The Times, Sunday Times and Telegraph now seem to require registration to view articles on their sites, with the Times and Sunday Times charging readers outside the UK. The Times/Sunday Times has also moved some of the older articles into an archive which requires separate registration and requires you to pay to access the content. The Independent now charges for access to articles more than a week old.
First twenty minutes we were forced back, although Liverpool failed to muster a single shot on target, excellent defending from Lucic, Woodgate and Mills - even Harte had a decent game, some quality crosses and free kicks.
Liverpool up to their old tricks - Carragher goes in deliberately high on Harte in the first five minutes - referee grudgingly awards a free kick to Leeds, no booking. Harte inevitably is booked for his first faintly dubious challenge. Bowyer needs 4 stiches in a leg wound - another one of three or four incidents the referee 'missed'
Second twenty minutes and the whole of the second half we were marginally better than Liverpool - TV changed the tactics and we started to look a lot more convincing - better width from Bowyer on the right, Kewell hit the bar with one header and had another superbly saved. The goal - completely against the run of play and although the first pass was good, the second took a deflection to set it up nicely for the striker.
Kewell missed a peach of an opportunity to equalise, Liverpool resort to timewasting, diving and manage to survive.
There are encouraging signs that TV is beginning to get it right - this was far from a poor performance. Clearly there is still work to be done, but I couldn't find fault with any of the players. Bakke and McPhail worked hard, in fact I thought McPhail was impressive - his passing was excellent, he always made himself available and was unfortunate on more than one occasion to find his passing options reduced by the referee - on one occasion referee deflects ball to Liverpool player to set up one of their few shots on goal.
I thought the referee today was poor - Carragher should certainly have been booked in the first five minutes, and too often he (the referee) managed to get close enough to the player in possession to block off passing options. Even more disturbing was the way he was perfectly prepared to allow Liverpool to indulge in petty 'tactical' fouls in mdfield - shirt tugging to prevent a player getting away, deliberate obstruction in the Leeds half to prevent counter attacks, but happy to award Liverpool free kicks for being caught in possession.
Dacourt looked poor when he came on - too many rash challenges, too many misplaced passes. I think we have to accept that a rebuilding program is necessary - the team were very one dimensional, and lets be honest with ourselves, for all of last season very poor - the run up to Christmas, was far from impressive and there were some dreadful, spineless performances. Tactically we were one dimensional and had any of the challengers had good starts to the season, we would certainly not have been table topping ourselves.
TV seems to be doing all the right things - he is giving McPhail a good run in the side - we have been screaming for a player 'who can put his foot on the ball' for years - not only can McPhail put his foot on the ball, he can also pass it to a member of his own team - as can Bakke if the opta stats are to be believed. Lucic looked like a good player, Harte today looked more like the player of two seasons ago than he has for an age. Smith and Kewell still lack understanding, but looked more promising today than in the past - Barmby was anonymous except for one or two inspired interceptions.
We have to give Venables time - to build the kind of 'telepathic' understanding demonstrated by Arsenal, and yes Leeds two years ago, the players need to know their role in relation to the other players - it is known as a system and it has taken Wenger five years to build the best team in the country, took Ferguson longer to build the team whose name shall be forever scum. Todays result was a big improvement on last years apathetic display and Liverpool for all their dullness were fortunate to get this win. Looking closer to home, McLaren at Middlesborough has built a decent team out of relegation material in three (?) years and Tigana at Fulham has acheived a lot in two - although the fact his team were already match fit through playing in europe has helped them at the beginning of this season.
As another listener pointed out, the reserves are featuring some up and coming youngsters, the possible future of the club, and Venables is taking a keen interest. So Batty has been frozen out - it's sad yes, but it takes two to tango and there have been enough hints dropped to suggest that this issue is not simply Venables taking revenge for a penalty miss....
The reality at Leeds is that we are broke - directly as a result of O' Leary's lack of tactical nous - with the players we had, we should have won the league last year - the fact we didn't was a lot to do with never using substitutes, never changing our approach to games, and yes, events off the field didn't help either. Venables has said, right from ther beginning that we have to balance the books - far from being brought in under false pretences, I suspect that he knew well that Dacourt was on his way - hence has not built a team around him, and of Keane and Bridges, I'd rather lose Keane. Lucic looks good enough to do a job for us - I'd say we'll lose Dacourt in January and we'll see the likes of McMasters given a chance once a system has been established and it becomes easier for players to slot in and out. As supporters, we should support, not blindly, but the knee jerk negativity exhibited on this list smacks of glory hunting foiled. Get a grip - it's not going to be comfortable, but Leed will prevail - and it will be better football and longer lasting success if it is built from the ground up.
I don't know how we lost this.
I don't know how come Liverpool are top.
I don't know how Harry missed.
I don't know how TV can pick the midfield he does.
I don't know who's shorts Lucic had borrowed - although I bet they were Viduka's.
I don't know who the Washington Sniper is.
I DO know what our new formation is. After trying the Xmas tree formation, TV has now settled on Leeds having the Malteser formation - solid round the outside, no substance in the middle.
I thought that we were the better of two s*** teams on Saturday. We had a better defence than Liverpool - that CHalf of their's nearly scored 2 own goals - and we had a better forward line - more movement, passing etc. Liverpool did have a better midfield.
We had the better opportunities & the better efforts on goal - Harry's headers, Smith's run etc - L'pool had one and scored - Woodgate pulled out of position, no-one covering, the ball goes through, Lucic got a half touch on the cross and the man beat Harte to the front post - not a big surprise. I don't care if they are top of the league, they are a spawny boring team - I would hate to watch that week-in week-out. 8 men behind the ball and try and pinch it - they brought Owen on and played him in midfield!!
While this was in no way a complete team performance I did think that we played better than in recent weeks, there was some thought, some movement, even some passsion - Christ Barmby was even winning some tackles. I think it says something that he was our best mdfield player on saturday. But we are still a long way short of anything like satisfactory.
Lucic did OK - he looked quite fast, covered well, and dug in for some tackles - should be a reasonable left back/centre half.
Harte had one of his better days defensvely, but his dead balls were woeful. What does this man practice?
Smith and Kewell are trying to make silk purses out of sow's ears at the moment - which should lead us to have some sympathy for the poor saps who've played up front recently - the service and support (on the pitch) is appalling... Which all comes back to the midfield. It's the heart of your team and if it aint working well the team aint gonna do well.
Bakke - was a prospect - seems lost. McPhail - I really wanted/want to do well - but I just can't see it. Watching him against Hamann was like watching an Alsation brushing off a poodle.
LBowyer - "I weeaallly weeallly larve Leeds and all the wonderful people here" PR - "Here's your new contract Lee... It's a lot of money, please sign on the dotted line" LB - "I'm not sure yet, I have to keep my options open" Oh, just f*** off.
Nicky - there's the bench.
Felt more pissed off about this than the Arse game because we could have won it.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 21/10/2002.
When David O'Leary begins his claim for unfair dismissal against Leeds today, nothing may be so damning as the league table. Liverpool will enjoy the view from the top but this is Leeds's worst position for 21 months and the chants in honour of his predecessor show just how bad things are getting for Terry Venables.
Football is a far more unforgiving and impatient business now than when Venables began his nomadic managerial life and, behind the ciabatta tan and fixed smile, he was clearly as dismayed by this brief yet damaging show of mutiny as he was by the winning contribution of Liverpool's Salif Diao.
It was one thing to hear the Leeds fans railing at the apparent ostracism of David Batty, but it was the strident cries of "O'Leary, O'Leary" that announced, with about as much subtlety as a sledgehammer, the lowest ebb of what, for Venables, has been a difficult re- acclimatisation.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 20/10/2002.
Gerard Houllier may be trying to develop Liverpool into the same sort of easy-on- the-eye attacking outfit that his fellow Frenchman Arsène Wenger has created at Arsenal but he knows only too well the value of some of the club's more pragmatic tradition. This was an eked-out away win, to leapfrog Arsenal at the top of the Premiership, straight out of Bill Shankly's 1970s playbook.
It is a funny game. Arsenal came here three weeks ago and astonished with a 4-1 win as part of a run and setting of records that has overshadowed Liverpool's quiet sequence of one defeat in 27 games. But both wins are worth three points.
Goal difference? The last time the title was decided thus was in 1989 - when Arsenal overcame Liverpool in that famous Anfield finale. This season so far, Arsenal have excited, Liverpool have fully yet to, but now it is the roundheads, rather than the cavaliers, still without a defeat against them.