Leeds United crashed back down to Earth on Saturday afternoon when a visiting Brentford side emerged as 1-0 victors. The loan goal was scored in the 65th minute by Brentford's dynamic attacking midfielder, Alex Pritchard.
With the result, Leeds has slipped down to 20th place in the standings, but there certainly are some key points to take from the match. Below are some of the brighter aspects, as well as some things that Neil Redfearn and his staff will certainly look to correct on the training ground.
Created Chances: The Whites may have been unable to find a way past the Bees' back-line or David Button, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Leeds were able to carve out seven chances on the afternoon, with the majority coming in the later stages when the team was pushing for an equalizer. On top of the created chances, Leeds also attempted 11 shots throughout the 90 minutes - of which three each were saved and blocked. The best opportunity came in the dying moments of the match when a goalmouth scramble saw several Leeds' chances thwarted by fantastic Brentford defending.
Sharp is Lively: After scoring a last-gasp winner in the 2-1 win over Huddersfield, Billy Sharp was handed a full run-out by Redfearn. He was unable to conjure up another golden moment, but the striker surely proved his worth against the Bees. He completed 81 percent of his passes on the day, which was the most of all Leeds players, and proved to be an effective outlet for those behind him on the field. Sharp's brightest moment came in the 79th minute when he fired inches wide of Button's post.
Sharp shoots wide with Brentford in disarray. Cut-back from Austin deflects to him but can't finish. Great chance. 0-1 on 79 mins— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) February 7, 2015
Passing Accuracy: A great deal of the post-match talk will surely be about how Leeds was held scoreless for the first time in over a month, but the team's inability to consistently string passes together is the bigger problem. As a team, Leeds only completed 63 percent of their passes and few teams in the Championship will win if they put up a statistic like that. Failed passes lead to failed attacks and failed attacks lead to no goals. It's really that simple. The below graphic shows Leeds' pass attempts against Brentford and there is a whole lot of red (incomplete) on there.
Cook, Byram, and Murphy All Quiet: In Leeds' recent run of rich form, creative and dynamic players such as Lewis Cook, Sam Byram, and Luke Murphy have all been at the heart of it. While it is unrealistic to think these players will put in man-of-the-match performances every week, all three left a lot to be desired against Brentford. The English trio were relatively quiet and collectively created one chance from the run of play, completed 64 percent of their passes, and recorded one shot attempt.
Referee Decisions: Quite controversially, several decisions from head referee Graham Salisbury impacted the match in a major way. Firstly, on Brentford's goal there was a possible hand ball in the move's buildup. There also were several penalty shouts that were waved away, but the Leeds players had a case on each.