Perhaps naively, I felt pretty optimistic going into this game against Cardiff City following our last minute winner against Blackburn on Saturday. Leeds United are better away from home, and Cardiff haven’t had the greatest start to the season. I also still truly believe there is much more to come from Monk and the squad he has assembled this summer. And when the final whistle blew, I wasn't disappointed, as Leeds won 2-0 and showed signs of the class we've been hoping for for years.
Captain Bridcutt sat this one out following the knock on Saturday, paving the way for Ronaldo Vieira to come back into the side alongside Eunan O'Kane, and Big Chris Wood started instead of Marcus Antonsson. Besides the two changes, Leeds lined up in the same system of 4-2-3-1 as they did on Saturday. Sexy.
It was a good first half away performance from Leeds with Jansson and Alying both putting their bodies on the line and getting to nearly every ball first. Defensively, I don’t think I’ve seen Leeds look as solid all season. The size, presence and no-nonsenseness of Bartley and Jansson is incredible to see; that alongside the pace of Taylor and Ayling makes for a very balanced back four.
Cardiff did hit the post twice and some would argue that Cardiff just weren’t getting the rob of the green (see what I did there) but I would say Leeds United earned their luck. It was a hard-earned clean sheet at half time and the same was setting itself up for an away smash and grab (like last March).
Leeds' chances were limited, and when we did get a good opportunity, Chris Wood didn’t do himself any favours…
For the entire game, the hustle and bustle at corners was just ridiculous, from both teams. However Cardiff took it too far on the hour mark as Pontus Jansson was manhandled like a liberal at a Trump rally. Chris Wood stepped up to take the penalty and as all natural goal scorers do (chuckle) he tucked it away nicely. This almost makes up for the other two clear chances he fluffed, but not quite.
With Leeds looking pretty solid and the game closing out, Pablo Hernandez scored an absolute thunderbastard to put the game to bed. After a very selfish decision two minutes previous and a generally poor start to his career at Leeds, this was a goal that Hernandez needed and hopefully one that can kickstart his season.
Leeds played this game to an absolute tee. Solid from the back all throughout the game and relied on a little bit of class up front to see the game off. Chris Wood is still very suspect up front, and despite scoring the penalty was very poor throughout. However, with Hernandez, Roofe, Sacko all in the team maybe he doesn’t need to be on form every week for Leeds to get the goals.
So, two weeks after Gary Monk was in deep trouble and Leeds were in the relegation zone, it’s all starting to look slightly rosy. We can all see what Monk is trying to do, and the players are starting to figure it all out. Up to in 14th in the table (2 points of the Play-Offs hahahahaha) and a very winnable game against Blackburn at home coming up to get us one step closer to Wembley. Bring it on.