So the annual “most expensive day trip of the season” took place this weekend, with Leeds United’s wobble over the last few weeks seemingly well and truly over, and their run to finally get promoted after 16 seasons back on track. To put that into perspective, we have been promoted to and relegated from the Premier League twice in that time.
To be honest I actually hope that Leeds do get promoted - if only to have a different team where the cost of going isn’t more than watching, say, Liverpool play away at City. That and the 2.5 million fans who fill Elland Road every week will finally stop moaning and realise that getting battered in the Premier League every week isn’t fun.
Right, now that’s finally out of my system, thoughts on the game itself. Yes Leeds fans do obviously feel that they deserve promotion, and for once they might not be “falling apart again”. Leeds are a decent side, there’s no getting away from that, but the hype around them and their players is getting a little out of hand. Calls for Kalvin Phillips to be fast-tracked into the England team quite frankly are ludicrous, as you need to able to perform at a higher level each week. Saying that is he any worse that the current England midfield? Hmmm.
Looking at the social side and a couple of things stand out. Firstly, Patrick Bamford getting so much grief off his own fans (guys you’re second) and also Kiko Casila who has come in for a bit of stick recently. Comparing this with the love and adoration for Pablo Hernandez for falling over a ball and scoring a goal, it does make you wonder.
What a rebound...
That moment of magic from Pablo! pic.twitter.com/gZnHBVxLKj— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 23, 2020
There’s time yet...
Fans from every Championship club 2 weeks ago: LeEdS aRe FaLlInG aPaRt AgAiN #lufc fans now: pic.twitter.com/VYHI6jZW9N— CrossMagic (@CrossMagic) February 23, 2020
It's Pablo United at the moment, I'm afraid. I hope we don't have to rely on him during the next few matches. Bamford needs to start scoring so that we can put these games to bed long before full time! #lufc #LeedsUnited #mot #alaw #waccoe #wafll #bielsa #LeedsUnitedfc— ChessFan (@ChessFan13) February 22, 2020
Nothing like being humble...
#LUFC Reflections: Bielsa is awesome, we are awesome, BielsaBall is awesome, we are the best side in the division by a country mile, club, city and fans in perfect harmony, we deserve to go up, it’s in our hands, Bamford needs to find his mojo or Big Kev needs to get up to speed— DirtyLeeds #LUFC #MOT (@SporcoLeeds) February 22, 2020
Imagine if this were the other way around...
I can actually taste the salt from this tweet #LUFC https://t.co/Q1cNVya2Nc— Talk About Leeds (@talkaboutlufc) February 22, 2020
Way we play? Sorry should we just allow you to play through us?
Horrendous conditions coupled with the way Reading play made it a poor one to watch today, we weren't at our flowing best either and thought one might be enough and so it proved. A big up to Kiko too for a great final minute save to keep us in front. On to the next. #lufc— Stephen Reynolds (@stephens_tweets) February 22, 2020
Don’t give up day job...
Bielsa he comes from Argentina, He came to manage super Leeds. They call him El Loco cos he's crazy, He knows exactly what we need, Ben White at the back, Bamford in attack, Leeds are going to the Premier League... #lufc pic.twitter.com/U3TwC4UXwm— Alienbumnote (@alienbumnote) February 22, 2020
There is a phrase I could use...
With Readings type of away football this is why they have no away fans— Deanoooh 50 Shades of Ray (@deanoooh2020) February 22, 2020
1-0 down and when @LiamCooper__ & Co have the ball they back off into their own half. They have the cheek to blame it on our prices
should be happy to pay that to watch the footy we play #LUFC #MOT #LEEREA
When was the last time Leeds even saw a trophy for anything? #Salty
Safe journey home to the 27 @ReadingFC fans who made the trip up to Yorkshire for their cup final today #readingfc #lufc— All Things Cricket (@Cricket_Things) February 22, 2020
It’s hardly a surprise that the media reaction was all about Leeds; their march to the Premier League seems to back on track and all the talk was mainly around their under-fire goal keeper and also the injury that Philips received.
Starting with The Express, and they set the scene with most of the column around Philips’ knock. They then follow that up with an interview with Marcelo Bielsa who didn’t know the extent of the injury till Philips tweeted later that it’s a dead calf.
The Star following suit with Bielsa’s interview after the game, focusing on the impact that Casilla made with a couple of decent stops. They don’t even mention we were playing!
The Mail on Sunday have a bit more of a report - yes it’s all about Leeds again. However, they do have an interview with Mark Bowen (right at the bottom) saying that he felt we deserved a point with the officials being overly generous to Leeds.
There is something that really annoys me about local news outlets and the Yorkshire Evening Post and GetReading are both guilty of it - would it really kill you to put a match report up? You have everything else apart from your thoughts on the game. C’mon guys, get it together.
Anyway, points of interest from these are GetReading’s five things where they cover Michael Olise’s twist and turn, the youngster’s late inclusion and the potential penalty at the end. At the YEP, they have a big focus on Ben White who’s on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.
Looking at the 72.co.uk, I’m not quite sure if Bielsa is taking the proverbial out of the Reading fans and team by heaping praise on John Swift and also Klich for keeping him quiet! My personal opinion is that Swift has been off the boil for weeks and needs a spell on the sidelines.
Finally, looking at the nationals and SkySports have their 1.56 of coverage. Actually they’re the only people reporting on the game to give us any form of credit - as far as us containing Leeds in the first half is credit. Over at the BBC and they use the phrase “Reading frustrated Leeds” which probably is apt.
I really hope they do get promoted. We have had such fun over the last few years seeing them choke at the final moment, it would be more interesting to see them get relegated without exceeding Derby County’s lowest-ever points total.
Right, now that I have finished baiting the Leeds fans, what about Reading?
This game in effect was a free hit as the chances of us getting something were unlikely, but what’s become apparent over the last few weeks is the importance of Pele to this team. He was the driving force on Saturday and in reality when you consider the forward attacking line we have it’s a worry. Without Ovie Ejaria, Swift out of sorts and Michael Olise still learning, it’s not surprising that George Puscas cuts a lone figure.
With Puscas he seems to have become the fans’ target at the moment, but to be honest I do have sympathy for him as the service he gets is nigh on dreadful. It does amaze me the grief that Puscas gets when Yakou Meite is for me no better or no worse. This is one of the great mysteries of football: fans just seeming to lock onto a player when actually it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense and basically it’s just an easy target. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve some stick as sometimes he does look a little off the pace.
Saying all that, we do have to put a massive dose of realism in the mix. This is probably the best team we have had for a while and if nothing else this season is an improvement. Baby steps.