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Five Games In: Is The Glass Half Full Or Half Empty?

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After five games of the new season, should we be looking forward to the new look Leeds United, or are the dark clouds gathering over Elland Road?

Chris Wood scores Leeds' second at Ashton Gate
Chris Wood scores Leeds' second at Ashton Gate
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

You might say four points from a possible twelve does not represent a good start to the season, and you might be right.

Pre-season had been encouraging. For the first time in many years the Whites had not only kept their star players, but added to the squad with genuine quality, addressing deficiencies with the likes of Stuart Dallas, Tom Adeyemi and Chris Wood.

And that’s just on the field.

Off it, El Presidente had appointed an experienced wing man in Adam Pearson who knows the game, the league, the commercial aspects of football, and it was seemingly beginning to pay off. He’d even managed to keep Cellino away from the journalists, an achievement in itself.

Throw in Uwe Rosler, a manager who is experienced, tactically astute, has a meticulous attention to detail, plays positive attacking football, and experienced backroom staff and you’d be forgiven for believing they could win the league.

The season started with incredible optimism. The fans starting to believe that this year really could be different.

Five games and fifteen days later, United are winless and out of the league cup. To add insult to injury the cup defeat was to a Yorkshire rival in the division below and one of our best players was sent off, missing the next three games. Santa Claus most definitely came early in Doncaster.

A week later a two goal lead is squandered with just over a minute of normal time remaining. Granted, the six additional minutes was not commensurate with the stoppages, but even so, they should have weathered the storm to take the spoils. Another draw snatched from the jaws of victory.

After such optimism, it would be easy to feel like the wheels are falling off the Elland Road juggernaut.

Not for me they aren't. They just need a little context.

Four points from twelve is disappointing but let's look at the facts. Burnley only fell through the Premier League trapdoor a few short months ago, they still have a Premier League squad and a Premier League budget. United matched them blow for blow and had the better chances in the game. Leeds claimed the moral victory if not all three points.

The less said about their League Cup visit to Doncaster the better.

A moment of madness from Lewis Cook, probably still buzzing from scoring his first senior goal for the club, cost the Whites the game. Given his contribution since his ascension to the first team, I'm prepared to forgive the misdemeanor. He is a fantastic player, but he is also young and still learning the game.

Unfortunately the fallout meant that ten players battled for almost an hour and a half against eleven, not what the team needed during such a congested fixture list. Lewis of course, would miss the next three games. The remaining ten left the field exhausted. They were out of the tinpot cup and I for one would not be tossing and turning worrying about it.

After Doncaster Leeds travelled to Reading in a game which can only be described as a bore-draw. The squad was tired after the antics mid-week and they came away with a good point away from home against a competent side. As Uwe said afterwards, "We take the point and move on."

The end of six geographically unfavourable days saw Leeds travel to Bristol for a third consecutive away game. It was a solid away performance for 88 minutes. Chris Wood was starting to look every bit the striker with the £3m price tag. Leeds rode their luck a little at times but at two nil up with a few minutes to go I'd prematurely uncorked my expensive whiskey, ready to celebrate the first three points of the season. Five minutes later, my wife-to-be had worked out what happened. She handed me the scotch, closed the door and left me to sulk for the next hour. In times like this, she knows me well enough not to attempt to communicate.

Then Saturday, and another Yorkshire derby. Again I felt they played well, looked solid at the back, restricted Wednesday to barely a single chance , and conceded to what can only be described as a freak wonder goal by Wednesday's Marco Matias. Times like this you have to take your hat off and applaud such a special strike. Defensively the Whites did nothing wrong, it was a goal taken with sublime quality and I doubt he will score one better in his entire career. They fought back however and deserved the equalizer. Stuart Dallas the provider for Chris Wood after some superb work out wide.

Four games, four points.

And I'm upbeat about it. I like to think that rather than slowing down, the momentum is gathering, albeit slowly.

United look as solid defensively as they ever have, the full strength midfield is a match for any in the division, and Chris Wood is slowly growing into his role, improving game on game. Mirco has also been excellent in every game so far.

All the new recruits have bedded in well, Stuart Dallas has been very impressive on the wings, Tom Adeyemi has worked really hard in the centre of midfield and Sol Bamba has the back four well organised.

This is a side that on their day will have the beating of anyone in this division. Confidence breeds confidence as they say, and once they get that first win under their belts, they have the quality to keep it going.

They remain undefeated in the league so far. Make no mistake, this Leeds United side has some growing and developing still to do, most notably the determination and resilience to see out games, but the signs are good. This train is on the right tracks and I'm on-board for the ride.

They have one of the youngest squads in the division, the best kit in the country, and the best fans in the world.

Is four games in too early to dream of a top six finish? Proabably, but that's not going to stop me.