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Robinson 8 Rather too busy for my liking but nothing troubled him
Kelly 7 Good game, he and Johnson should have been taking the corners
Camara 9 Set up our best move with an inspirational block
Matteo 8 Busy, booked in 1st half
Harte 5 Won a tackle or two in first half but generally poor and his dead-ball kicks were terrible
Pennant 7 Continued our best move with an exhilarating charge upfield
Morris 7 Pretty good but shouldn't be wearing the no. 4 shirt ahead of Batty
Johnson 9 Tremendous performance - tackling, passing, shooting
Sakho 8 Continued our best move with a great header back across the box
Smith 8 Sadly ended our best move by firing over on the turn -_ that apart, a fantastic inspirational display (and no booking !!!)
Viduka 4 Not really interested but I am sure he was there all game, he won a defensive header late on REF:
Durkin 2 Disallowed an early Leedsgoal from a Kelly free-kick, crap in general
Richardson 6 (for Harte) Big lad, did OK
Batty 8 (for Morris) Class
Wilcox 6 (for Pennant) Didn't have any time to speak of
Not used: Martyn, Lennon
Crowd 6 Would have been a mere 5 but for great phase 10-15 minutes into 2nd half
Best chant (Smith and Le Saux charge at each other for a loose ball, Smith goes in every bit as full-bloodedly as you'd expect while Le Saux jumps out of the way) "Le Saux - has shit himself, Le Saux - has shit himself"
Other comedy moment - Johnson blocks a Southamptonadvance, charges forward to the touchline, over-runs, collides with Strachan, nearly knocking him over, and provokes a major tantrum from our former no. 7
Made my 1st visit to ER in a while last night. This was the 1st time I've sat near ground level in a long time. So here's a bit of my perspective.
I have to say it was an enjoyable and exciting game. Leeds played pretty well on the whole, but Southampton had enough threat, especially from corners to make it a nervous match.
Robinson 7 - Not a lot of saves to make, but kept a clean sheet.
Bridges - What has happened? Since his much heralded 30 mins pre-season, he has not played at all.
Midfield - Not sure whether having Pennant and Sakho gives Morris & Johnson too much to do, but it was exciting. Perhaps give Domi a few games on the left as sub for Viduka to see how it works pushing Sakho forward.
Regarding the loan rule, at some point towards the end of the season, an on-loan player will be compromised by playing against his own club, knowing that they need a result to get into Europe/avoid relegation.
I was really heartened by last night's game. We put up a decent performance against a decent mid-table team. We played good football at times and certainly created more chances from open play than they did. The only times that Soton had any concerted pressure and real threat was from corners.
3 of the defenders - Matteo, Camara and Kelly were superb - esp Camara who as others have said was MOTM. Fine tackling, blocking, reading of the game and some very good positional play. Harte was bloody hopeless. Robinson fairly quiet - dealt with a couple of shots well, but never commanded the area when all those corners were raining in.
The midfield - Johnson had by far his best game for Leeds - I would even go so far as to say he dominated the midfield - very sharp tackling, some great interceptions and some pretty decent distribution - exactly what we bought him for in other words. He'd clearly been told to spread it to Pennant or Sakho at every opportunity, and why not? Pennant was good, fast, direct and swung in some great crosses. It makes yer heart glad to see a proper winger again after all these years. Aye. Morris I'm still not convinced about but he certainly put the effort in yesterday. Sakho is good. We'd be fools to waste his talent.
Which is why we need to start playing Smith and Sakho up front together - certainly away from home. I've always defended Viduka because I think on his day he can be special - but at the moment we need scrappers and winners and we need people who are going to make the defenders worry every time the ball gets played upfield because they know they're going to be under pressure. Viduka doesn't give us this. Smith and Sakho will. They'll give us speed, strength, running off the ball. Which precisely the kind of forward play we had a couple of years ago where we ran and ran, and defended from the front. The gap on the left will be Domi's or Wilcox's to fill - hopefully Domi's.
Last night Viduka was indefensible while Smith ran his bollocks off. Viduka needs some hard weeks on the fitness circuits and to sort his head out.
That said we've played 2 decent teams (both Euro qualifiers) at home and been reasonably unlucky not to have beaten both of them. What we need now is to start winning. Let's get the confidence rolling and get a few points on the board.
I still think that we'll take a couple of big defeats this year - if we meet the likes of Manu or Arse on one of their good days - but we have enough to get points where it counts against the other mid/lower table scrappers.
And what a game to be your first of the season, I'm not sure what Rich W will have made of it but that was one of the most exciting games at ER for over 2 years.
The atmosphere was at times electric.
Eleven white shirts battled and gave their all.
Johnson and Morris started to look like a midfield pairing. Camara was outstanding as was Dom, easily having the measure of Beattie and Phillips.
Kelly worked and worked.
Pennant and Sakho were sublime.
Smithy was fantastic and never stopped doing what he should (3 games no bookings for the 'liability')
Even Harte made some good tackles (unfortunately this was accompanied by some really bad passes) until he was done like a kipper by Fernandes and feigned injury to be replaced by Richardson who IMO should get the job full time on this showing.
Batty made his comeback to a standing ovation, when he replaced the slightly injured Morris.
Robbo pulled off a couple of decent saves from long range shots to keep a clean sheet for the first time in ages.
Unfortunately, Wilcox came on for Pennant as Reidy settled for a point.
Oh and I think Viduka was on the pitch.
This was a half decent performance. Difference from Spurs ? Not much in terms of the team but a million miles in the prformance. Still 4-4-2 but with Pennant in for Wilcox on the right and Matteo into central defence with Harte at left back. For once (and that means since the days of Strachan and co) we looked like a fairly balanced team. The main reason for this was Pennant who provided skill, PACE and some excellent Sterland like crosses from the right wing. He is a top player and I can't see us getting him. He reminds me of Pires. He breaks from midfield with pace and is an intelligent footballer. One simple ball played over the top for Smith to run on to was simply brilliant and my only criticism is that we didn't use him more in the second half. He also was direct when he needed to be pulling off a good save fronm their keeper. The rest of the midfield also did well. I'll take my bald, fat pub team player description back regarding Morris and wait until he's played 10 games before I really judge him. I'm still not convinced but I can't deny that last night his work rate was excellent and he actually showed that he can play a bit with some inventive pass and move football.
Johnson had probably his best game for Leeds. He needs to keep improving. His work rate was up 25% on the Spurs match and he also managed a few shots combined with good passing and terrier like tackling. Sakho completed the midfield with another decent game. More battling and effort than the skill he showed against Newcastle but he was effective but he is definitely a striker playing out of position and I would put him up front. He scored a goal with his head that was disallowed for off-side but I think he will provide the pace through the middle that we are lacking at the moment.
So to my moans - Viduka and Smith. For all their fans - can you see that it doesn't work ? Three times in 10 minutes they went for the same ball. Neither is the type of player that peels off defenders to make space for the other. Both need that pace around them to give them space. They are incompatible. It's one or the other and on last night's performance it's Smith.
Viduka was again poor. What is this down to ? Two games now where he hasn't contributed at all. Last night he didn't even hold the ball up well. Will this run continue until Christmas ? Doesn't it just make you sick ? He ruined a good team performance in my eyes (well him and Harte).
Defence - after a shaky start defending a string of Soton corners (mainly due to Robinson's indecision) we settled down and Matteo and Camara (man of the match) were excellent keeping Beattie and Phillips quiet. Camara seemed to come out of his shell. Maybe playing with Radebe he was playing second fiddle but last night he was the main man really showing that he has everything he needs to be a top class defender. Better than Rio without a doubt although I'm not sure about him dribbling with the ball on the edge of his box.
Matteo has so much more to offer at centre back rather than left back and if he wasn't fit last night you couldn't tell, outpacing Phillips on a few occasions. Top man. Unfortunately his move to the centre meant the reappearance of Ian Harte. Good God. He is finished. At one point , after another Soton attack flew past him on the right (with a decent left back this would have been a stroll for Leeds) he actually feigned injury to signal to Reid that he wanted to be taken off. I've never seen that before. His free kicks were abyssmal. Hopefully we'll never see him again. Richardson came on and looked decent until he was nutmegged and went over embarrassingly on his ankle. Hope he's ok.
Finally Batty. He came on and provided the best pass of the match together with the best bit of skill with a good one-two with Pennant with a back heel. He also showed drive , determination and an ease on the ball that we haven't seen for a while. Maybe he needs 90 minutes but he's in a different league to Morris. Too good to be left on the bench.
We should have won this match. Soton played some good stuff as well. Crowd were good second half. This was a good 0-0 and if we continue like this we'll be ok.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 27/08/2003.
Mark Viduka's every move was supposed to be under scrutiny from Italian scouts last night but, given the sporadic nature of the Leeds striker's involvement, their attention might just have wandered towards a couple of unlikely targets.
Do not be surprised if Internazionale receive glowing reports about Seth Johnson, arguably man of the match in the home central midfield, or Jermaine Pennant, a winger who relished reminding Graeme Le Saux why his England days are behind him.
Southampton's Gordon Strachan, himself a former Leeds midfielder, would have been the happier manager at the end of a game Leeds really should have won - and perhaps would have had Viduka been in a more energetic mood.