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Amazing, I can't believe the effect of that victory has had on me. I know it is only 1 win, but it just might be a turning point.
For the first time in a while Leeds actually looked like a team, with a common bond and purpose. EVERY player ran his bollocks off and played for the team, so that fact is reflected in the scores, and can be taken as read.
Robinson 8 - Good performance capped by a great penalty save.
So for Southampton. This will be much harder, they are playing well. The home crowd will not allow Leeds to play as they did yesterday - Solid in midfield, and waiting for opportunities to attack. Playing a gung-ho style might just play into Soton's hands.
Team changes? Radebe, Bowyer, Johnson, Smith, Viduka will all be in the frame to come back in. Bakke was the weakest player last night and is suspended on Saturday. Johnson would be the player I'd bring in, the rest I'd keep the same.
A bench of Martyn, Radebe, Bowyer, Smith, Viduka would give us good defensive cover + great options in midfield and attack.
Still got Dacourt, Barmby, Batty, Matteo to come into contention after christmas, without having to resort to McPhail, Burns, Duberry. What's the problem :-) :-)
Much to the chagrin of some, We Won and for the first time in about 2 months we actually got to see the game her in Oz at a semi respectable time (7:00am)
I needed to see how bad we had become, as the last time I saw them I thought they were playing "OK" to "Quite Well"
As the list had been my guide for all things unseen, I was looking out for 3 things specifically
1. Kewell being a slack lazy git. Didnt see that tinite. Thought he chased hard for all 90 mins and stayed fairly cool whilst being fouled every third chance he had the ball. Some of the flashier stuff didnt work at all but you could at least see him and Fowler trying to develop and understanding. Looks good in the future with these 2 plus Smith
2. Ian Hartes speed and value to the team. Whilst doing nothing terribly briiliant (or remotely brilliant) he didnt have a bad game. Maybe this was because notloB had no idea how to attack - I dont know. Harte was also made to look good by Lucic covering for hom and the fact notloB had Ivan Campo on the paddock. If anyone says such-n-such is the worst player in the league, direct them to Campos showing tonite
3. Once again Stephen McPhail was non -existant for the entire game. He contributed nothing to the game. Did this allow them to run the midfield for most of the game
Mr Referee - It just goes to show what happens to sad little people who have kilfiles (sic) whatever they may be. They grow up and become refs like the one we had today. He is truly worrying if he is a Premiership ref. Fouls committed counts of 27 to 13 and booking Mills for that?? (fer farks sake). Even that clown we had doing the commentary said the ref had had a shocker and all you could hear was his whilstle Imagine what would have happened if Smithy had been playing (grimmace)
To Take Route One or Not ? Was very puzzled by the Route 1 a-la ManCity, Sunderland, Nial Quinn style of football we played today. How many times did we jusy hoof it the length of the park and expect H and/or Robbie to run it down. But If youve got no midfield (regular game watchers can tell me if it was a normal, better than normal or worse than normal midfield we had today) you may as well leave them to try some defending and hoof it Route One style Will probably work against the likes of notloB but Im tipping the likes of Arse, Red Scum and Pondscum wont be too worried by it
Anyway 3 points to us is a whole lot better than 3 to them and none to us. Two of the lovliest goals in quite a while, and one straight form the BBC's old comedy hour made it a most enjoyable watch - all without getting too excited about the future (just happy that we won and only another 20 more points to go
7 wins 0 draws
I'd best stop now
No Mcphail - surprise that. Look at our best 3 performances. West Ham Away, Tel aviv away and Bolton away. What does that tell us ? Midfield - no Mcphail (except a cameo appearance mid 2nd half againt Tel Aviv - we were 2-0 up by then). I always said that playing anyone in midfield to replace Mcphail would instantly increase our effectiveness by 20%. This has now been proved. Even Gary Kelly !
Also , look at the strikers - West Ham - Kewell and Viduka , Tel Aviv - Kewell and Smith, Bolton - Kewell and Fowler. Said it before and I'll say it again, Harry Kewell is not only our best player he is our best striker. I thought he was briliant last night, dragging their defenders all over the place, beating his man and more importantly running back to defend. Also he showed a striker's predatory instinct for the second , handing it on a plate for Fowler. It was like having an extra man in midfield. Superb.
First half I thought he linked up well with Fowler and I think they could defintely be the future partnership. Fowler had more space due to Kewell's work and defintely was more effective. He also looked a bit fitter. They both worked hard together. They weren't the only ones though, I thought the whole team worked their bollox off. No weak links at all. Even Gary kelly and Ian Harte had effective games. I thought the middle two Okon and Bakke worked tirelessly. Bakke's effort at times makes up for his lack of quality but his trademark still seems to be late tackles, poor shots (ballooning over from 6 yards) and giving the ball away on the edge of his own area. Okon laboured at times and was also guilty of several late tackles but he uses the ball simply and effectively and manages to sit and cover well just ahead of the back four. He has presence.Very Batty like.
I thought Wilcox was outstanding. People say he doesn't beat people anymore. Fair comment but he still manages to get decent crosses in and his work rate for an old lad all around the pitch is Bowyer like. What a goal - with his right foot and Mills with his left foot. Lucky ? Who cares ?
Defence - I thought they did ok although we looked shaky at times. Lucic gives defenders too much space. Woody was back to decent form and held us together at times. Robbo - great penalty save.
With this level of commitment I can see things getting better but we still need more quality in midfield. I was actually proud of the team last night and when Wilcox scored that goal and came over to the Leeds fans you could see how much it meant. Nobody can tell me that these players don't care , it's just up to the manager to pick the right players and the right tactics and we'll be fine.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 17/12/2002.
Rarely has a pardon been delivered with such a flourish. Terry Venables' job is safe for the moment because his Leeds United team turned a supposed ordeal into a relaxed demonstration of talent. As if three goals, including a strike from Robbie Fowler, were not enough during only the club's second win in 12 Premiership matches, Paul Robinson also saved a penalty at a delicate moment.
The strengths of Leeds' season are so thoroughly concealed that they are invisible to those whose eyes are filled with visions of ruin and relegation. The League table is a healthier and less apocalyptic sight, showing that the team does fairly well so long as it steers clear of Elland Road. Before this match, their away record was better than Manchester United's.
Considering that Bolton had only had one Premiership win at the Reebok all season, Venables had no cause to while away the bus trip by setting down the finer points of his severance terms on the back of an envelope. In practice, the side's form has been too poor for a manager to be capable of insouciance, but no hypnotherapist could have been so effective at instilling positive feelings as Bolton were.