if Almada can get comfortable in his new home, you'll no longer worry about relegation I reckon
Throughout the busy Christmas period, we finally found our stride with the opening five matches of December against relegation rivals as of the time. It was a great moment for us as we felt confident going into every game.
December 2021 - January 2022
We began our month of December with a 2-1 victory over Norwich City, who had begun to pick up points at last as the month went on. Patrick Bamford’s opener on the stroke of half-time was cancelled out just before the hour mark by Norwich’s Tzolis. However, Mateusz Klich was on hand in the 74th minute to bag the winner for us.
We continued our small winning run with an emphatic 4-1 win at home against Crystal Palace. Jack Harrison cancelled out Jordan Ayew’s initial opener before Rhys Healey was able to score his first of the season, following up with another just before the 90th minute. To cap off an impressive performance, Dan James was on hand to put the nail in the coffin in the 92nd minute.
The outstanding performances kept flowing from us on the Saturday after Palace, with a 4-0 win over Brentford with goals from Mateusz Klich, Júnior Firpo, Raphinha and 78th minute substitute Rhys Healey as the striker got his 3rd goal from 5 appearances, making him the Premier League’s leader on goals per minute.
Relegation strugglers Burnley were next up to take a beating from my Leeds team who were now dominant in fixtures. Rhys Healey was on hand to bag another two goals to add to his record, with Liam Cooper scoring from a Robin Koch flick-on from a corner.
The long trip down south to Brighton’s AMEX Stadium was made all worth it with an early Pascal Struijk header from a Raphinha free-kick the only goal of the game for us.
On our Boxing Day fixture, we were back to playing good quality teams, with Liverpool the first of a few consecutively tough games. Joel Matip, Firmino and Jota were all on hand to end our six-game winning run from November until December, our first loss since the 2-0 at the hands of Aston Villa.
Our final match of 2021 was against our rivals from over the Pennines, Manchester United who had beaten us 3-0 in the first game of the season. This time, it was Paul Pogba who put us to the sword in a 1-0 loss, despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s 38th minute sending off following his earlier assist for the only goal of the game.
Rhys Healey started his 2022 year off well with an early opening finish against Tottenham in London. It would later be cancelled out with a Heung-Min Son equaliser in the final 7 minutes of the match.
The start of our FA Cup campaign began in January with an exciting eight-goal thriller as we defeated Luton Town 5-3 at Elland Road in front of 17,000. Healey, Phillips, Bamford, Rodrigo and Pascal Struijk all managed to get their names on the scoresheet in the rout, sending us through to a 4th Round tie against Liverpool.
In our return to league football at Elland Road, Southampton were the victors with a 2-1 win thanks to a late Nathan Tella equaliser, followed up by an even later Theo Walcott winner in the 93rd minute after Rhys Healey had put us in the lead earlier.
January’s big spenders Newcastle United were our next away fixture and it only took 16 minutes for our former striker Patrick Bamford to find the net in only his second game for the Magpies. Rhys Healey managed to make his record 8 goals in 11 games for us, scoring the equaliser before Raúl Jiménez finished us off with a 46th minute goal straight from the break.
Our final match of January was a complete disaster as we faced West Ham United at their stadium. Declan Rice and Enes Ünal (x2) were the players to score as they strolled to a 3-0 win without much opposition from us.
The results from December put us in a much greater light than previously, rising four places from November to reach 11th place, four points away from reaching exactly mid-table.
Thankfully due to our wins against relegation-threatened teams, I think we can stop worrying about potential relegation and focus on consolidating for the remainder of the season with 14 games left. The final European spot is slightly out of range for us, with Southampton sitting 15 points ahead of us.
Manchester United retained their top spot, mainly thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s efforts of 23 goals from his 23 appearances in the Premier League. Liverpool only sit 3 points behind in 2nd, though. With a superior goal difference and a game in hand, things could change quite quickly at the top.
At the bottom, Norwich City have had a tremendous transformation as they were able to get three wins and two draws on the board at long last, now pushing them above Crystal Palace who now sit bottom on 9 points. They and Brighton are now only a maximum of 3 points from safety, with the relegation battle now firmly between 4 teams - Brighton, Burnley, Norwich and Crystal Palace.
Seb: Good vibes only sir With Rhys Healey scoring his goals throughout this time, Newcastle came in at the right time for him otherwise he wouldn't have been sold, one of them ones!
Tango: I am very excited to see how we go on with Almada as well!