Friday, 23 September 2011

AMEX awaits as dust settles

Gus Poyet's Brighton side are Leeds' next obstacle this season with the dust only just settling after a crushing 3-0 loss to bitter rivals Manchester United on Tuesday night. The Seagulls have had even less time to prepare after their Wednesday night defeat to Liverpool. That gives Grayson and his men a slight advantage as their will be a few more tired bodies in the Brighton camp.

Leeds fans were left disappointed leaving Elland Road on Tuesday as they'd pretty much watched a Man Utd training session without being able to get themselves in the game. The fans deserved better after the atmosphere they created. Grayson will be looking to put it right tonight as they look to secure their first away win of the season. Paddy Kisnorbo is back after suspension and is expected to control the central of defence once again. Also Grayson welcomes Elland Road old boy Danny Pugh to the squad after signing him on loan from Stoke. Pugh might be what were missing at the moment, he is versatile and plays almost anywhere on the left flank.

Poyet faces the Whites for the only the second time since leaving Elland Road after being Dennis Wise's No.2. He's had a fantastic time at Brighton and they are playing an attractive brand of football. They were invincible at home last season and are yet to be beaten at their new AMEX Stadium. Will Buckley is their main danger-man after his explosive start to life in the Championship. They also have Craig Mackail-Smith who is natural goalscorer, the United defence will be in for a tough test tonight.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Different Competition, Different Venue, Different Players, Same Rivalry!

Its been 7 years 11 months and 8 days since Manchester United last visited Elland Road. That was funnily enough in the League Cup. These two famous clubs with a fierce rivalry lock horns once again in what is an eagerly anticipated fixture for both sets of fans.

Leeds shocked the footballing world three seasons ago when they stunned the Red Devils by knocking them out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford, that Jermaine Beckford goal will never be forgotten. Revenge might be on the agenda for Sir Alex and his unbeaten side come tomorrow night, however he is rumoured to be introducing many young players to the team. He certainly wouldn't want a repeat result. So will the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and Nani travel? I expect to see them on the bench. I see Man Utd taking a similar strategy to what Liverpool did a few seasons ago by fielding a young yet talent starting eleven whilst being backed up by a star studded bench.

As for Simon Grayson he has a few dilemmas's to his selection with an important Championship trip to high flying Brighton on Friday night. Experienced defender Patrick Kisnorbo is suspended, he would have been one of the few survivors from the side that one at Old Trafford. Captain Jonny Howson has had an average start to his campaign but should lead his side out with all the fans begging for a performance like the Jonny Howson that dazzled the Championship last term. You can't stop Ross McCormack scoring of late and he'll be hoping that his fine form is rewarded with a start in this high profile game. Also Paul Rachubka who played in the 2nd round tie will be hoping to get the nod over the impressive Andy Lonergan.

Whoever is selected for the both sides a explosive atmosphere is sure to be created from a vocal Elland Road faithful. Ken Bates is expected to be at the game and he is once again in the headlines after calling ex-white Neil Kilkenny a 'petulant sod' after he sarcastically blew kisses at him in the stands during his goal celebration at Elland Road on Saturday. I can only imagine the fans will once again voice their protests against him but all I can hope is that the players do their talking on the pitch and give the fans just reward for an emotionally toiling start to the season.

White vs Red... Grayson vs Ferguson... Leeds vs Man Utd... It doesn't get better than this!

High and Lows, Red Cards, Red Devils, Gradel & Luciano

I apologies to my followers that I've gone off the boil when it comes to my opinions and takes on all news Leeds United of late. So here's a catch up. Victory against Hull gave us our first league victory which finally gave the fans something to shout about. A difficult trip to Upton Park to take on a West Ham side riddled with Premier League quality was next on the agenda. We put in our best performance of the season so far and really showed any doubters that we plan to be right up again this season, unfortunately lady luck wasn't on United's side as we had to settle for a more than deserved point courtesy of Adam Clayton's 90th minute leveller, the midfielder's first goal in a Leeds shirt.

After a drama filled week in the league attention once again turned to the Carling Cup. A trip to Doncaster was the perfect reminder of Ramon Nunez' talents for Simon Grayson as his brace sent us into the 3rd round. Early on Saturday morning the players will have been delighted by the news that they would once again take on Premier League champions Manchester United, this time on home soil. Football has a funny way of bringing you back down to earth and another red card and a late goal took the points away from Leeds and handed struggling Ipswich a much needed win.

A shocker for United fans! Fan favourite Max Gradel handed in a transfer request as he searched for football in France. An offer from Saint-Etienne was accepted and all of a sudden the Whites had lost their talisman as well as no incoming replacement. Two home games followed for Leeds and the week was made better as Grayson declared Luciano Becchio was close to a return after a long injury lay-off. Veteran striker Mikael Forssell joined up with his new team-mates as Leeds looked to bulk up their attacking options. Clayton was missing from the Palace game and Leeds sure did miss him as we failed to control the game, this also down to the fact that skipper Jonny Howson seemed to be being sick. United won the game 3-2 due to Luciano Becchio scoring on his return albeit off bench as well as goal machine Ross McCormack scoring a brace including a late winner.

Bristol City were the next visitors to Elland Road which is currently undergoing a re-model. It was also a return for Neil Kilkenny as he took on his old team-mates after leaving on a free in the summer. Leeds were out of the blocks like a racehorse and it only took 3 minutes for Adam Clayton to open the scoring for United with a curling effort into the top corner. Loanee Andy Keogh had a brilliant chance to make it two but David James was equal to it. Minutes later City were level and no prices for guessing who dealt the blow, old boy Neil Kilkenny with a rasping effort from 20 yards. After that Leeds seemed to lose that zip they had in the first 15 minutes.

In the second half both sides were looking for the break through and the game changing moment came when Nicky Maynard broke was through on goal after a slip from Darren O'Dea, Kisnorbo trying to save the situation went piling into the back of him giving away a penalty whilst seeing red. United fourth dismissal of the season. Maynard stepped up to take it but Andy Lonergan made a good save to keep the home side in the game. With Becchio, Forssell and McCormack all on the pitch despite having 10 men their attacking threat was still present. Leeds kept fighting and from a Bromby long throw Becchio flicked onto McCormack who poked the ball in at the back post to maintain his impressive scoring record. Leeds hung on for the win after being penned in their defensive third for the last 5 minutes but another win for the Whites as they climb up into the top half of the table.