West Brom 1 vs Leeds United 0. After a long run that saw Leeds United make it to third place, with back to back defeats, they are now losing their way. Lacking the spark that saw them create goals they now look they have run out of ideas.
After a disappointing defeat away at Preston North End, Leeds United had a point to prove against West Brom. Three in fact. After their mauling of Ipswich Town it was a below par performance against Preston. Leeds lacked the same level of determination and paid the price in the second half when Preston rattled them enough to cause Meslier to be sent off. Darlow, the reserve keeper, had a rude awakening with Leeds conceding a second goal in the same way as the first.
This has been a difficult few matches for Farke as his team, despite resisting rotation, has lacked consistency in their results. The outcome is that Leeds had now conceded the third position to Southampton with the gap to Ipswich Town in second over the Christmas period not closed. Farke had made his most significant change for a while against West Brom with Gray, James and Kamara dropped to the bench – all three have been key players for Leeds’ successes. This was a rare start for Gruev and Gnonto to show they are worthy of a first team place. With Meslier suspended and Struijk injured this was overall a different team from what we have seen all season but the expectations remain the same. Finally, it is good news to see Byram and Cooper back from injury.
Leeds needed to start positively and did with both Piroe and Summerville searching for that early goal. Leeds sought to manage the game and work the ball to the byline and the occasional lob. Ultimately, Leeds were threatening but lacked a clinical finish.
More pressure from Leeds saw Byram score but was clearly off side. But West Brom found their groove down the Leeds left side, with Byram running forward and Cooper out of sight. This eventually paid off for West Brom with the only goal in the first half. West Brom took their chance causing chaos in the Leeds box and scoring.
West Brom could have had a couple of goals but for Cooper then Spence clearing the line. Leeds best chance came from a ball over the top to Gnonto who had an arm around him but the referee ignored it. The referee continued to ignore refereeing the game as he left a fouled Summerville on the ground for a full minute.
The start of the second half was characterised by serial corners for West Brom but little from the Leeds attack. Farke, for a change, opted for an early change with substitutes James, Bamford and Anthony all involved in an immediate chance on goal. Whilst Leeds finally got back in to the match with more urgency, a disciplined West Brom defence smothered Leeds ability to find their attackers.
Not a great night for Leeds who are losing their way. They were blunt in attack, slow in pace and lacking creativity to break down West Brom. Darlow didn’t looked convincing in corners Georginio struggled, easily knocked over and heavy touches losing the ball. Bamford was the nearly man, usually offside and never where the crosses land. Summerville was all effort and little reward. Ampadu was busy with Gruev in the middle but Leeds missed the dominance of Kamara.
Man of the match: Ampadu who kept trying to create the Leeds attacks.