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Leeds United vs. Brentford: Three takeaways from a grinding win against the Bees

Ugly still wins, Chris Wood, and needs for the window, all discussed in this morning’s Three Points.

Bristol City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Hurry back, Chris. We’ve got a play-off push we need you to participate in.
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Leeds United picked up three points at Elland Road, another clean sheet and are still firmly in the play-offs. What more do you want from a Saturday afternoon? An end to end game of great football? Who needs that? Leeds are going up!

Three takeaways from the match, points to talk about throughout the day today:

Talking Point 1: Not all games are classics

So it wasn’t exactly a classic, but a win’s a win. It was another professional performance from Garry Monk’s men and a win we should all be very happy with. Injury ravished just now, in the midst of a hectic Christmas period and playing a side who were on two wins on the spin, Leeds found a way to put this one to bed. If we’re going to finish in the top 6 this season, then not every victory is going to be pretty. This game was a prime example of that.

The first half had nothing of note other than a Scott Hogan goal correctly disallowed. The second livened up a bit from a Leeds point of view, but even then Brentford held us to one shot on target, which was Kyle Bartley’s sublime glancing header in the 89th minute. As you would expect, we dominated possession and kept Brentford in check most of the game, but there was no real spark about Leeds today. Dallas was occasionally creative, but with no big target man in the box, it did little use.

Leeds haven’t played vintage stuff in a few of the last few games, and at some point we will be made to pay, but Monk has a very well drilled back four and defensive midfield, so even when not at our best like today, Leeds are always one good chance away from a win.

Talking Point 2: Chris Wood is a key player

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone... or at least temporarily side-lined through injury. If one thing was evident from yesterday’s game, it’s that, despite Doukara putting in a good shift, he isn’t Chris Wood. Love him or hate him, Chris Wood is a massive presence up top for Leeds and he brings much more than regular goals. His hold up play is great and work rate equally as good.

Doukara has never been a player of the same calibre, and yesterday was another example of why he can’t be our lone striker. I have nothing against the Duke, he had a really good season last year and has proved an asset this term as well, but it really surprised me that Antonsson didn’t get the nod as the lone target man yesterday. Neither of them have the goal scoring instinct of Wood or cause the opposition defence as many problems, but the Swede has shown flashes that there is more to come from him whereas I think we’ve seen the best Doukara can offer us.

Either way, the Duke gave a good account of himself but I’m sure everyone is as relieved as me to hear that’s Wood’s strain isn’t serious enough to keep him out for too long.

Talking Point 3: Leeds clearly still need to strengthen

If Leeds are serious about making the play-offs this term, or even pushing for an automatic spot, then we must strengthen in the window. What we currently have is working great, but as the long championship season wears on, I’m sure we will get more and more games like today, where injuries and tiredness begin to effect performances. Today we got away with it, but against a better side than Brentford, we may not have.

The obvious area is up front with Chris Wood needing some stern competition or even a partner in crime. Getting Pablo back will almost be like a new signing; his absence has shown that we lack a bit of depth in midfield. With Charlie Taylor with one foot out the door, left back seems an obvious spot as well. All areas needs to be looked at though as Leeds are a thin, young squad, who as the season goes on will benefit hugely from a few new faces appearing at Thorp Arch.

A win is a win, and we’ll take the three points and play-off position for Christmas. MOT.