Potency and Penetration Issues When Leeds United Haven’t Got Wood   –   by Rob Atkinson


Cometh the hour, cometh the Kyle

Leeds United 1, Brentford 0

All’s well that ends well, as some Stratford bloke once said – and the throaty roar of joy mixed with heartfelt relief that lifted the roof off Elland Road in the 90th minute on Saturday was ample proof of the Bard’s ageless wisdom. Kyle Bartley‘s late, late header secured a hard-fought victory over troublesome Brentford that had looked for so long like being a frustrating stalemate, and the atmosphere at the end was worthy of far greater triumphs.

It was a victory wrought out of adversity, though – the cracks are beginning to show in a threadbare squad and the few precious days between now and a Boxing Day date at Preston are welcome indeed. Apart from Bartley’s golden last-gasp winner, one of the better bits of news after the Brentford game was that Chris Wood, much-maligned in various quarters but much-missed against the Bees, has a chance of being involved at Deepdale. The fact is, whatever his detractors might say, Wood is vital to this Leeds United team. Without him, the attack lacks something important. Wood is able to hold the ball up, securing a beachhead for any attack to be reinforced by runners from midfield. His unselfish work appears to pass a section of the support by; the welcome fact that he’s received less criticism this year is probably down to his admirable goal return. But Wood is more than just a goalscorer and, without him, Leeds offered much less in the attacking third and looked more laboured all over the park.

Manager Garry Monk looked as much relaxed as relieved after the match, and he has the air of a man whose plans are in place and who knows they will probably be carried through. The wind of change has been blowing around Elland Road for a while now, and January may well be a very exciting and productive time for the club. One priority publicly acknowledged is the acquisition of another striker – in placing so much reliance on Wood, United simply have too many eggs in one basket. Despite the efforts of Souleymane Doukara lately, and partly due to the relative ineffectiveness of Marcus Antonsson, Leeds are light up front. This will have to be addressed if the promotion challenge is to be maintained and Monk has been quite explicit in confirming his intentions.

For now, though, as the manager says, it’s about fighting for each batch of three points and doing what we can. Ahead of the Liverpool EFL Cup tie, I said I’d be happy with an honourable exit from that competition, plus between 6 and 7 points from the following three tricky-looking fixtures against Villa, Brighton and Reading. Well, we went out with richly-deserved accolades and got six out of nine points, topped up nicely by the three from Brentford, so this is a happy blog. If we can secure four points from away matches at Preston and Villa, then that happiness will grow into something more like ecstasy. And then, lo and behold, it’ll be January and – hopefully – game on.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! MOT.

11 responses to “Potency and Penetration Issues When Leeds United Haven’t Got Wood   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Kevin Lane

    Antonsson looked sharp and busy early season so is his relative ineffectiveness due to lack of game time or is his lack of game time contributing to his inefectiveness?


  2. Karl Major

    Some years ago in a not dissimilar situation Sgt Willko bought a certain Lee Chapman, we kicked on and went up as champions. The question GM will be pondering is who can I get that will make the same impact, is someone available for an affordable price, someone who is match fit and can hit the turf running, OR, do we already have that talent but need to give it a chance. Antonson, Wilks??? Could they cut it if given game time??? Time for GM to prove how good he is methinks.
    Merry Christmas to you all, here’s hoping for a fruitful New year to Leeds fans everywhere.


  3. If I was loaded and owned a football club and come Christmas that club was 5th in the league I would seriously look at taking a punt rob,,
    Cellion can look around for a striker to buy for 2 or 3 million , waste of money if you ask me , a striker we need would cost at least 10..
    So come on massimo , get Rhodes and pay his wages for six month , get Delph and pay his wages for six month and you’ll spend less than the 3 million you would waste buying a nobody ,, those two would take the club up and then you’d get your investment back many MANY times over..
    It makes sense in my world rob
    Happy Christmas mate


    • Speculate to accumulate, that’s the way forward/upward. Merry Xmas to you too, Mr. O!


    • Rhodes is a goalpoacher; we need another frontman. Delph’s fitness can’t be guaranteed. I think there is better value and more suitable players in this Division. I have identified one frontman – the Blackburn lad -; Jutkiewicz is another. A midfield player is surely not a priority – a goalscoring wide man such as Mclearey would be a better addition to the squad.


  4. I agree: without Wood we looked lost (Evans deserves credit for managing without him for much of last season). From what I’ve seen on the splendid Ch 5 football show, I’d try to get the young Blackburn front man who, like Wood, is tall, quick and scores goals. Height is indispensable at this level – as our defence shows (another Evans- related point is that our goals against tally by Saturday was identical to last season’s after the same number of goals).


  5. Any news on the radriazzani takeover/investment.?


  6. I we need to strengthen as we cannot go on relying on Wood. I would settle for just one proven gem of a striker whether it be Rhodes or Delph. We create chances when playing well but just cannot finish. With Bridcutt and Hernandez back we will look much more of a balanced side and a lot more threatening. You still get that feeling we are being knocked and certain pundits just cannot stomach giving us credit. Well, if Cellino gets his wallet out, or better still our new owner does, the cynics are going to get a hell of a bloody nose. Merry Christmas guys, we all deserve a good one……….at last


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