The level of performance in the last few weeks from Leeds United has been a cause for concern, and the team’s inability to break down or even create anything with any substance has been ever-present recently. Yesterday, against a well organised QPR side, this ultimately cost us the three points. We looked very flat and never looked like we were remotely going to win the match... at home... to a lesser side.
There were numerous topics we could take from the game, but here are the three big talking points:
Talking point 1: The lack of creativity
When I saw the XI for the game I was optimistic that we could utilise the creative players within the team and break down the defence and create problems. However, QPR set up yesterday with 3-5-3, with 3 defenders at the back supported by 2 wings back who dropped back when they lost the ball.
Ian Holloway’s shrewd approach not only restricted Chris Wood to a spectator’s role throughout the 90 minutes, it also stifled the Leeds player’s ability to create anything of any worth. Hernandez is our most creative player, however once again yesterday when he was pressed and probed by the QPR players, his ability to influence the game was nullified. The lack of a consistent winger pairing was highlighted again as Roofe and Pedraza were unable to really get in behind the wing backs and punish QPR.
Ian Holloway and QPR do deserve credit for how they set up, but we can’t let this become a regular occurrence as we approach the final stages of the season. Teams like QPR have nothing to play for, so a point at Elland Road is a more than successful away day. As a team in the playoff positions we need to be aware of this and adapt and break teams down with the creative quality we possess.
Talking point 2: The defence once again deserves credit
For how much we struggled in an offensive sense, we once again looked solid in a defensive sense. QPR did look to counter at times yesterday and created the best chances overall. However, the 5 men at the back were once again solid - Green especially showed his importance on his 600th appearance for the club when he kept the score 0-0 with a wonderful save to deny Josh Washington.
And except for the Washington chance, QPR never really threatened Green’s goal. This was because Bartsson and company were once again the foundation for why we gained a point and didn’t lose 3.
If we do earn promotion, or even finish in the playoff positions, the performances from the defence like yesterday will deserve recognition.
Talking point 3: Centre midfield needs sorting
I have highlighted on various occasions the importance of us winning the central midfield battles in games, and once again we failed to do that yesterday. I understand the need for rotating the squad, but the rotation policy in the centre of the park is mining we are unable to take foothold of the game.
Yesterday at times we were overrun in the middle as has been the case many a time in the last few games. This is highlighted by the fact that we often see a like-for-like change in the midfield during games: the midfielders looked lost on occasion and this needs addressing before it’s too late.
Generally, the game was rough to experience yesterday, but we did pick a point against a team who completely smashed us in August. Also, other teams did drop points which meant we had a decent day in terms of the league.
We extended the gap between us and both Sheffield Wednesday and Reading, and if we can beat Brighton next Saturday, our whole perspective will change.
The quicker we move on from today, the better. MOT.