Pontus rapidly becoming a piece of ER folklore

Dec 30th. Pontus would play on one leg for Leeds Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson says he would turn out against Rotherham United next week even if he only had one leg. The on-loan Swedish international looked to be struggling in the first half of the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Thursday night after receiving lengthy treatment early in the game. Jansson carried on and he looked to have won all three points for the side after heading them ahead early in the second half. He has endeared himself to the Leeds fans already this season and his latest comments will only galvanise his relationship. Jansson spoke with BBC Radio Leeds reporter Adam Pope after the game and he admitted nothing would stop him playing for Leeds. “I would play against Rotherham even if I only had one leg, nothing will stop me now,” Jansson told BBC Radio Leeds. “I am a little bit tired now, that is normal after a game in the Championship. This type of football kills my body but I like it, I really like playing this type of football.”   Jansson is currently on a season-long loan at Leeds from Italian side Torino and he is set to make his 20th appearance for the club against Rotherham United on Monday, triggering a clause in his loan deal that would open negotiations on a permanent deal being agreed.


Mallik Wilks – Hopefully another gem from the production line

Dec 30th. Wilks signs on for United Leeds United are today pleased to announce that Mallik Wilks has signed professional terms with the Club. The powerful striker has been ever present for United’s Under-18s and Under-23s this season, making a combined total of 16 appearances. Wilks netted a brace against Hull City in the FA Youth Cup for the Whites, in an impressive display under the spotlight, back at the beginning of December. His form earned him a call up to the first team squad just a week later, where he was named on the bench, by head coach Garry Monk, for United’s Sky Bet Championship fixture with Reading at Elland Road. Wilks, who turned 18 two days after the Reading game, has penned a deal which will see him remain at Elland Road until at least the end of 2017/18 season. He follows in the footsteps of recent Academy graduates Lewie Coyle, Tyler Denton and Kalvin Phillips who have all gone on to breakthrough into the first team.


MOT huddle

Dec 29th Leeds United 1 (Jansson 53) Aston Villa 1 (Kodjia pen 86) Villa: Bunn, Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi, Jedinak (Gestede 78), Westwood, Bacuna, Grealish (McCormack 49), Ayew (Adomah 78), Kodjia. Subs not used: Gollini, Elphick, Agbonlahor, Gestede, Gardner, Adomah, McCormack. Leeds: Green, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Berardi, Phillips, Bridcutt (Vieira 82), Dallas (Hernandez 56), Sacko, Roofe (Wood 68), Doukara. Subs not used: Silvestri, Vieira, Hernandez, Wood, Mowatt, Antonsson, Denton. Booked: Cooper, Bridcutt, Jansson (Leeds), Chester, Bacuna, Gestede (Villa) Referee: R. East Attendance: 37,078 Jonathan Kodjia scored a late penalty to cancel out Pontus Jansson’s header as Garry Monk’s side had to settle for a point at Villa Park. The home side nearly got off to a great start, when Kodjia almost took advantage of a loose back pass from Kalvin Phillips, but for an intervention from Jansson. Villa continued their dominance in the opening period, with Kodjia again going close, he struck from distance and was only denied by a fine Rob Green save. Stuart Dallas almost caught out a hesitant Villa defence and goalkeeper in the 17th minute, his cross went right through the box and just wide of the goal. Jordan Ayew was next to go close for the hosts, he saw a neat free-kick on the left flank tipped over the crossbar by Green, captain James Chester then went close from the second ball from the following corner, heading just inches wide. Some exquisite play by Luke Ayling to prevent the ball going for a Villa goal-kick gave Leeds an opportunity before the break, Hadi Sacko was able to tee up Kemar Roofe, but he saw his effort blocked. On the stroke of half time Dallas tried a spectacular half volley from range, but he was unable to find the target as the teams went in all square at the break. Half Time: Aston Villa 0-0 Leeds United After the break Jack Grealish had to be replaced for Villa after a challenge from Jansson in the first half. The substitute almost had an immediate impact, trying to find Ayew at the back post, but Green made a vital save. United took the lead in the 53rd minute, Sacko did well to win Leeds a corner, Dallas delivered and Jansson headed home his second goal for the club. Two minutes later Leeds won another corner and nearly had the same result, Dallas again found Jansson who chested and volleyed and he was only denied by the crossbar. Substitute Pablo Hernandez was next to go close, he weaved in the penalty area before trying a dinked effort at goal, but it went just over. Sacko then had a great chance with 13 minutes remaining, he was put through and denied by Mark Bunn, but Chris Wood was screaming for the ball to be squared. Aston Villa were then awarded a penalty in the 84th minute when Liam Cooper was penalised for handball. Kodjia stepped up to take the spot kick and sent Green the wrong way to equalise. Sacko had a really good chance to put Leeds back in front soon after, he went through after doing really well against Jordan Amavi, but he was so unlucky with his finish, seeing his effort rebound off the crossbar. Kodjia then had a chance on the counter attack to win it for the home side, but for Green in the United goal, as both sides had to settle for a point which moves Leeds up to fourth in the table. Garry Monk : I’m disappointed because we deserved the three points,” said Monk. “The first half was quite even, Aston Villa had a good start but we got through that and in the second half I thought we were fantastic. “We were the best team on the pitch, we were trying to win the game and we created numerous chances, which needed to go in of course and we that little bit of luck deserved to go in. “The growth in this group and the belief to win is very evident, we will suffer ups and downs, we come away with a point which is disappointing because we know it should have been three, but we will try and use that as motivation to try and get all three in our next game. “Aston Villa are a very good team, they are very experienced, but this should have been their first home defeat. “It is very hard to be critical of my team because of our second half performance and we had more than enough chances to kill off the game. “Credit to Villa, they stuck in there and got a goal from an honest mistake, but we need to continue and grow from this. “This group are great to work with and it is a joy to be coaching and managing them as all the staff we have agree. “We will have a big crowd supporting us against Rotherham on Monday and like always we want to put our best football on the pitch and fight for the three points as hard as we can.”


Kyle Bartley (for many Leeds fans our best player this season)

Weds Dec 28th Kyle BartIey looking at the bigger picture – Phil Hay T was Kyle Bartley who made the point on the opening weekend of the season that prizes aren’t won in August. The centre-back was in a defensive frame of mind back then, attempting to calm the waters after Leeds United’s first game brought about a sorry defeat to QPR. At a different stage of the year, and with Leeds in finer fettle, he feels the same now. Pleased as he is with the club’s results, Bartley does not want to look back on his loan at Elland Road and talk about how well the club were doing at Christmas. There is a feeling among Garry Monk’s squad that they are a long way from home and the Championship table hardly encourages complacency.Leeds have form on their side with 24 points taken from their last 10 fixtures but other teams are hanging in gamely. Derby County, whose start was poor enough to earn Championship veteran Nigel Pearson the sack, have eight wins in nine and set a new record for successive clean sheets at home this week. Huddersfield Town answered a short but definite wobble by producing four victories in a row and Sheffield Wednesday, last season’s play-off finalists, are back in the top six. Aston Villa, Leeds’ opponents in Birmingham on Thursday evening, are 10th in the table but blessed with enough players and money to have a chance. “It’s been a great start to the season but that’s what it is – just a start,” Bartley said. “We’re halfway in and this half won’t mean anything if we have a disappointing second half. We’ve spoken about that with the manager “It’s important from now on that we work harder and get even better results. It’s a long season.”Monk identified the need to improve United’s results and attitude at home when he became head coach in June, taking control of a club who were too often guilty of lacking confidence at their own stadium, but their promising league position owes much to six away victories.Leeds have been less consistent on their travels than at Elland Road but the club have won away at Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich City and their Boxing Day trip to Preston North End resulted in a 4-1 rout of Simon Grayson’s team. Villa hold the Championship’s only unbeaten home record, with six wins and five draws from 11 matches, but Monk can realistically expect his players to cope at Villa Park.”We’ve talked a lot about Elland Road,” Monk said. We wanted to make it a fortress and a very hard place to come, and we’ve taken steps towards doing that. But of course you have to win away as well. It’s no good just doing it at home. “I think we’ve been good on the road this year. We’ve had some good results and some indifferent ones too but this league is all about putting results together or putting unbeaten runs together. You have to do that if you want to be successful. That’s three wins in a row for us now and we want to keep it going.” It is rare for Leeds to be heading into the January transfer window with serious impetus behind them. A year ago, Monk’s predecessor, Steve Evans, was clutching at straws and trailing the top six despite a run of seven games without defeat. Leeds paid for a bad start which extended further than the poor spell Monk endured at the beginning of this term. United have lost a total of two league matches since September 10.Monk is preparing to tweak his squad next month but his recruitment will not be over the top. He needs another striker but with Chris Wood firmly established as his lone centre-forward, the club seem more inclined to target an emerging youngster like West Ham United’s Ashley Fletcher than a player like Middlesbrough’s David Nugent. The highly-experienced Nugent, now 31, has won promotion from the Championship twice before but would arrive at Leeds with the expectation of playing regularly.United’s transfer policy in the summer was relatively well defined: a focus on younger footballers or footballers with plenty of years left in them, a reliance of the loan market and the biggest outlays of cash reserved for prospects like Kemar Roofe. The sale of Lewis Cook to Bournemouth helped fund that transfer window but Leeds are not expected to court offers for players next month, even for left-back Charlie Taylor. Taylor is out of contract at the end of June but the club stand to earn a tribunal fee for him on account of his age when that deal expires. Bartley believes additions to Monk’s squad could be crucial in seeing Leeds over the line during the Championship run-in. “January’s coming and whether we’re going to have some investment or not I don’t know,” he said. “But that might just make the difference. We’ve got quite a small squad and we’ve been struggling with injuries so I think it’s even more remarkable that we’ve been managing to pick up points.”Bartley himself is an example of how successful Leeds’ summer recruitment was. Aside from Matt Grimes, the on-loan Swansea City midfielder who has featured sporadically and failed to make the bench at Preston on Boxing Day, every one of Monk’s signings has made some impact. Bartley is the more low-key of United’s centre-backs, very much in the shadow of the hugely-popular Pontus Jansson, but his influence has been telling, not least as captain in the absence of Liam Bridcutt.Like Jansson, he now has his own song: a reworking of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’. It classes as a firm seal of approval from United’s support. I’m not on social media or anything like that but my mum is and she keeps me informed,” Bartley said. “She told me about it but for me it’s not important.”What’s important is that we keep winning. Whoever’s getting praise or having a song sung about them, that’s just an added bonus. But it’s important having the fans behind us.”The way they’ve been has helped to get us a lot of late goals and won us points.”


Kemar Roofe targeting automatic promotion

Weds 28th of December ‘Silently confident’ Roofe targets top two finish Kemar Roofe insisted a “silently confident” Leeds United squad were still in contention for a top-two finish after arriving at the halfway point of the season with a crushing win over Preston North End. Leeds routed Preston 4-1 on Monday to retain a tight grip on a Championship play-off position but Roofe believes an extension of the club’s current form will open the door to automatic promotion.Garry Monk’s side sit eight points behind the top two after Brighton beat Queens Park Rangers to move above Newcastle United into first place yesterday, but Leeds are among the division’s form teams after eight victories from 10 league games. Roofe, who scored the opening goal in an eventful match at Preston and has been prominent in United’s recent run, said Leeds had set themselves the target of reaching the play-offs before the season began in August. windowBut asked if he thought automatic promotion could be within reach, Roofe said: “Of course. Why not? If we keep winning week-in, week-out we’ll see where we get to and claw the teams above us down.”It’s calm in (the dressing room). We’re silently confident but obviously we go game by game, we don’t get carried away and we concentrate on ourselves.”When you start looking at other teams and start looking up the table I think that’s when you start struggling, but I know as long as we look after ourselves we’ll be alright.” Monk refused to set any specific targets publicly after taking over as Leeds’ head coach in June but the club have now made their best start to a Championship season since relegation from the Premiership in 2004. United lie fifth in the table with 41 points, two points ahead of Derby in seventh.Roofe described qualification for the play-offs as a “massive” ambitions for Monk’s squad, saying: “That was our aim in pre-season. We all came together and we all said we wanted it. Hopefully we can get in there comfortably as well – or maybe automatic.”Tomorrow’s match away at Aston Villa is Leeds’ last before the end of the year and the start of the January transfer window. Monk is looking to recruit a new striker next month and Leeds remain interested in a loan deal for Ashley Fletcher, the youngster who joined West Ham United from Manchester United in July amid unsuccessful attempts to bring him to Elland Road Fletcher has made two league starts for West Ham this season and his immediate future depends on the arrival of new strikers at the London Stadium.Leeds are also expected to add a winger to their squad and could bring in extra cover at centre-back, despite expectations that Sweden international Pontus Jansson will join the cub permanently in the weeks ahead.United have the option to convert Jansson’s season-long loan from Torino into a full-time deal for a fee of around £3.5m once the popular defender makes 20 appearances. He will reach that mark if he plays at Villa tomorrow and in Monday’s clash with Rotherham United at Elland Road.Monk said: “He’s committed to us and obviously he has to reach a certain amount of games. We have the option. Pontus is very happy being here and decisions will be make. The club will make the right decisions and I’ll make the right decisions for the squad going forward.”Pablo Hernandez’s loan from Qatari club Al-Arabi expires in January but Monk confirmed earlier this month that Leeds had a deal in place to make the 31-year-old’s move permanent. Weds 28th of December Phil Hay – The player ratings v Preston Leeds United Rob Green - Beaten by a very fierce hit from Vermijl but pulled off vital saves from Alan Browne at a crucial stage of the game. Another match which showed why he’s first choice. 7/10 Luke Ayling – Robinson had a go at him early on but Ayling stood up to him and produced another end-to-end display, something which is rapidly becoming his trademark. 8/10 Kyle Bartley - Lost Makienok on a couple of occasions and Leeds were in danger when he did but difficult to pick serious fault with him. 7/10


A top notch display from Leeds at Deepdale

Pontus Jansson - There was one spell early in the second half when United threatened to unravel defensively but Jansson’s work at the back was impressive again. 8/10 Gaetano Berardi - Not as naturally suited as Taylor to bombing up and down the left side but he was tight defensively and got forward when he could. 7/10 Liam Bridcutt – Looked a little rusty to begin with but the flurry of goals allowed him to exert more dominance. Can still play better than this. 7/10 Kalvin Phillips - A little surprising to see Ronaldo Vieira left out and there were little periods when Preston got on top of him but he and Bridcutt won out in the end. 7/10 Hadi Sacko - His pace have never been in doubt and the criticism of him has always focused on the quality of his final ball. A brilliant finish was a great riposte to that. 8/10 Kemar Roofe - A threat throughout, nicking the first goal, setting up the second and ensuring that Leeds always had the chance of more goals. 9/10 Stuart Dallas – Little by little he’s finding his form again. His free-kick led to the first goal and while his displays aren’t spectacular, his energy suits Monk’s tactics. 6/10 Souleymane Doukara – Monk has transformed him from a misfit into a forward who genuinely deserves to start. His goal put Leeds out of sight but his all-round effort was even more commendable. 8/10 Substitutes: Pablo Hernandez (for Sacko, 53) – Good to see him return and showed his class by taking the first chance that fell to him. 7/10 Chris Wood (for Doukara, 81) – The game was over by the time he came on but he put himself about anyway and a fourth goal duly arrived via fine work by him. 7/10 Marcus Antonsson (for Roofe, 85) - As with many of his appearances, on too late to make much of a difference. 5/10 Subs (not used): Marco Silvestri, Tyler Denton, Liam Cooper, Ronaldo Vieira Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire) – Lost control badly in the second half, although there was no arguing with Beckford’s red card. 4/10 Attendance: 21,255


Sako takes the celebrations after a brilliant finish for the second goal


Doukara is starting to become an accomplished centre forward and scored again for Leeds at Preston with this decisive finish

26th of December Preston North End 1 (Vermijl 27) Leeds United 4 (Roofe 17, Sacko 23, Doukara 31, Hernandez 88) Preston: Maxwell, Baptiste, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Vermijl, Pearson, Browne, Johnson (Doyle 81), Robinson (Beckford 66) Makienok (Hugill 66). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Wright, Spurr, Pringle. Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Phillips, Bridcutt, Dallas, Sacko (Hernandez 54), Roofe (Antonsson 85), Doukara (Wood 81). Subs not used: Silvesrti, Cooper, Vieira, Denton. Booked: Bartley, Phillips (Leeds) Baptiste, Clarke (Preston) Sent-off: Beckford (Preston) Attendance: 21,255 Report from Phil Hay He was Leeds United’s manager the last time the club were on such a roll, sitting pretty at Christmas and looking to January for a crucial shot in the arm. Six years later Garry Monk carries the baton which Grayson dropped on the way to the finishing line.Promotion and the play-offs got away from Grayson in his second full term at Elland Road and the years since then made Leeds’ dithering in the mid-season transfer window of 2011 feel criminally wasteful. No coach since him has had a better chance, or a better chance than that which is falling to Monk now. A brilliant victory over Grayson’s Preston North End, in a style reminiscent of the punch-for-punch football employed by the 47-year-old at the height of his time with United, was the surest sign yet that Leeds have the capacity to do what Grayson’s squad couldn’t and finish inside the top six. The club careered past 40 points at Deepdale yesterday, with half of the Championship season to play. Four goals in 14 first-half minutes made the fixture one of the picks of the Boxing Day schedule and when the mayhem subsided, Leeds found themselves 3-1 to the good with almost an hour to play. They have rarely had it so quick or so easy this season, even though the game threatened to finish five a piece. Monk let his players off the leash with spectacular results and Pablo Hernandez wrapped up a 4-1 win two minutes from the end of normal time. Preston’s Christmas ended with another red card for Jermaine Beckford. A 17th-minute header from Kemar Roofe, the goal which relieved Deepdale of all caution, began a flood of drama in which Preston came off worst. Hadi Sacko gave United a 2-0 lead before Marnick Vermijl perked Deepdale up briefly by battering a shot through the hand of Rob Green but Souleymane Doukara’s bundled finish provided ample breathing space, despite the feeling that both teams were in the mood to score and concede at will. As Monk watched his strategy pay off perfectly, Grayson ripped his up.From one coach to another, United’s former boss can tell the current incumbent that a strong league position at Christmas is a guarantee of nothing but Monk has more points after 23 games than Grayson did in 2010. Monk’s squad are extremely close to the average of two points a fixture which traditionally makes promotion possible. If the Championship was wondering whether Leeds might start dropping off, yesterday’s scoreline was a compelling show of strength, achieved once again with a below-full-strength line-up.Their last visit to Preston famously ended in tears as Steve Evans accepted the inevitability of the end of his reign as head coach.


Pablo Hernandez comes back from injury to score United’s fourth

In amongst the frivolity of the final day of last season, including the appearance of a surfboard in the away end, there was no hint of the vision or direction which Leeds have found with Monk.The club have travelled some distance in seven months and far enough to have forgotten the confusion and indecision of May.The humiliation yesterday was felt by Grayson and Beckford who, having just returned from a suspension incurred for a punch-up with team-mate Eoin Doyle earlier this month, was dismissed again after three minutes on the pitch as a substitute, for a sly kick at Kyle Bartley’s head.Beckford is prone to doing favours to his former club and he left Preston to play out the last 20 minutes with 10 men and no remaining hope. Another apology might be winging its way to North End’s official website soon.The most remarkable aspect of Leeds’ form and a sequence of eight wins from 10 league games is that Monk has barely had the luxury of an entire squad to work with. There was no Charlie Taylor yesterday – left behind with the Achilles injury suffered by him against Brentford before Christmas – and Chris Wood sat among the substitutes, a precautionary measure after his hamstring strain. Neither issue made any difference once Roofe drew first blood on 17 minutes.The pace of the game was intense from the start and the game itself was ragged because of it but Leeds had settled steadily before Roofe found the net from a yard out with a chance he couldn’t miss.The forward was perfectly placed to beat Chris Maxwell after Pontus Jansson looped Stuart Dallas’ free-kick over the flat-footed goalkeeper. Roofe did the rest with a point-blank header.It took six more minutes for Sacko to extend United’s advantage further with a more deadly finish, sprinting onto Roofe’s through ball, leaving Grayson’s defence trailing behind him and beating Maxwell with a rising finish which gave the goalkeeper no chance. Preston were in danger of caving in but on 26 minutes with the match wide open, Marnick Vermijl briefly pricked Leeds’ bubble with a rapid reply. Simon Makienok, Preston’s imposing centre-forward, knocked down a cross towards the penalty spot and Vermijl hit the bouncing ball with a fierce strike which Green got a hand to but couldn’t parry.The quick reply might have turned the tide had Maxwell not failed to cope with Doukara’s shot on the half-hour.The forward broke in from the left and smashed a low effort straight at Maxwell, who appeared to have blocked it but watched helplessly as it rebounded off his legs and over the line.A desperate attempt to hack it clear did not fool assistant Shaun Hudson who flagged for a goal. It was one cut too many for Grayson’s players and their attempt to throw caution to the wind in the second half fell foul of a brilliant save by Green and some rank indiscipline from Beckford.Green dropped down to knock away two stabbed attempts from Alan Browne after Makienok caused more trouble inside the six yard box on 59 minutes and Preston did not come closer to a second goal.Grayson looked for it by sending on Beckford in the 66th minute but having earned rapturous applause from Leeds’ support when he took to the field, he received more again after he flicked a boot at Bartley, caught the centre-back and received a straight red card from referee Jeremy Simpson.Beckford lost the plot, Simpson had lost it some time earlier and Grayson knew defeat was nigh even before Hernandez, making his first appearance since early November, kept his head and slotted home on 88 minutes with Preston buckling.There is absolutely no sign of Leeds doing the same. Garry Monk post Preston : “Overall it was a good performance, to come to Deepdale was always going to be difficult, we had to win physical battles before we could earn the right to play our football. “The only disappointment was their goal, we lost concentration once and that lead to the goal and we regained the two goal cushion before half time. “All four goals were excellent and really good finishes, we could have been even more ruthless and scored a few more, but overall it is a very good three points. “Rob Green made a fantastic save in the second half and that is as good as scoring a goal, everyone contributed and that is important with a good team performance. “Some of the lads who missed out on the squad today were very unlucky and the lads on the bench are ready to come on and contribute, it is very much a collective effort. “Charlie Taylor was missing with an achilles injury, so we had to manage the squad today. “Kyle Bartley will be fine for the Aston Villa game, he had a little clash of heads with Luke Ayling but it was nothing serious. “He was feeling a little groggy and had a bit of treatment at the end of the game, but it was nothing more than that. “We have to remember that despite the win, are only halfway through the season, we still have another half of the season to go and anything can happen.” Monk also heaped praise on the travelling Leeds United supporters, with over 5,500 making the trip to Lancashire. He said: “It was great to come out and see the whole away end full, our fans were so noisy and in great spirits. “Fans spend a lot of money at this time of year, it is difficult to come and support your club, away games cost a lot of money and we wanted to give them a reward for coming over to support us. “I think the players did the fans justice today, we appreciate our supporters and our fans appreciated us which is always pleasing to see.”

Sat 17th of Dec Leeds United 1 (Bartley 89) Brentford 0 Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor (Berardi 58), Vieira, Phillips (Bridcutt 72), Dallas, Sacko, Roofe, Doukara (Antonsson 79). Subs not used: Silvestri, Cooper, Grimes, Mowatt. Brentford: Bentley, Colin, Bjelland, Dean, Yannaris (McEachran 72), Hogan, Egan, Woods, Sawyers, Vibe (Kaikai 79), Field (Barbet 83). Subs not used: Bonham, Saunders, Hofmann, Kerschbaumer, Kaikai, Barbet. Booked: Bartley (Leeds), Egan (Brentford) Referee: D. Bond Venue: Elland Road Attendance: 25,134 Report from LUFC Kyle Bartley’s last minute header secured Leeds United a crucial three points over Brentford in the Championship, ensuring the Whites will be in the Play-Offs on Christmas Day.


Kyle Bartley celebrates his last minute winner v Brentford after keeping Scott Hogan (who doesn’t want to play with Ireland) quiet all day

Head coach Garry Monk was forced to shuffle his team from Tuesday’s victory over Reading, with Kalvin Phillips returning from suspension to replace the injured Chris Wood. Leeds had a good chance on the 15 minute mark, Kemar Roofe teed up Stuart Dallas to strike in the Brentford penalty box, but he could only fire over the crossbar. Lasse Vibe had the visitors first opportunity of the game a minute later, Romaine Sawyers did well to pick up possession, but Rob Green made an easy save. Brentford again went close soon after, Tom Field put in an excellent cross, but Scott Hogan couldn’t get the better of Green with his diving header. The visitors then had back to back chances, captain Harlee Dean forced Green into action once again with an effort from the edge of the box, before Romaine Sawyers fired over moments later. The Bees then had the ball in the back of the net from a well worked free-kick, Vibe squared to Hogan, but the striker was in an offside position. United had a really good opportunity before the break, Hadi Sacko did well on the flank to set up Roofe and the attacker saw his effort deflect just wide of the post. Half Time: Leeds United 0-0 Brentford In the second half Ryan Woods went close from a free-kick, he saw his effort deflect just wide. Luke Ayling had the best chance of the game to break the deadlock, from a Stuart Dallas corner, the full-back chested before unleashing a powerful half volley, but he could only send it over the crossbar. Dallas then sent Doukara down the left wing before the forward broke into the box, through one-on-one, but he was unable to find the target from a narrow angle. Ayling then had another opportunity, Sacko did brilliantly on the right wing to prevent the ball from going out for a goal-kick, he then teed up Ayling who struck just wide with the outside of his boot. With two minutes remaining Sacko again did well on the flank to break into the penalty area and win Leeds a corner. United took it short and Dallas whipped in a fine cross which was met by the head of Bartley to lift the roof off Elland Road. Brentford almost levelled in the third minute of added time, when John Egan’s hooked effort skimmed the cross-bar, but United held on sparking celebrations on the pitch at the final whistle, with Leeds recording a third win and clean sheet in a row at Elland Road. Full Time: Leeds United 1-0 Brentford Garry Monk : “We never really got going in the game, but defensively we weren’t really threatened which was pleasing. “


Garry Monk managing a team in form

“Overall we looked a bit tired, but that is understandable, we have had a tough period in these last few weeks, we have been battered and bruised. “I felt after the 60 minute mark we really believed and when the goal went in, the roof lifted of the stadium, the atmosphere was tremendous. “If you want to be a good team you have to have that drive and belief in matches that you can go on and get a late winner. “We fight right until the end of every game, which is really important and moments like in the final minutes can be critical for the whole season. “It is good to be where we are in the league at the moment, but everyone and the players need to keep fighting in every minute on the pitch. “We will have a little break now, the players have earned a few days off and it is important for them to rest both physically and mentally. “After that we will be back at the training ground to prepare for the busy festive period and two really important away matches.” Brentford boss Dean Smith felt his side didn’t deserve to lose to late Kyle Bartley goal at Leeds United on Saturday. We are really disappointed as it was a game we didn’t deserve to lose,” said Smith.There wasn’t a lot in the game. I thought we controlled the game for the first hour: we were very good, very organised, and very disciplined. We made a very good team look average. “ “There weren’t many chances in the game and those that there were, up to the Souleyman Doukara chance, were ours. That was the best chance of the game and we probably dropped a bit deeper after that and were a little loose on the ball. However, we didn’t deserve to lose. We went to sleep from a short corner. window._are a few bits and bobs that we can get better at to make sure that won’t happen again. On the whole I am pleased with the performance but disappointed for all of us. “We had a goal chalked off which should have stood: Lasse Vibe has gone through, something we worked with on the training ground, and we are disappointed with that.” A goal lead, with our discipline and organisation, would have made it very difficult for them to open us up. It was tight but he was level.”It would have given the lads a lot of confidence and something to hold onto. The lads have covered a lot of distance this week.”Yoann Barbet has just come on for Tom Field, who had a really good game but was shattered, and he slips. Ryan Woods had to give the corner away and they have taken it quickly. Ryan was still trying to get back into position and he wasn’t facing the ball. John Egan got muscled off the ball and it ended up in the back of the net.” I smell a case of sour grapes!

Tues Dec 13th Phil Hay’s score card for Reading game  Rob Green – At sea on a few occasions but came up with two big saves in the second half, particularly his fingertip stop from Beerens. 6/10


Luke Ayling v Reading

Luke Ayling – Got slightly ragged as the game wore on but his defending was impressive and it allowed Sacko to attack on sight further up the pitch. 8/10 Kyle Bartley - Bartley’s interception in the first half was crucial, coming just before the opening goal, and he goes from strength to strength. 9/10 Pontus Jansson – Not his best performance, although it’s hard to argue with how few chances Reading created. Another clean sheet. 7/10 Charlie Taylor – Won the penalty and is back to his old self, with more direct running and more aggression than he was showing at the start of the season. 8/10 Ronaldo Vieira – Possesses a fantastic engine and looked like he’d go toe-to-toe with Reading all night. Showed the discipline Leeds required. 9/10


Kemar Roofe v Reading

Stuart Dallas – His most effective outing in a while, albeit without looking like a major threat. He followed the script and pressed Reading’s midfield relentlessly. 7/10


Sacko v Reading

Hadi Sacko - One of those matches where Sacko looks like a real find. Blackett was bamboozled by him and his endeavour put Wood’s chance on a plate. 8/10   Kemar Roofe - As lively as he could possibly have been given how much of the ball Reading had and helped the system worked perfectly. 7/10 Souleymane Doukara - His link-up play was excellent in spells and his conversion of the penalty said a lot about his rising confidence. 8/10


Chris Wood celebrating (again) this time v Reading

Chris Wood – Leeds can only hope that his injury isn’t serious. Yet again, on the spot to poach a goal before limping off on the half-hour. 7/10 Substitutes:  Liam Bridcutt (for Wood, 33) - Considering that this was his first outing in months, he lasted the pace incredibly well. Still blocking shots at the death. 7/10   Alex Mowatt (for Roofe, 70) - Didn’t see too much of the ball but Monk’s substitutions allowed United to keep pressing forward. 6/10 Matt Grimes (for Dallas, 82) - He’s taken a lot of criticism this season so credit where it’s due. Asked for the ball constantly and was involved in the move leading to the penalty. 7/10 Subs (not used): Marco Silvestri, Liam Cooper, Gaetano Berardi, Mallik Wilks. Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham) – Started off by giving Leeds everything but let Reading away with some poor fouls in the second half. 6/10. Attendance: 21,242   Garry Monk : “We are very happy with the result, it was important, we talked about bouncing back and showing a reaction, so to do that and get three points is very good.”   “We are at the time of the year, under circumstances we are facing with the current injuries and suspensions, where you need to grind out results.   “Tactically we tweaked a few things, we knew we weren’t going to have as much of the ball, but when we had it we looked the most dangerous team and likely to score.   “Reading had possession where it wouldn’t hurt us, we limited them and every time they came into our half, we worked really hard.   “I can’t remember too many clear cut chances for Reading, so our plan really worked, tonight’s display was full of heart and desire, you could see that.   “In the last 20 minutes, the fans really got behind the team and pushed us over the line again, it is incredible support that we have here.   “The festive period is a time where we know we won’t play the perfect football, we need to be resolute and dig deep for some results and we showed that tonight, and we were the most clinical team, had the best chances and thoroughly deserved the three points.”   United forward and goals-corer Wood had to be withdrawn after 30 minutes and Monk also gave an update on why he had to be substituted.   “Chris felt a tightness in his hamstring and we have to assess that.   “We can’t afford any injuries as it is, because we are already down to the bare bones.   “We won’t know anything for 24 hours, he has been playing very well and has been leading our line very well.”     Tues 13th of Dec Leeds United 2 (Wood 19, Doukara pen 90+1) Reading 0 Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, Vieira, Dallas (Grimes 82), Roofe (Mowatt 69), Sacko, Doukara, Wood (Bridcutt 33). Subs not used: Cooper, Silvestri, Berardi, Wilks. Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Van Den Berg, McShane, Evans (Meite 78), Beerens, McCleary, Samuel (Kermorgant 61), L. Moore, Blackett, Kelly. Subs not used: Cooper, Harriott, Wieser, Watson, S. Moore. Booked: Ayling (Leeds) Referee: G. Eltringham Venue: Elland Road Attendance: 21, 242


Kyle Bartley leads the Whites out to victory and another clean sheet

Chris Wood’s first half strike and a Souleymane Doukara penalty saw Leeds keep up their Play-Off charge at Elland Road. United were boosted with Liam Bridcutt named on the bench following injury and he was joined by youngster Mallik Wilks for his first inclusion in the squad. Leeds made a bright start to the match, Kemar Roofe charged into the Reading penalty area before driving across goal in search of Chris Wood, but Ali Al Habsi made a good interception save. Hadi Sacko then produced an exquisite piece of skill to get into the area before teeing up Roofe, but he could only fire over. Reading had a good chance in the 18th minute, Garath McCleary managed to get past Pontus Jansson into the penalty area before crossing low for Dominic Samuel, but Kyle Bartley was on hand to make a fantastic interception.      Bartley’s heroics in defence were rewarded a minute later when Leeds took the lead. Sacko weaved his way in the Reading penalty area before firing low, his cross, come shot deflected into the path of Wood who smashed the ball into the top right corner.


Players celebrate with The Douk

Stuart Dallas then went close with an effort from distance, however he couldn’t direct his shot on target. Leeds were dealt a blow on the half an hour mark when Wood went down injured with what looked like a hamstring injury. With Leeds down to ten men, Dallas had another chance when he countered up the left flank, but his curling effort from the edge of the box didn’t find the target. With Wood unable to continue, his substitution marked the return of captain Bridcutt from injury.


Liam Bridcutt a player we love to see back in a white shirt

Reading had a chance before the break when Roy Beerens got to the byline, he put it on a plate for Dominic Samuel to head, but the striker missed the ball. Half Time: Leeds United 1-0 Reading Leeds came out of the blocks in the second half, Charlie Taylor put in good cross looking for Sacko, but Al Habi’s intervention denied the winger. Liam Kelly had a rare Reading shot on goal two minutes later, but he was unable to find the target. Roofe and Luke Ayling both had shots from distance, but neither were able to test Al Habsi.


Doukara looks a different player under The Monk and is back enjoying his football

Leeds had a really good chance to extend their lead in the 53rd minute, Sacko did really well to break into the Reading box, before crossing to Souleymane Doukara, but the forward couldn’t make the desired contact with the ball. Two minutes later Sacko was causing trouble again, he put in another fine cross, but it was just out of Doukara’s reach. Jansson then forced Al Habsi into another save, he headed Dallas’ free-kick at goal, but he couldn’t get the better of the Reading stopper. Reading almost capitaised on a mistake from Taylor, substitute Yann Kermorgant pounced on a loose pass before putting Beerens in at goal and he forced Rob Green into a really good stop. The visitors had another chance at a corner, Green making the save to deny Kermorgant’s header on target. Alex Mowatt then forced Al Habsi into action once again, he was teed up by Sacko on the edge of the box, but his low effort was unable to add to Leeds’ tally. United were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute, Taylor did brilliantly to work his way into the Reading box from the left flank before being felled. Doukara stepped up to take the penalty and found the back of the net with a great penalty. Reading almost pulled a goal back late into added time, when substitute Yakou Meite saw his effort cleared off the line by Jansson with the last kick of the game, to secure Leeds back to back victories and clean sheets at Elland Road. Full Time: Leeds United 2-0 Reading

Fri Dec 9th Phil Hay’s marks for Brigton game Rob Green – Nervous from the off, boxed in as Phillips conceded the first penalty and a few good saves could not redeem his overall performance. 5/10 Luke Ayling – The first time in a long time when Ayling has been dragged out of his comfort zone. Jamie Murphy gave him all sorts of problems. 4/10 Kyle Bartley – Harshly penalised for the second spot kick and without being great, he and Jansson did as much as they could on a night when Brighton controlled everything. 5/10 Pontus Jansson - Jansson’s at least helped to keep the score down after the first goal but his reaction upon being subbed, taking his shirt off and heading for the tunnel, was ill-advised. 5/10 Kyle Bartley, left, conceded the second penalty (Photo: PA) Charlie Taylor – The only Leeds player to make a lively start but the red card snuffed that sense of adventure out. 6/10 Ronaldo Vieira – A night where an older head like O’Kane and Bridcutt would have been helpful. Leeds lost their grip in that area early on. 5/10 Kalvin Phillips - Had already given away a couple of poor passes when he received his red card. In fairness, he did on the goalline what anyone would have done. 1/10 Hadi Sacko - There were problems on the right hand side from the start and the dismissal meant he was never really in the contest. 4/10 Kemar Roofe - A potential match-winner but Albion didn’t have to worry about him after Phillips went off. A night to move on from quickly. 5/10 Souleymane Doukara was forced into a different role after the sending off (Photo: PA) Souleymane Doukara – Doukara is no central midfielder and much as he tried his best to some threat, Brighton were all over him. 5/10 Chris Wood – The briefest of chances in the first half and a late header. That was it for him. Brighton’s numerical advantage had an inevitable consequence. 5/10 Substitutes: Matt Grimes (for Sacko, 46) – Tried to give United’s display some direction from a deep role but was always outnumbered. 5/10 Stuart Dallas (for Doukara, 71) – It was asking a lot for him to come on and change the game and that didn’t look like happening. 5/10 Liam Cooper (for Jansson, 89) – A change which seemed as much about Jansson avoiding a second booking as anything else. 5/10 Subs (not used): Marco Silvestri, Gaetano Berardi, Alex Mowatt, Marcus Antonsson. Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire) One penalty he got right, and the red card too, but the second was highly questionable. Leeds still had a chance before that decision. 5/10 Attendance: 28,206 Friday 9th of December Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Murray pen 23, Hemed pen 82) Leeds United 0 Brighton: Stockdale, Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Pocognoli, Knockaert (Skalak 87), Stephens, Norwood, Murphy (March 66), Murray (Hemed 78), Baldock. Subs not used: Maenpaa, Sidwell, Goldson, Hunt. Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson (Cooper 88), Taylor, Vieira, Phillips, Sacko (Grimes 46), Roofe (Mowatt 80), Doukara (Dallas 71), Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, Antonsson, Berardi, Mowatt. Booked: Ayling, Bartley, Jansson (Leeds), Murray (Brighton) Sent Off: Phillips (Leeds) Referee: P. Tierney Venue: American Express Community Stadium Attendance: 28,206 (2,736 Leeds) Report from LUFC A penalty kick in either half from Glenn Murray and Tomer Hemed gave Brighton & Hove Albion a 2-0 victory over Leeds United as Kalvin Phillips saw red. Murphy who won the first free-kick, did so again three minutes later, Norwood’s again delivered, his free-kick this time went beyond everyone and just wide of Rob Green’s post. Leeds were reduced to ten men in the 22nd minute when Phillips was shown a straight red card and Brighton were awarded a penalty. The Leeds midfielder handled on the goal-line to prevent the hosts taking the lead, but he couldn’t prevent Murray from stepping up and converting the resulting penalty. Murray then went close to doubling his goal tally and the Brighton lead, his header at the back post from a corner went just wide. In first half stoppage time Leeds had half a chance to hit back, Hadi Sacko’s shot fell in Chris Wood’s path, but he miss-kicked the ball. The Seagulls then had a really good opportunity to score again through Murray, his effort with the outside of his boot went just over the crossbar. Half Time: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Leeds United Leeds re-grouped with ten men after the break, with Matt Grimes replacing tricky attacker Hadi Sacko. The hosts continued their ascendancy though, Knockaert teed up Murphy to shoot and he forced Green into a good save. Knockaert and Murphy then combined again, with the winger crossing for the latter, but he couldn’t guide his header on target. Brighton had a goal ruled out in the 70th minute, Shane Duffy got on the end of Lewis Dunk’s header, but it was disallowed for offside. United stopper Green then made a good save to deny Duffy who headed on goal from Knockaert’s free-kick. Albion were awarded another penalty eight minutes from time, Kyle Bartley was adjudged to have brought down Dunk and substitute Hemed sent Green the wrong way to ensure Brighton would be heading to the top of the table. United had a chance late on when Chris Wood headed Stuart Dallas’ corner at the back post, but he couldn’t find the target, as Leeds’ dismal recent record against Brighton continued. Full Time: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Leeds United No sour grapes here. We deserved the defeat but the referee was shocking. All the little decisions went against us. Phillips was absolutely stupid for handling on the line. A penalty and a red card resulted. A goal behind at tha stage wasn’t fatal but the red card plus the goal was. Green was poor from the corner again….getting caught under the cross. Bartley’s foul for the penalty was harsh. There are a 100 of them in every game. We rarely get them. Jansson, Bartley and especially Ayling will have better games when only Taylor will come away with any credit from this game for our beleagured defence. Garry Monk : It’s a disappointing defeat, we never allowed ourselves to show our best and true capabilities,”. “A lot of it was from our own downfall and our own mistakes, you can’t afford to do that in any game, especially at a place like Brighton against a good team. “We knew the first 20 minutes would be hard and you have to come though them, they had a few set pieces which we came through, but we were never really able to recover from the red card and the first goal. “Credit to the players for the way they adjusted, our plan was to stay in the game and try and create one situation and take it, but ultimately we are disappointed. “I felt the second penalty was 50/50, sometimes they go for you, sometimes they go against you and unfortunately it went against us. “To come away from a team fighting to be at the top of the league, knowing it was your own downfall and not the play from them is disappointing, I’m frustrated we didn’t do ourselves justice for our travelling fans. “We have a quick turnaround, we have to take the feeling from the loss and use it as motivation. “We need to dust ourselves down, we have to understand what we need to do better and re-focus very quickly for an important game against Reading on Tuesday at Elland Road.”   Sat Dec 3rd United up to 4th  Leeds United 2 (Roofe 68, Wood 90+4) Aston Villa 0 Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, Vieira, Phillips, Sacko, Roofe (Mowatt 80), Doukara (Dallas 73), Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, Antonsson, Grimes, Berardi, Denton. Villa: Gollini, Elphick, Chester, Gestede (Agbonlahor 77), Westwood, Hutton, Gardner (Grealish 67), Amavi, Jedinak, Kodjia, Adomah (Ayew 77). Subs not used: Bacuna, Tshibola, Ayew, Agobonlahor, Cissokho, Sarkic, Grealish. Booked: Phillips, Jansson (Leeds), Jedinak, Ayew (Villa) Referee: P. Bankes Venue: Elland Road Attendance: 32,648 Report from LUFC


Roofe gets his first for Leeds and what a time to get it

Kemar Roofe scored his first Leeds United goal to help Garry Monk’s side defeat Aston Villa 2-0 aroofandvvillat Elland Road. The game got off to an even start, Rob Green was first called into action 11 minutes into the match, Aston Villa won a corner and the Leeds goalkeeper made an easy save from Rudy Gestede’s header. Jonathan Kodjia had an opportunity when the ball fell to him kindly on the edge of the box, but he could only put his effort over the crossbar. Roofe had Leeds’ first chance of the match in the 23rd minute, he did well to break into the Aston Villa penalty area from the left wing, but could only find the side netting with his effort.


Leeds and Villa pay tribute to their Brazilian colleagues Chapocoense who sadly died in the plane disaster in Colombia

Pontus Jansson then went close from a Leeds corner, Charlie Taylor whipped in a fine cross at the set-piece, but the Sweden international could only head over the crossbar. Leeds had another opportunity six minutes from the interval at another set piece, the ball had come out of the box to Souleymane Doukara who dinked the ball into the area and Kyle Bartley headed just wide of the Villa goal. Half Time: Leeds United 0-0 Aston Villa The visitors came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, it took striker Kodjia less than 20 seconds to fire at goal from range, but he couldn’t find the target. Albert Adomah then came closest to breaking the deadlock, he charged his way through the Leeds defence to go through on goal, but Green earnt his money with a great save to deny the forward.


Phillips starting to become a ‘player’ for Leeds

A minute later Ashley Westwood found space on the edge of the box, he fired at goal and once again Green made another fine stop to keep the scored level. United took the lead in the 68th minute, Doukara put in a brilliant cross from the left wing and Roofe beat Aston Villa goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini to the ball and headed home in front of the Kop, to break his duck.


Wood slides in to finish Sakho’s great work

In the first minute of added time Chris Wood had a chance to seal it, he was picked out at the back post by Taylor, before controlling with his chest and firing at goal from a narrow angle, but he was denied by Gollini. Leeds then wrapped up the points with virtually the last kick of the game, Hadi Sacko sped down the field before going through on goal, he shot and the ball trickled under Gollini who got something to the ball and Wood smashed home to seal the victory and move Leeds up to fourth spot in the Championship. This was a terrific result. Green’s save late in the second half was decisive and Roofe’s first goal for United couldn’t have come at a better time. We had to dig in for a period.  After we scored we were controlled and dominant. Remember, we have two kids in midfield in Phillips and Vieira and they are growing game by game. Bridcutt, Hernandez and O’Kane all have to come back. This team has a real chance of promotion and if we strengthen in January why not dare to dream ? Garry Monk : “It is a difficult one to assess because we have had a very tough week,” said Monk. “I don’t think we played that well and we only really started to play better after our first goal. “We were doing things that we don’t normally do, we weren’t using the ball well enough and we were causing ourselves problems.