Why oh why oh why.
I’m going to keep this recap of Sunday’s season opener at Loftus Road really short.
We were awful. You can stop reading there.
Leeds fans and neutral sportswriters alike see a good season ahead for Garry Monk’s Leeds United... or at least they did on Sunday morning. After a terrible performance in the season opener Sunday afternoon though, a 3-0 loss to Queens Park Rangers, "the sky is falling" echoed throughout West Yorkshire, and we all desperately ran for a large drink.
The sadness started in the fourth minute, as chaos in new goalkeeper Rob Green’s box led to an own goal from Leeds captain Sol Bamba. Our "error-prone back four" had struck again, ONLY FOUR MINUTES INTO THE NEW SEASON, leading Leeds fans everywhere to say, "same old Leeds." Full highlights here, try to keep up.
QPR v Leeds United #LUFCPublicado por Leeds United A.F.C em Domingo, 7 de agosto de 2016
But usually that sentiment only stays in the stand amongst our disgruntled fanbase. Somehow, Sunday, "same old Leeds" infected the entire Leeds side as well. The first half was pathetic in every way, without a shot registered on net and not more than a handful of chances. The players looked listless, defeated, FOUR MINUTES INTO THE NEW SEASON. Rangers, on the other hand, had two shots off the goalposts and plenty of the ball, so when we escaped at halftime down 1-0, it seemed like a bright spot.
Possession was a huge problem in the midfield for Leeds in the first half, as Grimes, Dallas, Roofe, Diagouraga, and youngster Ronaldo Vieira had an entirely anonymous 45 minutes. Chris Wood, playing as the lone forward, didn’t have a chance to touch the ball either, unless he came back into the midfield to help. Some changes surely needed to be made... and none were. It’s possible Monk felt hamstrung by a 22nd minute substitution for the clearly-not-ready Berardi, but with Mowatt and others on the bench... do something.
After the half, Leeds looked better, but not by much. United and QPR looked even, and while we never really looked to be pressing towards an equalizer, we weren’t getting outclassed...
68’ Leeds win a corner, play it short, Dallas called for a foul. #LUFC the better team this half, looks as we thought the whole match would.— ThruItAllLIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) August 7, 2016
And then Ronaldo Vieira bowled over Jordan Cousins in the box, and Tjaronn Chery put the penalty past Green for a 2-0 lead. The game was over.
No one envisioned Leeds coming back in the final 20 minutes, but the late additions of Antonsson and Sacko did make a difference. A few chances towards the end likely earned them a start on Saturday against Birmingham.
(I’m not going to write about the third goal for QPR, a beauty from a tough angle in injury time. I’m not. It was adding insult to injury at that point.)
But even if Antonsson and Sacko started Sunday, the team would’ve been thoroughly outclassed. Players were yelling at each other, there was no possession in the midfield, passes were aimless, the defense was continually shaky. It was a terrible debut for Garry Monk, and he knew it.
Though how he thought our midfield was adequate is completely beyond me. And insisting that we remember it’s only one game? He must think us Leeds fans are rational.
So, we lost one game, and changes need to happen. Bridcutt (or another midfielder) needs to be signed, yesterday; Vieira and Diagouraga were a dreadful pair. We need at least two quality defenders added (or one, if Berardi can get healthy and Taylor stays on) to challenge for the top 6. We need Antonsson and Sacko and Roofe to gel quickly; we need Dallas and Wood and Diagouraga to play like they care. And we need Qatar to let Hernandez free.
Maybe they were all just unprepared for the opener. Maybe they’re saving themselves for Saturday at Elland Road. If you don’t remember, we lost our opener 5-2 at Newcastle United in the last season we were promoted to the top division (1989-90).
It’s just one game. Keep saying it. It’s just one game. It’s just one game. Keep hope alive. It’s just one game. And in fact...
only 1 defeat all season and only 3 points off top spot! WE ARE SUPER LEEDS AND WE ARE GOING UP!!! :wink: #lufc— The Elland Road Owl (@EllandRoadOwl) August 7, 2016
But man, that was awful. Looking forward to erasing it from our memories quickly, and winning Wednesday night at Uwe Rosler’s Fleetwood Town would be a good way to start.
And if we continue losing, there was another potential bright spot caught on camera Sunday afternoon.
"The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming!"
(Update: this isn't the rumored Chinese takeover group at all. Toshiya Fujita, identified as one of the men, is a former Japanese footballer, a coach at Dutch club VVV Venlo, and is on a tour of football stadiums.)
Regardless, looking forward to Wednesday and Saturday, let’s put Sunday behind us. The sky is not falling, Chicken Little, we’re going to be just fine.
Hey #LUFC. Make changes. Do better. See you Wednesday.— ThruItAllLIVE (@ThruItAllLIVE) August 7, 2016