Just as quickly as Sunday came, it went. It was a recently-rare moment in time where Leeds United fans packed out Elland Road and prayed that their team could pull off a win against the league leaders. The result they got might be disappointing, but there are several positives to take away from Sunday that should leave something resembling a smile on the face of Leeds fans, beyond the fact that we filled the place.
36,002 in attendance at Elland Road today, highest in 5+ years. January 2011, Arsenal in the FA Cup, the last crowd of this size. Bravo.— Through It All LIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) November 20, 2016
Let’s take a look at three more positives on the pitch.
1) A draw would have been a more honest result.
Yes, Newcastle did have spells where they dominated, but Leeds was right there with them. Dwight Gayle came into the match as the leading Championship scorer and he left with 2 additions to that tally to make it 13 for the season. The last man Leeds needed to give a charity goal to was Gayle, but that was what happened when keeper Rob Green so graciously mishandled what seemed a fairly easy long-ball.
Apologies for first goal,I didn't want to carry it over the line.Great to see Elland Road full.Dust ourselves down for a big game next week— Robert Green (@Robert1Green) November 20, 2016
Shortly after that moment of chaos from Green, Leeds had a legitimate appeal for a handball in the box by Jack Colback turned away. This was one of those decisions that could have easily gone either way, but it was not meant to be for Leeds. If the decision had gone in Leeds favor, it was game on at 1-1. What would have happened after that? Leeds manager Garry Monk put it best.
"It was a clear-cut penalty, if that goes in and we get that decision it changes the dynamic of the game and through some of the chances we just needed a goal"
2) Charlie Taylor proved himself a Premier League talent.
This can be taken as a positive or a negative depending on which camp you are in on the "Charlie Taylor leaves in January" saga.
On the positive side, he is currently a Leeds player. That means all that talent will be used for the benefit of Leeds, as it clearly was in the match against Newcastle. While the MOTM for Leeds was clearly Luke Ayling, Taylor was not far behind with his solid defensive shift against the most dangerous offense in the Championship.
Add that to the fact he was probably the biggest threat in attack, (from the left back position!), and you have yourself a treat to watch in White every week.
On the negative side, that display was the equivalent of hanging a steak over a pool full of sharks. Premier sides like Everton and West Brom, sides in desperate need of shoring up in defense, are going to take this outing from Taylor as proof he can come in mid-season and be a difference maker in the Prem.
The reality for Leeds is that it is not a matter if teams will come after Taylor, it is a matter of how much they will offer to make a move happen.
3) Newcastle is a Premier League side with Premier League talent.
This is not a knock against Leeds, but it is no secret that there was an almost 100 million euro difference in talent on the pitch. Newcastle is worth around 127 million euros while Leeds are more in the area of 35 million. That is quite a chunk of change to have at your disposal when it comes to bringing in high-caliber players to the squad.
The price Newcastle paid for two of their players could buy Elland Road, Thorp Arch and the current starting XI. #lufc— Matt Foster (@_mattfoster) November 20, 2016
That being said, Leeds made it seem at times that they were more than capable of hanging with this Newcastle side. United created opportunities and opened up the Magpie defense on several occasions.
Garry Monk will leave this match knowing that if his team can compete with Newcastle they are in a great position this season. Simply put, no other team in the Championship fields a side close to the talent-level of Newcastle. Leeds will be just fine and the fact that we play last place Rotherham tomorrow is perfect for the team to get back to their winning ways.
Moral of the story: when you put together all those positives, Leeds will be in a playoff position at the end of the season. Garry Monk is a top manager who will have the January window to mold this squad even further into a promotion contender. Things are on the up for Leeds, and with a potential new owner in the works, things are really shaping up well for The Whites. MOT.