Leeds United can exploit Southampton's 'huge hangover' in crucial Championship clash
While Leeds United seem to have found their feet well in the Championship under Daniel Farke, the same can’t be said of Southampton under Russell Martin.
The Saints have had a poor start to the season under the former Swansea City manager as they have struggled to adapt to life in England’s second tier currently sitting 15th in the table having conceded a Championship-worst 19 goals in their opening eight matches.
Martin is already under pressure at St Mary’s and the crowd are becoming frustrated with the performance levels of their side, but the Southampton boss believes that the poor start to the campaign is a result of the recent struggles of the Saints.
As quoted by the Daily Echo (24 September) he said: “It’s not a quick fix at the club. It’s been a tough year, 18 months and there has been a huge hangover from that. Probably bigger than we thought, but we will continue to be all in and give everything that we have got to give the fans a team to be proud of.
“We are going through a really tough period at the minute, maybe more than ever, but I understand the frustration. We have to keep working. It’s as simple as that.”
Leeds on the other hand have found their attacking groove under Farke, scoring an impressive 10 goals in their last five championship matches, despite failing to find the net in two of those games and that presents a golden opportunity for the Whites.
Winning away to Southampton could be the sort of result that defines Leeds United’s season, as before a ball was kicked the Saints were labelled as one of the favourites for promotion back to the Premier League and winning at St Mary’s would be a huge indicator of just how good Farke’s team are.
Defensively, Martin’s team is a mess and given the depth of attacking quality at Elland Road, Leeds should be licking their lips at the thought of terrorising the backline on Saturday (30 September) as if they show the same cutting-edge counter-attacking style they did at Millwall, they will run amuck.
The nature of Martin’s coaching style is possession-based football, according to Fbref, so far this season they have averaged a huge 64.1 per cent of the ball, including having 80 per cent in their opening-day win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Leeds have shown they can win with or without the ball, but against Ipswich Town, they won 4-3 with only 42 per cent possession. They could well flex their goalscoring muscles once again this weekend like they did at Portman Road.
A win over Southampton would send a message to the Championship that this Leeds team needs to be taken very seriously.
In other Leeds United news, Carlton Palmer believes that Leeds may be forced into selling Archie Gray next summer