Leeds United have been something conundrum this season. Up until Christmas and New Year they were smashing all those in sight in League One. Now they are dropping points faster than Portsmouth. So what is going on and how can it been changed?
Whilst Arsenal was steam rolling Porto at the Emirates on Tuesday night, Leeds United were playing in an all glamour tie against League One side Tranmere Rovers. Leeds trounced to a resounding 1-4 victory that was much needed. Leeds have only won 3 of their last 12 games in League One, a very worrying statistic for a side that must gain automatic promotion this season. This hopeful return to form could kick start them back onto the road to the Championship.
Yet why have Leeds United had such a shocking run? Talk of the FA Cup hangover did have merit for a few matches, but over an extended game period I find this cannot be the only root cause as to Leeds problems. The majority of games Leeds have failed to pick up three points in have been against teams near the other end of the table. A loss to Exeter City and a draw with Wycombe Wanderers is of particular frustration to Leeds fans. Both sides are in the relegation places. Last weekend’s draw with Brentford did not give a further impression that Leeds were about to turn around their fortunes.
It appears maybe Leeds United after the glories of the Manchester United victory and 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane has caused a shift in the player’s mentality. They seem to only able to perform in the biggest matches. Games against sides they expect to beat comfortably have become a hindrance and annoyance to the players. The lack of motivation has been evident. Manager Simon Grayson has had a job on his hands changing their fortunes around.
Accusations could be levelled at Simon Grayson himself over team selection. The Leeds United manager clearly has an idea who his first eleven is. Yet with underperforming across the board, calls for the young American striker Mike Grella to be given a start have fallen on deaf ears as the former Blackpool manager sticks with the same side despite poor form.
The West Yorkshire side have not helped themselves with Norwich City racing ahead in the title chase and looking likely champions of League One. Leeds United fans are not bothered about winning the trophy, they just want promotion. Though this is looking like it’s going to be a fight. A fight that Leeds looked to have ducked at Christmas. Simon Grayson told The Evening Post prior to the Tranmere game ‘I wouldn’t say we’re under-prepared or that the players are worried. I think we’re more disappointed than anything but this isn’t down to a lack of trying. We’re all gutted about our form and still want to finish top of the table.’
What is important for Leeds United now is they turn the 1-4 victory over Tranmere into a run. They have some particularly difficult games including trips to leaders Norwich City, Charlton and Southampton. If Charlton beat Leeds at the Valley then the promotion race could be very tight. Knowing Leeds United, they will perform admirably in those matches. It’s the biggest three games of their season.
Do you think Leeds have turned the corner, or is there genuine cause for concern?
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