Just how good is Lewis Cook?

What I got from yesterday’s game at Forest was that Lewis Cook is already a brilliant player, and will only get better. I think we should really consider giving him a long contract soon, given he’ll still be on his scholar contract and Premier League clubs will be hovering. There’s no doubt they will be. In fact, it was quite widely known that even before he broke into the first team, teams were watching his progress. He won the Euros with the England U17s and was seen as one of the more important players. Continue reading

Marching On… Just About

Ten years. Ten long, emotional years. Two relegations. The loss of our stadium. Two play-off final disappointments. One gloomy administration. Twenty-Five points deducted. Countless numbers of debts owed. One close-fought promotion place. One uplifting win over our rivals. Three opinion-jerking owners. Nine full-time managers. Zero cup finals. Yet, we are still marching on… just about.

As a relatively young fan, at 20 years old, I am both envious and sympathetic towards the older members of our fan base. I am envious in the sense that I would give an arm and a leg to have witnessed Leeds United being crowned ‘The Best Team in England’. What a time that must have been.

I do sympathise though. I cannot imagine how it would feel to watch the demise of my team from Champions to the bottom of League 1, in the space 15 or so years. Disappointment and gloom is all the memories I have, so for me it is nothing out of the ordinary. It still hurts though.

It is a shame that the way our team have been dragged through the muck has led to friction within the support. No one is particularly angry at other fans. They are angry at the way this club has been treated. It leads to so many differing opinions, which are fine, but once given the limited social media platform that is Twitter, it can sometimes lead to unneeded tension. I have myself been involved, but I can say now that most of the time, I have absolutely no issues with the person I am talking to, it’s just a sensitive subject to all involved.

We are all supporting the same team at the end of the day.

We are a weird mix of fans. No one can deny that. A club of fans open to admitting we are ‘vile’ and ‘dirty’. The encourager of the ‘We All Hate Leeds Scum’ chant we have heard so frequently. Happy to mock ourselves in order to unite. We just feel different to other fans. How many other clubs have kept the level of support we have, despite the turmoil we find ourselves in on too frequent of an occasion?

There are many, many words to sum up the emotions and feelings us, as fans, feel in regards to our beloved Leeds United.  The one from above that jumped out the most to me, however, was ‘broken-hearted’. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘broken-hearted’ as:

“Overwhelmed by grief or disappointment.”

In some way, I am certain all, if not the vast majority, have fallen victim to these feelings within the past decade. It’s similar to watching a distant cousin, admittedly one that has let you down on numerous occasions, being repeatedly ‘kicked in the crotch’. You cannot help but share the pain.

Nevertheless, when we have a reason to celebrate, it’s like a wave of euphoria takes over us. The sense of happiness that overcomes me when we score is incredible. For that moment in time you forget everything else that has happened at our club. The administration. The relegations. The misery of the past decade. There is no hatred between fellow fans. It’s all gone. For those few seconds or minutes, you remember why you fell in love with this great club.

I’ll just leave this here…

 

 

We are Leeds United. Us. The Fans. We have to remember that. Players, managers and owners come and go, but the fans remain forever. So before questioning the loyalty of a fellow fan, remember that. They don’t have to support this club, but they do. We all feel both the misery and excitement our club brings us just as much as the next Leeds fan. We are all in this together. Side by side.

Now, this is the bit that I find the most difficult. How exactly do you explain being a Leeds fan to someone who isn’t one? There are plenty of words, but none do it justice. So I’ll leave you with this tweet, which to me, sums it up as best as possible:

Questions arise as Leeds face January Window transfer embargo

This week we have endured more hardships from the Football League. The club now has a transfer embargo placed on it and our owner has begun his appeal process to defend his role at the club. This might be one of the (many recent) toughest times being a Leeds United supporter. Not to mention a 1-0 loss to a poor Fulham side at Elland Road. This week just needs to pass on by.
However, the good news is that there is a small loophole to this transfer embargo for the January Window. We can bring in players that are free and will only cost the club around 10k per week in wages. It will also allow us to use loans. However, we must have available spots on our roster for these players. Currently, it appears that we have 4 available spots in or 24 man roster. It seems that the game plan may have to change to “survival” compared to “playoff spot”. It’s pretty obvious we could use some speed in our squad. Also, we could use a defensive midfielder and a Centerback. With Premiership clubs looking to thin out their squads and with a little research needed, my question to you is, who do you think we could bring into the club to strengthen our squad?

I have seen some names float around the internet to be offloaded from other clubs…and just to name a few: Ricardo Vaz Te, Matt Jarvis, Scott Sinclair or Anthony Knockaert. Any of these could do a job for us.

Keep the faith!

No Home Away From Home

Due to the fierce competitiveness of the Championship, the away form of the sides often separates the men from the boys.

It will come as no surprise to many of you that our away form has not been up to scratch this season, hence the focus of this article. We have participated in a total of ten away games so far this season, yet we have only managed to muster up a pitiful five points, these coming from one hard-fought win and a couple of disappointing draws, with these points being saved, quite literally, by the man between the sticks, Marco Silvestri.

 

Marco Silvestri saves vs Norwich, courtesy of LUTV & WALMOT3

 

These five points from ten games give us an average of 0.5 points collected per away game. At first glance that sounds terrible, however I am afraid the situation is a fair bit worse than that. After looking at the final league standings from the last two seasons, it shows that we are way off the mark of the top six in terms of away points collected, with the top six teams collecting an average of 1.5 points per away game. As things are, it shows us finishing 23 points off of the top six in terms of away points throughout the season.

So, just whereabouts are we in terms of average away points per game? Well, again looking at the previous two seasons, it shows the bottom three averaging a total of 0.8 points per away game. Now that is the average of the last six teams to be relegated, however looking at individual averages, the worst was Bristol City back in 2012/13 with an average of 0.57 points per game. As it stands, our away form is worse than all of the last six teams to be relegated out of our division. Nevertheless, we are only 23rd in the away form table for this season, but it’s not much consolation to know that Blackpool are the only team worse.

In terms of comparing us to this season, with an average of 0.5 points per away game, we are collecting less than half of the average points gained per away game which currently stands at 1.09. We are also scoring less per game on average with 1 goal per away game (1.13 average) and conceding more, 2.2 conceded per away game (1.46 average). We are also currently suffering from a three away game losing streak, making up half of our six away game streak without a win, with none of our ten away games ending in a clean sheet for us. Buy hey, at least with an average of 3.2 goals scored in our away games, no one can say we are boring!

There are many reasons for why someone will argue we are not picking up enough points away from home, but every opinion comes down to the obvious two factors; we don’t score enough and/or we concede too many. Never mind refereeing decisions and whatnot, it comes down to those two fundamental factors. Personally, I feel we concede too many, as I am sure most of you will agree. Oh, and the fact we have dropped nine points away from home after being in winning positions certainly doesn’t help our cause. Anyhow, I had a little gander on whoscored.com just to see how dire the situation really is. It was not pretty viewing.

We average a total of 9.9 shots per game away from home, with only a mere 2.8 of these being on target, putting us 22nd and 23rd in the table respectively. Ten of these have found the back of the net, so with an average of a goal every away game, the situation doesn’t look too bad, hence why I feel the problems are within our defensive capabilities away from home. We allow the opposition an average of 18.5 shots per game, which puts us 2nd in the table on that statistic. Almost double the amount of efforts we have on goal. My reasoning for this is we miss too many tackles, possibly due to inexperience our revamped squad has in this league. Too many are looking to impress and thus a number of players dive in to try and win the ball. This has led to us only completing an average of 15.3 tackles a game away from home, which puts us at 23rd in the league.

There were a couple of positive statistics though. After collecting 17 yellows and 2 reds in 10 games we are only 17th in the away discipline table, so there are 7 teams dirtier away from home than ‘Dirty Leeds’. Clutching at straws I know. However, we also have the 5th highest possession average away from home, with 51.6% and the 4th highest pass success percentage, standing at a mighty 78.4%. This clearly shows that when we do have the ball at our feet, we are not doing anywhere near enough with it. To have half of the average shots than the team with less possession than us is quite frankly embarrassing.

I do, however, feel it is important that I mention that seven of these ten away games we have played are against opposition currently within the top nine of the Championship, whereas the final three are 19th, 20th and 21st.

Let me leave with this final statistic. I calculated the round-trip distances from Elland Road to our respective opponents’ home grounds. I used this to calculate that we have travelled an average of 657.6 miles per away point gained this season. Partner that with fans spending around £60-£70 in tickets per away point and you have an astounding statistic. Let that sink in.

Oh, one more thing. We were also knocked out of the Capital One Cup to a League One team after a 2-1 defeat. No prizes for guessing if we were playing home or away.

Stephen Warnock HAS to get a new contract

At this level, there aren’t many better at left-back. Given that he doesn’t have a wide player in-front of him, he does an even more impressive job. Every team we play against tries to attack us through Byram’s side, simply because they know how good Warnock is. He offers much experience in a very inexperienced side, it says a lot that he has been promoted to captain, even when Jason Pearce played. I think it’s very unlikely that Warnock will get a new contract, because he’s one of our higher earners. However with the ongoing Massimo Cellino – Football League problem who knows who our owner could be later this season? I don’t think Cellino would give Warnock a contract but a different owner is very likely to see it very differently.

Arguably, he has been our most consistent and best player this season, he has a massive impact on games from left-back. Maybe this also tells a story that the rest of the team hasn’t been good enough… On the basis that Cellino stays, I don’t see him signing any experienced players, he seems to favour signing young players with potential, Antenucci and Taylor being the only real exceptions. I also think keeping Warnock for another season would be good for Charlie Taylor, as they could both have proper competition for places and I’m sure he’d learn a few things.

Another player that has to stay, more long-term than Warnock, is Adryan. With Cellino or without Cellino, he is loving it here, you can tell from his interview in the YEP. I think next season really could be a great season for us, one that sees us properly challenge for the first time in years and Adryan needs to be here. Keeping Adryan would show great ambition, we just need a new CB and a big strong central midfielder oh, don’t forget the wingers.