RAMBLE: Leeds United v Wednesday

RAMBLE: Leeds United v Wednesday

Living and working in Leeds I always find it compulsory to attend the fixture at Elland Road.

Forget the fact it’s always on Sky and the tickets are overpriced, I can’t sit at home watching the match on TV when it’s happening just down the road.  

When a match is on Sky and you know that’s inevitably going to make some supporters stay at home it would surely make sense to lower the prices.

Charging £37 for adults when the match is on TV just doesn’t make sense and was one reason the match attendance was only 22,597 (1,313 from Sheffield).

How much?!

How much?!

Heading into this match after the disappointing performance against Reading, a Yorkshire derby seemed the perfect opportunity to make amends.

I think all of us were expecting to see Carlos make some changes to the starting line-up but when the team sheets were released it was surprising to see the changes that had been made.

Carlos had made six changes to the team that started the match against Reading but it wasn’t just the amount that was surprising it was also the names of the players who were missing.

Jack Hunt, Glenn Loovens, Lewis McGugan, Alex López, Ross Wallace and Lucas João were all replaced by Liam Palmer, Vincent Sasso, Jose Semedo, Kieran Lee, Modou Sougou and Atdhe Nuhiu.

The only injuries we were aware of were Loovens and João (it was later revealed that McGugan was absent as his wife had given birth the night before).

It was a big statement from Carlos with him making it clear that Wednesday night’s performance wasn’t good enough and him utilising the large squad at his disposal.

I felt concerned looking at our defence as we’d already looked vulnerable at the back, and with us losing Loovens and the impressive Hunt not starting I thought we could be caught out by Leeds.

With a more defensive midfield three of Sam Hutchinson, Semedo and Lee it looked like Carlos had prepared for this.

I was pleased to see Nuhiu return to the starting line-up after him putting in a super performance on the opening day against Bristol City and then being harshly dropped from the starting lineup. Away from home he would certainly be my first choice striker out of our current options.

THE MATCH

We started the match looking a lot sharper than the midweek performance against Reading (which wasn’t difficult).

We were immediately given a freekick inside the first minute as Kieran Lee was chopped down on the halfway line by Kalvin Phillips and it was pleasing to see the referee give him a yellow card for the cynical challenge.

Lee was chopped down by Phillips early on

Lee was chopped down by Phillips early on

This was to be one of the only decisions that went our way during the match as the referee decided to take a shine towards the homeside and gave them everything.

There weren’t many chances as the match progressed with both sides battling away but not really creating much.

It was pleasing to see us playing at a higher tempo and getting more stuck into the physical side of the game.

Sasso was coping fine in place of Loovens but he often seemed to forget that he was playing at centre back, continually pulling out skills, little turns in dangerous positions and going on runs forwards.

Thankfully it seemed that he had the talent to do it but I couldn’t help feeling nervous whenever he did so!

Sasso battles with some Wood

Sasso battles with some Wood

The atmosphere inside the stadium wasn’t great despite the best efforts of the Wednesdayites and the Leeds fans behind the goal to our right; the rest of the ground remained silent.

There were the usual chants back and forth between both sets of fans but bizarrely there came a point where we sang in unison!

Wednesday and Leeds fans joined together in one voice about Sky Sports ruining the game.

Marco Matias was having a bit of a quiet game and despite his undoubted quality there was a worry amongst the fans that if he continued to miss chances and not get a goal soon his confidence might go.

Matias flicks it over the defender's head...

Matias flicks it over the defender’s head…

He’d had enough chances over the first few games to easily have 5+ goals already and I was really hoping that he kept his head up because he’d been getting into all the right positions and creating many of his chances for himself.

At Elland Road though he was struggling to have any real impact on the game, often getting outmuscled in his personal battles and not really fulfilling his defensive duties.

But were soon to see why he’d cost over £2 million.

Liam Palmer played an exceptional ball over the top and behind the Leeds back four and Matias timed his run to absolute perfection to curve his run and stay onside.

He then turned poor Liam Cooper inside out, upside down and back to front with an exquisite little flick over the Leeds’ number 6’s head.

The rest is history…

Matias smashed a left-footed volley from just inside the penalty area which went flying over the head of the ‘keeper, smashed the underside of the bar and bounced into the left-corner of the goal.

If you still haven’t seen the goal (where on Earth have you been?!) or if you just want to keep reliving the striker then this is for you:

1-0 MATIASSSSSSS!

...and unleashes an absolute screamer

…and unleashes an absolute screamer

There was a moment of almost silence – a sense of disbelief – before absolute pandemonium broke out in the away end and we went mental for a good few minutes, none of us able to find words appropriate to describe what we’d just witnessed.

It seemed that the general consensus was that that is what you pay big money for!

Even the miserable Leeds lot not showing a replay of our goal on the big screen didn’t bother us, we’d seen one of the best Wednesday goals in years.

Soon after came a very harsh Tom Lees booking from the referee.

We had had a corner and Leeds looked to clear it away but Lees pulled back his man which the referee deemed a yellow card offence.

It’s understandable why he gave it but it was one of the very few if not the first fouls that Captain Tom had made and surely a word in the ear would have been enough.

Blame it on Tom Lees

Blame it on Tom Lees

A few more choruses of “He’s a Wednesdayite Tom Lees” were to follow as we made it known just how thankful we were for our rock at the back.

Before half time there was time for a couple of scary moments.

The first being when Antenucci hit a shot from outside the box which Chris Wood ran onto and the ball hit him before just missing the target.

We were all completely convinced it was offside and couldn’t understand why the linesman hadn’t put his flag up but after watching the highlights when I got home I saw that Rhoys Wiggins was the player guilty of playing Wood onside and we’d been let off.

The second scary moment came when Hutchinson looked to have injured his knee by overstretching in a tackle but after receiving treatment he continued.

HALF TIME: Leeds United 0-1 Wednesday

It had been a fairly even first half, which we had perhaps edged, that had been lit up by what will probably be one of

the goal of the season contenders. What we needed to do in the second half was carry on playing the same way we had and not invite Leeds on to us.

All of the fresh faces in the starting lineup had performed well and so far had justified their selection.

SECOND HALF

Wednesday were pushed onto the back foot in the second half

Wednesday were pushed onto the back foot in the second half

Unfortunately the second half was to begin with Leeds piling on pressure right from the first whistle.

Wave after wave of attacks came from Leeds and we looked to just be holding them off.

There was no real threat from us going forward and certainly no signs of the “attacking football” that we had been promised by Carlos and Chansiri.

In fact we hadn’t really seen any attacking football since the opening two matches against Bristol City against Mansfield.

It was obvious that our current way of playing just wasn’t working and something had to be changed if we were to hold onto our lead.

Carvalhal clearly agreed with this and prepared Hunt to come on to the pitch.

Unfortunately though Leeds were to grab a deserved equaliser as Hunt stood waiting to enter the match.

Stuart Dallas twisted and turned out on the wing before cutting inside the penalty area, nutmegging Wiggins and delivering a perfect ball into the six-yard box which Chris Wood met to tap into the goal.

1-1

I don’t want to go on about this too much as I’ve mentioned it before but I still feel our left back position is the weak point in our team and needs to be addressed before the transfer window closes.

The rest of the match was mainly pressure from Leeds as we struggled to force our way forwards.

Nuhiu struggled as the game wore on

Nuhiu struggled as the game wore on

Nuhiu was clearly dead on his feet after working his socks off in the first half and he wasn’t holding the ball up when it went to him and was starting to misplace his passes.

It was frustrating to see him not closing players down but Carlos had said before the match that he was a doubt coming into this game and having not really played since the first match his fitness won’t have been at 100%.

This of course meant the Nuhiu haters were out in force after the match.

Don’t worry Atdhe, we still love you more than you will know!

Chris Wood had a chance to grab all three points for Leeds when he rose unchallenged to head the ball but was unable to work Lewis Price in the Wednesday goal, this being their best chance to win the match.

There was only one real chance for the Owls in the remainder of the match, Liam Palmer was both the creator of the chance and the person who ended up in a shooting position.

All match Palmer had done brilliantly at making interceptions, making perfectly timed runs in front of the opposition players to steal the ball away from them.

On this occasion he did just that and then surged forwards from the right back position.

He played the ball out wide to Jack Hunt – who was now on playing in front of him – and continued his run into the box.

Hunt then returned the ball to Palmer who met it with his head but unfortunately he couldn’t get any power on it and Silvestri was able to make a comfortable save.

Should Palmer have grabbed a goal?

Should Palmer have grabbed a goal?

We went more and more defensive, looking to hold on to our point rather than go for the win.

Jeremy Hélan came on in place of the goalscorer Matias who got a standing ovation from the Wednesday fans for his outstanding goal.

Almost immediately after coming onto the pitch the referee booked Hélan for a high-footed challenge after a perfectly timed tackle where he won the ball.

Our frustration grew when only a minute later Antenucci committed a far worse foul on Lees with a high foot and didn’t receive a yellow card.

When the referee blew his whistle for full time it made it three consecutive 1-1 draws at Elland Road between Wednesday and Leeds.

On each of these occasions Wednesday have taken the lead only to be pegged back and we’ve got to start making these winning positions count!

FULL TIME: Leeds United 1-1 Wednesday

Could Hooper join the Owls before the window closes?

Could Hooper join the Owls before the window closes?

A point was a decent result and the performance was much better than the lackadaisical effort against Reading at Hillsborough.

It was pleasing to see that we could get a result away from home despite making so many changes to our starting line-up.

However, with our next league match being against Middlesbrough I fear that we might have to wait until after the international break to see the attacking football that we have been promised.

With no traditional striker having scored a league goal so far it seems that the links and rumours about a new signing coming in won’t go away.

Gary Hooper is the latest to, again, be linked with coming to Hillsborough. It’s been said that he’s been to Sheffield to have a look around and is now just considering his options.

I like Hooper and he’s certainly a goalscorer but I’m not sure how he’d fit in with our current style of play.

Yeehah!

Yeehah!

What we do need to do is start creating more opportunities as we’ve certainly got the players capable of doing this but we haven’t done so over the last couple of games.

In defence we need to be more solid and stop making silly errors.

The return of Westwood can’t come soon enough as he will give confidence to the players in front of him.

Left back looks like an area that needs strengthening to me but I think that’s unlikely to happen with Wiggins just arriving.

I now fly away to Texas and miss the home matches against Oxford and Middlesbrough so I look forward to seeing who we have in the next round of the cup and us having another three points on the board when I return.

OWLS ALIVE circliar blue-4 (Midsize)

Charlie
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @THEsharpey


One Comment

  1. ‘We were immediately given a freekick inside the first minute as Kieran Lee was chopped down on the halfway line by Kalvin Phillips and it was pleasing to see the referee give him a yellow card for the cynical challenge’

    “This was to be one of the only decisions that went our way during the match as the referee decided to take a shine towards the homeside and gave them everything.”

    Phillips pulled his shirt!!!!

    “Soon after came a very harsh Tom Lees booking from the referee. We had had a corner and Leeds looked to clear it away but Lees pulled back his man which the referee deemed a yellow card offence.”

    Lees pulled his shirt

    you’re making yourself look a twat

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