Leeds United 2 Cardiff City 2 – Positive in attack; naive in defence. A real game of two halves with Leeds naive in defence in the first half and then dominating the second half. As Farke said after the match it was a scandal how Leeds United did not win that match.
It feels like a cautious start to the new season for Leeds. Leeds United face foes from the past like Cardiff City FC. It may be the same old players like Ayling it feels like a new Leeds. A contingent of players new to Leeds last season have been loaned out as they seek top league status. But so far we have only seen one significant signing in Ampadu. The first match of the season sees Leeds start without a recognised striker and a young side.
In the first ten minutes the players are strong with Cardiff on the receiving end of the tackles. The passing is mostly fluent, quick and forward. The pressing is high and forcing Cardiff to hoof forward. The possession is with Leeds dominant
The positivity from the young players like Gray, Gnonto and Summerville is promising for how Leeds are going to create chances for the forwards The joy in watching 17 year old Gray dance through a series of players.
Cardiff play like Nottingham Forest last season defend in numbers and then counter attack. Leeds leave their right side open – Ayling too forward – and take advantage with Cardiff winning the first goal. It is a poor goal and against the run of play.
The main concern in the first half is that, without a striker, it took Leeds over half an hour before they had a shot on target. When Cardiff went 2-0 up – again Ayling leaving his man unmarked – it had that sense of Leeds playing a positive Bielsa-style of football but leaving themselves open at the back.
The first half ends with Leeds having a strong claim for a penalty but ending with boos from the crowd as a lack of a striker and naive defending undermine dominant possession.
Leeds started the second half camped around the Cardiff penalty box. The higher level of fitness in the team compared to last season is evident.
Swapping Gray for Summerville on the corner in the first couple of minutes saw a dangerous corner headed into the goal by Cooper. Alas, he landed badly and us stretchered off- Leeds started their second half with two substituted defenders.
The amount of times Leeds had the ball in the box yet could not get the ball in the net is frustrating. Leeds managed to score but Ayling was offside. Gnonto is the player we bought marauding through the defence and taking shots himself. Summerville imposed himself on the match taking on the defenders and looking to score.
By the end of the match the Leeds fans mocked the Cardiff City fans by singing “Leeds are falling apart again” – a fitting end.
Man of the match: Archie Gray