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Five talking points from Leeds' draw with Middlesbrough, featuring Diagouraga and Mowatt

Leeds United East Stand

Leeds drew 0-0 with Middlesbrough on Monday night - here are five talking points from the match.

Defensive solidity

Middlesbrough were able to field a host of big name attacking players; Stewart Downing, Cristhian Stuani, Gaston Ramirez and Jordan Rhodes all started the game, with Aitor Karanka fielding one of the Championship's most expensive forward lines. Then, he was also able to bring on substitutes David Nugent and Albert Adomah, offering Boro an embarrassment of riches as they searched for a winning goal.

However, Leeds defended superbly to keep Middlesbrough at bay. Giuseppe Bellusci enjoyed an outstanding game, whilst goalkeeper Marco Silvestri was alert when called upon. With Leeds struggling to score goals, it's vital that Leeds keep it tight at the back - and they managed that on Monday night.

Bridcutt and Diagouraga impress again

Manager Steve Evans was desperate to bring midfielders Liam Bridcutt and Toumani Diagouraga to Elland Road, and it's clear why.

Both players dominated the game against Middlesbrough, and didn't allow Adam Clayton and Grant Leadbitter to dictate the match, as they so often do in the Boro midfield. Bridcutt and Diagouraga were strong in the tackle, used the ball well and offered great protection for the back four, whilst also allowing Lewis Cook to get forward and drive at the Middlesbrough defence. 

Attacking problems remain

The clean sheet was a boost for Leeds, but they again failed to find the back of the net, meaning it's now just four goals from the last seven Championship matches.

There are valid reasons for that; Chris Wood is still out injured, whilst winger Mustapha Carayol wasn't allowed to play against his parent club. Still, the attacking display once again served to show that Leeds still need to bring in new attacking players, as whilst Souleymane Doukara had a great header saved, some more firepower could have grabbed Leeds all three points.

Mowatt's return a major boost

After some niggling injury problems over the last six weeks, Alex Mowatt coming on as a substitute in the second half was a massive boost for Leeds boss Evans. Clearly a talented player, Mowatt hit some great form immediately after Evans' appointment back in October, but has been set back by injuries lately.

It's now unclear where he will play though. Usually a central midfielder or attacking midfielder, Evans has a strong trio of Bridcutt, Diagouraga and Cook through the middle, meaning Mowatt may either have to play out wide or settle for a place on the bench. Either way, his return gives Leeds some added quality.

Leeds can challenge with the Championship's best

Middlesbrough are heavily tipped for promotion to the Premier League this season, and yet Leeds went toe-to-toe with them at Elland Road. They battled for every ball and, on another day, could have snatched a victory. With some new additions in the final third either in the loan market this season or in the summer, Leeds could become a contender in the Championship, as they proved on Monday night.

What did you think of Leeds' 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough?

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