his senior football journey at Sincil Bank. Cristian Pena (actually pronounced 'Penya', but I don't have the n with a tilde on my keyboard) is another regen, a 19-year-old Colombian left-back signed for £1.4m from Junior in Colombia's top flight. He's expected to be first team ready in the next year or two and with over 50 senior appearances under his name already, first team football is vital to his development now. He's been sent to Luton to help with their push for the playoffs. Mathieu Serre's loan to Molde is the first that has been automatically signed off under the strict parameters that I set for offers for players we're not actively seeking a loan for, so we'll have to wait and see how that plays out. Luke Woolfenden has been sent on loan to Bristol City, with the ex-Ipswich man growing increasingly unhappy with his lack of game time with us. I have a feeling we'll have a decision to make over his future in the summer.

As for the permanent departures, Scott McTominay's time at the club has come to an end. He wasn't happy at playing second fiddle to Kalvin Phillips and it was decided that he was infinitely more dispensible than our best academy product since James Milner. It was a good idea that never really worked out for us, with the ex-Man Utd midfielder joining Chinese outfit Jiangsu for £20.5m. Joao Carvalho's limited impact at the club- a man signed at a time when we were crying out for creativity- has finally led to him packing his bags and leaving. He wasn't getting close to the starting XI any more and with the return of Mateusz Bogusz- now happy that he will be playing for us- the writing was on the wall for the man signed from Forest. He's gone on to Shakhtar for just over £10m. Jack Jenkins has signed for York City for £37,000. The realisation that he was highly unlikely to make the grade here was the deciding factor when the offer came in. Striker Matthew Stone (a regen) has left the club in a £6m move to Southampton. He'd been angling for the move for a while when I said he wasn't ready for first team football and it was decided a young unestablished player shouldn't be kept around if they're unhappy. Given my scouts now tell me he's unlikely to play above League Two, I see this as an astute bit of business if I do say so myself.

Moving on to the arrivals, I've discussed Cristian Pena earlier, so I won't waffle on further about him, we'll see what his loan at Luton brings. Boubacar Kamara is our most technically sound signing of the window. Carvalho and McTominay both left this window and with the ageing process now in full swing for Nacho, I saw fit to bring in a player capable of playing both in the centre and in front of the defence. Kamara is an assured player and oozes talent in this position. In the long term, I see his future at centre back but his covering job for Phillips- whose spell out injured was a big factor in the decision to bring Kamara here- was done to perfection. Ryan Walters is a regen that plays in defensive midfield, in the Phillips role. There's been a lot said about him by my scouts and all of it good, they reckon he'll be one of the better midfielders in this league in years to come. He comes from a reputable set-up at Charlton Athletic for an initial £2.5m and will be one to watch in a few years time. Our final signing- and our second on deadline day- is the re-signing of Brighton centre-back Ben White. White was a key cog in the side that got us promoted in 2019/20 and his permanent signing was deemed a never-never by Brighton at the end of that season. He has since become unsettled at the AMEX stadium and even frozen out to a point where we've been able to pick him up for £7m. He's likely to play more of a bit-part role this time around, but I feel he still has a lot more to offer than Brighton gave him credit for.

As mentioned previously, Mateusz Bogusz has had a change of heart and has agreed to fight for his place in the team. After impressing on loan at Brighton, we decided to recall him, lest Brighton trigger the £15m option to buy that was in the loan agreement. His decision to fight for his place was no doubt aided by the fact we've since offloaded Carvalho and McTominay, replacing them only with a player who can't play further foward than defensive midfield. Bogusz has repaid the faith shown in him so far, with two goals and three assists in the 13 appearances he's made since his return. He's earned a new contract and now looks to have a decisive long-term future at the club.

LOOKING AHEAD


We're currently firmly embroiled in the race for Champions League football. More surprise contenders have been added to the race this year in Southampton and Bournemouth, demonstrating that football is alive and well on the South coast. With Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea still firmly in the running, it promises to be an interesting battle.

We'll return from the international break with a run of nine league fixtures to play in just over a month and a half. We have two of the so-called 'Big Six' left to play- Arsenal and Liverpool both at home, sandwiching the final run-in- and with trips to Southampton and Wolves still to come, it's absolutely vital that we get the run-in right. I'll stick my neck out and say we'll take it to the final day like we did last year, we'll have to pull off the same heroics in a clash against Carabao Cup winners Liverpool.



That's all for now. I'm aware the format has now largely differed, but with so much happening in the save since the last update, I couldn't go game-by-game. Hope you guys have enjoyed it though and hopefully it won't be too long until the next one!
Glad to see this story back. It looks like Champions League qualification will be the aim once again. Speaking of the CL, it's good to see you make the QF's. An impressive run and you shouldn't rule yourselves out against City despite their dominance. Fingers crossed for you.
Cheers mate, good to see you on here, thanks for the support!

I quite like the writing style employed in the last update- at least in terms of enjoyable writing, not putting out a million BB codes- so this will be the style I use going forward. When I left off the last update, we were in 4th and well in the race for Champions League qualification. This update will detail the run-in.

RESULTS



We had a bit of a wobble shortly after the update, which was mainly down to playing Arsenal in the league and then two legs against Man City (known for their clashes with Leeds United Nil) in the Champions League. Once we were over this wobble however, we finished strongly, unbeaten in our last 8 league matches, taking 18 points from 24. I feared we'd struggle against the weaker sides as we had done earlier in the season, but we actually handed out a couple of thrashings along the way. We became the kiss of death to play against as well, relegating Sheffield United and Crystal Palace within just over a week of each other, showing that there was no one we would show mercy to in the pursuit of Champions League football. Particularly pleasing was the 4-0 win over Norwich City, in which Odsonne Edouard ended a barren run of 10 games without a goal and Eze- who had been a lot quieter for most of this season- bagged himself a brace, hopefully a sign of the end of his anonymous performances.

The Champions League ended as I had expected it to for us, in a defeat against Man City. We were probably the better side in the home leg, but just couldn't get past Ederson who kept a clean sheet. We sleepwalked into the game at the Etihad, with sloppy defending putting us 3-0 down in the first 35 minutes. We grabbed what looked like a glimmer of hope before half time, but we faded again in the second half, despite putting in an improved defensive display. It looks as though it's going to take an offer Pep can't refuse to restore balance to a woefully one-sided fixture.

LEAGUE TABLE



We finally did it! After a slow start to the season, we got our act together after Christmas and picked up some serious points. Contrary to what the tie against Man City in the Champions League will tell you, we had a solid defence conceding more goals than only the Manchester clubs, a handy advantage over the rest of the league when you consider we had the least potent attack in the top half.

Liverpool wasted their game in hand over us by drawing 2-2 against already relegated Sheffield United in a midweek fixture before the final day, meaning that they had to beat us at Elland Road to get into the top four. We denied them and we were actually the better side and most likely to score, but 0-0 meant that we would be dining at European football's top table once more. After a strong showing this season in the Champions League, I'd back us to impress once again, in the hope that we don't have to face Man City again next year!


That's all for now, no other news to report as it stands, contract discussions and transfer negotiations have begun, so you'll be able to read all about that in the summer update. Ciao for now.
Congratulations on securing a top four finish. It wasn't to be in the Champions League but as you mentioned in the previous update and despite my call to be positive ahead of the tie, it was always going to be a difficult challenge beating a dominant Manchester City. Looking forward to what is to come in the upcoming summer window.
Huge congratulations! That is a massive season for you and now the building begins in the summer for a proper attack at the title, despite that scarily large points gap United have over everyone at the moment.
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
4 daysEdited
Thanks for the feedback guys, sorry the big summer update has been a while in the making, I'm currently in the midst of a move and everything has been completely hectic! Still going through it now but hopefully we're nearly at a point of updates being more regular.

SUMMER UPDATE 2023


SEASON REVIEW 2022/23




Two screenshots shown for each lower English league as whole table wouldn't squeeze into whole screenshot


























TRANSFER WINDOW



Below, I've detailed permanent transfers only, otherwise I'd be repeating myself a lot if I went into the loan deals.

Ins:










Outs:









PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES


Jiangsu Suning 0-0 Leeds United

Henan Jianye 0-3 Leeds United

Preston North End 0-1 Leeds United

Lincoln City 0-1 Leeds United

Luton Town 1-1 Leeds United

Leeds United 2-1 Real Madrid


That's all for this update. Thanks for following as ever, there should be an update around a quarter of the way through the season.

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