Going into the game against Birmingham the whole club was surrounded with negativity, by the end of the 90 minutes it was the complete opposite.
On the back of a lacklustre performance against derby what everyone needed was a good, solid win. That was exactly what we got. When news of the team and formation came out I was very surprised, but happy. 3-5-2 with Byram and Warnock as the wing-backs, finally, some much needed width.
The first thing that hit me in the game was how extraordinarily bad Birmingham’s defence was, terrible. They looked like they’d never played 3-5-2 before and had just been told to match up to Leeds an hour earlier. Leeds started with a different look about them, they looked like they wanted to win. It was definitely a fast start by our standards. As soon as Ross missed a couple of chances I thought, that’s it, this is one of those games, Birmingham would have one shot and win. How wrong was I? In the end, the chance Ross took was probably the hardest of them all.
The all round performance was great, Birmingham weren’t the best opposition but we made them look awful. Leeds completely bullied them off the pitch, in every department. For me, Smith was the most impressive. He’s had a lot of criticism, I even saw one person say he shouldn’t be a professional footballer. He was brilliant in every aspect, his hold up play was that last seen from a certain Argentine. His finishing, with both his foot and his head was class. The partnership between him and McCormack has great potential. Ross has the intelligence to read what Smith is going to do, he will get on the end of flick ons unlike some of our other strikers… Smith’s first goal showed that he is can finish with his feet, also he scored a goal which was disallowed for offside but what a finish! Smashed into the top corner. His header was even better, the best goal of the day for me. Mowatt put in what has to be the best ball you will see all season, straight onto Smith’s head, who scored a bullet header, beautiful.
That brings me onto the midfield. They were all brilliant today, a midfield three of Murphy, Mowatt and Austin. Unlike previous games Austin was the further forward of the midfielders, and it worked a treat. Austin has been a bit off of late but today he was superb, given man of the match by Sky. I’ve been calling for Austin to play further forward for a while now, and I wasn’t disappointed, flawless. He didn’t make one error today, he was everywhere. He spread the play wonderfully, ran beyond defenders and made the odd exceptional challenge and of course got himself a goal. He really is becoming a fan favourite.
Mowatt had another brilliant game, he fits in so well to the team it can’t be long until he gets a big contract. For me he is the most exciting prospect since Fabian Delph. As I mentioned before his cross for Matt Smith’s goal was perfection. He is the creative player we have been missing for a long time.
Luke Murphy also had what I think was his best game for Leeds United, he made some brilliant passes, and looked very assured in his deeper role.
The Defence also had a very solid game, a clearance off the line by Tom Lees was exceptional. The return of Sam Byram, he looks just as good as last season, if not better. You can see why we’ve missed him. There was one moment where the ball was hit forward by Birmingham and he was running back towards his own goal with a attacker behind him, he just plucked it out of the sky and passed it to a team-mate, if you’d see him then for the first time you would of known he is a brilliant player.
Overall it was the perfect performance from Leeds, one we so badly needed. Now we can hope for a similar performance against a Vaughan-less Huddersfield next Saturday.
Let us know what you thought of the performance in the comments below.
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