Here we are then. Leeds United at home. If it was as much fun as Leeds United away then we’re in for a cracking Friday night on Tyneside. There are benefits to this division. Leeds United at home on a Good Friday night is one of them. I can’t wait. There’ve been plenty who’ve said they can’t get excited for home games in this division due to the likes of playing Wigan, Burton, Rotherham etc but there should be no excuses for this game. I think we’re one win from promotion – that should get you going. The full day full of sunshine and alcohol should also help. The People’s/Sky Television’s Champions Brighton on Hove Albion kick off before us as do Huddersfield so by kick off we could well be five points behind the top of the league and our lead could be cut to four with four to play. So it’s a big game, if I didn’t make that clear.
Leeds travel to Tyneside just about secure in the play offs. Their five point cushion to seventh place could be cut to two by kick off. They’ve been there all season and look a good team. Garrrrrrry Monk reckons the team that played United last year was less mature than they are now and it’ll be a closer game. I find that bizarre as Monk said after the fixture at their place that they were the better team and should have won the game. It was horse shit obviously, as that’s just Garry – unable in anyway to pay credit to the opposition, even when they were as dominant as United. That was a cracking day in Leeds, more of the same up here would be welcome.
Leeds’ away record is reasonable with eight wins on the road and nine losses. Just the two draws to their name away from home. Bar a win at Sheffield Wednesday back in August they’ve lost at Brighton, Huddersfield, Reading and Fulham this season. So there away record against the top sides is flaky. Their last away win came at Birmingham City on a Friday night right at the start of March. That was a game they defiantly didn’t deserve to win. They’ve lost their last wo away games without scoring at Reading and Brentford. They’ve won the last four games at home. They have one or two doubts over players but are looking at full strength which features the impressive Chris Wood who has 27 goals in 40 starts this season in all competitions.
United are without our own goal machine who looks to be out for the season. There is talk in the Chronicle about Mitrovic getting (yet) another chance to prove himself. He made a really positive impact on Saturday. He did the same against Aston Villa in February and then stunk St James’ out against Bristol a few days later. All he needs to do is press, run the channels, not drop ridiculously deep for the ball and run a bit. He’s capable of all of that and then some. I want him to make me eat my words this season. There’s also the chance Daryl Murphy could start the game. What’s going on with Hayden and Colback I’ve no idea but they were both hugely missed in Sheffield. I don’t mind Diame playing deeper against teams that sit back and provide a lot of time and space, but when pressed and harried he looks lost. We could badly do with a fit Isaac Hayden back for this one.
It’s worth remembering that Colback’s best performance (for me) this season was at Leeds away. Yedlin and Clark are both massive misses. There must be something wrong with Hanley as I thought the decision to play Mbemba at Sheffield was mental, utter madness from the manager if it was a genuine selection. Wednesday were always going to play long balls through the middle and Mbemba is not your man for that. If he starts I’ll worry about how he would perform against Wood. Happy to be proved wrong, but for me he’s not good enough. All this talk of people saying he’s “suited for the Premier League” is frankly bollocks. If you can’t cut it against division two players, you’ll struggle against the lads a league above.
Without Gayle United have done pretty well this season. Wolves, Norwich, Brentford, Rotherham and Aston Villa have all been beaten without our star man. Without players running in behind (bar Ritchie) Leeds might be inlclined to attack a bit more, which would probably played into our hands. I read some criticism of Shelvey at Sheffield, which was bizarre considering he was by far and away our best player. More of the same from him and an attacking contribution from Yoan Goufrann would be nice. Perez threatening the opposition goal would be helpful too.
I think we’ll get three points in this one because I always do. We’re a good side. So are Leeds. It won’t be easy but I’m looking forward to getting behind the lads and seeing us grab a much needed win before we all head to Suffolk.
Come on United.
2 0 to Rafa’s Mags.
ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892
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