Graham Smyth: Leeds United nagging question remains after goalless draw v Brentford
A “nagging question” still surrounds Jesse Marsch’s Leeds United side after they lacked the clinical edge to beat Brentford, according to Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Graham Smyth.
As was the case in the 2-1 loss to Aston Villa, the American’s side dominated for large portions of the goalless draw against the Bees on Sunday (22 January) but lacked the firepower to claim three points and pull clear of the relegation zone.
The Whites now sit just a point above the bottom three after 20 games and will hope the returning Patrick Bamford and January recruit Geoginio Rutter can prove the antidote to Marsch’s attacking problems.
Smyth confessed that despite playing some attractive football, Leeds need to start picking up points and fast.
“Performances breed results and momentum can gather from small steps,” said Smyth, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post (23 January).
“The nagging questions that linger are these – if not Brentford at home, then who? And if not now, then when?
“Leeds hadn’t won in the league since November prior to this one, which in reality is only five games, but the bigger picture is that 19 Premier League outings have brought only four victories.
“And a glance at the fixture list lying in wait does not an easy three points readily reveal. After a banana skin FA Cup tie, Leeds will travel to Nottingham Forest for a huge bottom-half clash. Then it’s a potential double-header against Manchester United, a colossal trip to Everton and a home game of equivalent size and stature against Southampton.”
Leeds were unlucky to come away with a solitary point against the high-flying Bees on Sunday, and their performance does show that steps are being taken under Marsch.
The Whites’ defence was far more solid and dependable with Max Wober at its heart, while there were some bright attacking patterns of play.
It almost seemed as though Leeds’ front four were trying to force matters in the final third instead of playing a patient, attacking game. Too many times, the likes of Willy Gnonto or Jack Harrison tried to force a through ball past Brentford’s extremely narrow back-five, which would be picked off with ease, instead of playing the extra pass and looking for the space.
In the last 15 minutes, it was one-way traffic, and there was only going to be one winner.
The arrival of Bamford allowed the team to play towards a focal point – something that had been missing all game long, and hopefully, he will be deemed fit enough to play Nottingham Forest in their next league game.