Leeds stole a late point from Fulham with a dramatic injury time goal. After the game, what have we learned about this Leeds team?
Leeds United's Robert Green celebrates their first goal
Leeds scrambled a last-minute equaliser as they held Fulham to a 1-1 draw and, in doing so, picked up their first points of the campaign. Now that the dust has settled on the draw, what did we learn about Leeds from the game?
Elland Road must be a fortress
If Leeds are to forge their way up the Championship table this season then they must turn Elland Road into a fortress. People would be hard pressed to find a team that has excelled in the Championship, but been sup-par at home. It is a must for them that they make a win a near certainty from most of their home games.
It is interesting then to look at Leeds’ stats from their game against Fulham. In the first-half they were dominated by the London side. Fulham had nine shots on goal in the first 45, and they had 65% possession by half-time. Things did improve in the second-half possession wise for Leeds, as they cut Fulham’s ball control down to 61%.
The Cottagers went on to have 21 shots in total and, in a game where chances were flowing for both sides it would not be a problem, but Leeds did not carve out many clear-cut chances as they struggled in front of goal.
Against a team that are more clinical, Leeds could have been looking at an embarrassing score-line. It is imperative for them that they battle harder at home and make teams afraid to travel to Elland Road.
Pablo Hernandez needs to find his feet fast
The former Swansea midfielder was brought in by Garry Monk in order to bring a real flair to Leeds’ midfield. The Spanish midfielder was recruited on a six-month loan from Qatari based club Al-Arabi.
Hernandez made his first appearance in a League Cup victory against Fleetwood Town. He also started the game against Fulham but he struggled hugely. Hernandez is an intelligent player on the ball with his dribbling and passing a particularly strong aspect of his game. However, against a very compact Fulham side he was not nearly as effective as he can be.
Pablo Hernandez - Swansea City
With Leeds struggling for goals and any real penetration up-front, Hernandez must find a way to implement himself more in the game. Monk knows Hernandez well after working with him at Swansea and, at 31-years-old, the winger is an experienced player that can bring something completely different to a Leeds side that desperately needs a guiding light going forward.
It is vitally important then that Hernandez gets his head above water, and fast.
Leeds must control their games in the opening exchanges
In the opening exchanges Leeds were utterly dominated by their counterparts. Fulham were superb on the front foot and gave Leeds so little time on the ball. The Cottagers were also very strong as they carved out a number of chances, making Leeds’ minimal incision look even worse.
Leeds United manager Garry Monk
After 20 minutes, Leeds had only had 32% of the ball, After 27 minutes, Leeds had their first shot, and it was not on target. By half-time they had managed three shots of which one was on target. While they did get better after half-time, they were abject in the first 20 minutes.
Fulham’s finishing was very poor on the night and they will be kicking themselves after they failed to take all three points. However, against a far more clinical side, Leeds wouldn’t have had the chance to equalise late on, and so they would have fallen to another defeat.
Monk must find a way to get his team to keep the ball for longer and stop the opposition from making so many chances.
Right now, Leeds’ slow start to the season is not terminal. At only three games into the new campaign they have more than enough time to turn things around. However, if they are unable to register their first win soon, pressure will start to build quickly on Leeds and Monk.