|Leeds United 1 v 1 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 2nd April 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton At Leeds United The Verdict
Monday, 4th Apr 2022 09:14
Saints ended their four match losing streak with a hard fought point at Elland Road, but it was not without it's faults nor controversy, but despite what Leeds very own Ted Lasso said post match, Saints deserved a point and possibly more.
Ralph Hasenhuttl reverted back to what is virtually his first XI with the only real rasing of eyebrows pre match being the inclusion of Ibrahima Diallo in place of Stuart Armstrong.
Leeds manager Jesse Marsch claimed after the game that Leeds deserved to win, in truth a draw was a fair result, but it could be said that Saints had the better chances but again failed to take them.
Marsch is a strange figure, he seems to be on the verge of hysteria during the game, when he made a substitution he almost seemed to have a nervous breakdown screaming at his coaches, you would have thought that they had sent on the wrong man, perhaps they did.
They should have taken the lead when Che Adams laid the ball back for Mohammed Elyounoussi who from around the penalty spot hit the ball straight at the Leeds keeper, in fairness he seemed to slip as he went to hit his shot, but he really should have done better.
The pitch seemed a little unstable again, players on both sides seemed to lose their feet as they went to kick or turn.
The referee Anthony Taylor attracted the wrath of both sets of supporters who felt that he waved play on when there were fouls, Saints main moment came in the lead up to Leeds goal, Broja appeared to be racing past his man and bundled to the ground, Taylor waved play on.
This made Saints lose concentration and within 30 seconds the home side were ahead, it was a lapse in concentration from Saints who really should have defended a scrappy goal better.
But within minutes the game was nearly level again, Che Adams putting the ball past Meslier but it was scrambled off the line, some felt that Elyounoussi should really have scrambled it over the line.
So Saints were one down at the break, but that would not be the case for long, Kyle Walker Peters went on a mazy run that ended with him being fouled on the edge of the box, this was James Ward Prowse territory and he duly obliged.
The game could have gone either way after that, Leeds played their usual game of piling forward gung ho and in the main Saints dealt with it, Leeds questionable decision came deep into injury time when they screamed for a penalty, the referee waved it away as he had done for both sides during the game.
So who played well and who didn't ? in defence we were mainly tight except for a couple of dodgy moments, Kyle Walker Peters was outstanding both in defensive duties and surging forward.
In midfield James Ward Prowse worked the hardest although Oriol Romeu wasn't far behind, out wide Ibrahima Diallo was brought in too cut out Leeds counter attacks being more defensive minded than Stuart Armstrong and he could walk off the pitch knowing he had done a good job.
On the other side Mohammed Elyounoussi was largely annonymous, on one hand that was perhaps not a bad thing as you could say he wasn't doing anything bad, but on the other hand he didn't influence the game and really should have scored.
Up front Che Adams was our best attacker, Armando Broja struggled to get into the game, in the second half when we played forward on too many occasions he failed to get in a decent challenge and the ball came straight back at us, he has many good qualities, but knowing how to defend from the front is yet to be one of them, personally I would have brought on Adam Armstrong to harass their back line.
When the change came in the 90th minute Shane Long won three headers in quick succession to flick the ball on, that was more than Broja had won all game.
Broja will be a class act but he is young, he is still learning, sometimes you have to know when to give a youngster a rest in a game.
If we had brought on Nathan Tella earlier we might have sneaked a winner, likewise Adam Armstrong, we failed to harass a suspect Leeds back line enough.
But all in all it was a satisfying point, we went to Elland Road with Leeds full of confidence and we matched them for work rate and allowed them few chances, although they shaded possession, we had more attempts on goal and double those on target than the home side.
A couple of tough games coming up, but hitting 36 points we aren't going to go down and neither are we going to get into Europe, of course we need to get points on board and aim for 9th place which is only 1 point above us, but we have to keep an eye over our shoulders, as Leeds in 16th are still only 6 points away.
With 8 games left we can play with a little more freedom and I think we need to get players such as Nathan Tella and Adam Armstrong more game time, they are the future of the club and we need to see if they can reach their potential.
Ironically if we are to finish the season on a high it will probably be away from home where we have to do it.
Photo: Action Images
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