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Month by Month: December vs. January

December was a wretched month to be a Leeds United fan, but things have been on the upswing in January. Jon Sigal takes a look at this trend and development.

Neil Redfearn's squad has blossomed in January, unlike their poor showings in December.
Neil Redfearn's squad has blossomed in January, unlike their poor showings in December.
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Every club, no matter how prolific and impressive they are, goes through stretches of form where they are brilliant and then to be frank, poor. It's one of those unwritten rules of football where in one match the 11 men on the pitch are all clicking and then the next game they look like they have just met in the dressing room an hour before kick-off.

As much as every fan wish it wasn't so, Leeds United is well versed in this phenomenon and has seen its fair share of ups and downs throughout their league and cup competitions. While a club's form over the course of a season indicates a lot, it's important to focus on the last two months in an attempt to astutely breakdown the White's trajectory.

To put it nicely, December was a rather poor month for the boys who call Elland Road home. The club played five league games and had the opportunity to grasp a grand total of 15 points. However, nearly every single one of those points was left on the table, as Leeds looked attained one total point and at times like a team destined for relegation.

Disappointing losses against Ipswich, Fulham, Wigan, and Derby meant that Leeds saw themselves slip down the table and into a seemingly endless rut. To make matters worst, the losses to Fulham and Wigan were both winnable matches and occurred at home, a place where points are supposed to be hard to come by for away sides. The only positive, albeit a minor one, was that Leeds salvaged their dismal month in the league with an away draw at Nottingham Forest.

Despite the cloak of negativity that enveloped December, there remained light at the end of the tunnel. Just like all good things must come to an end, all bad things eventually turn the corner and times get better. For Leeds this change in fortune has directly coincided with the New Year.

Neil Redfearn and his squad have looked towards January as a new slate, time to right the ship, and put their December slump in the rearview mirror. All of these things have been accomplished mostly, as Leeds has ridden a decent spell of form through the early and middle stages of January.

Respectable draws against Bolton and Birmingham, as well as a brilliant victory over Bournemouth, have propelled the Whites up the table. While Leeds has amassed only five points from a possible nine, the club is showing signs of life and playing some of its most determined football of the season.

Redfearn's decision to employ the 4-2-3-1 formation has paid immense dividends and several players are playing some of the best football of their career. Specifically, Luke Murphy is excelling in his holding midfield role, Charlie Taylor is seizing his opportunity at left back, Sam Byram is thrilling to watch on the right flank, and Lewis Cook is emerging as possibly the best player in the entire squad.

While it is easy to get caught up in the emotions of the last three matches, January surely has brought about greener times for Leeds. There even is the possibility that January could be capped off with a bang when Leeds travels to John Smith's Stadium to take on a struggling Huddersfield Town side on the 31st. After all, in September's reverse fixture it was Leeds who emerged as 3-0 victors and Redfearn's squad will surely be seeking to replicate that performance.

There still is a sizable chuck of the season left to play and Leeds will likely go through a couple more dry and rich patches in the remaining months. Nonetheless, the poor form that characterized December seems to be a distant memory and January has treated the Leeds players and fans extremely well.