Football League World
·21 September 2023
Football League World
·21 September 2023
Leeds United claimed their fourth draw of the season in just seven games thanks to a 0-0 draw against Hull City at the MKM Stadium.
Goalkeeper Ryan Allsop made his debut for Hull and pulled off three crucial first-half saves. The best of which was his first when he saved smartly from Georginio Rutter in a one-on-one and then followed that up by stopping two efforts from Crysencio Summerville.
Leeds had largely been in control of the game until centre-back Joe Rodon was sent off on the hour mark for a second bookable offence, which then had Daniel Farke's side on the back foot.
Adama Traore should have won it for Hull with only a minute left on the clock, but he struck the right-hand post after Aaron Connolly got in behind the away defence and squared the ball for the winger, with the net gaping.
The Tigers remain sixth in the table after extending their unbeaten run to six games, but Leeds are now five without defeat and are two points off the play-off places in ninth.
The Whites had won their previous two away games: a 3-0 win over Millwall, and a 4-3 win away to high-flying Ipswich Town. They have now kept three clean sheets in a row, though.
Following an injury sustained by Willy Gnonto early on in the game, Summerville was brought into the action and was hugely impressive throughout. The Dutchman was a constant threat and combined well with Leeds' other forwards.
Following Luis Sinisterra's departure, Leeds were left with Summerville, Gnonto, Jaidon Anthony, Dan James, and Ian Poveda as their primary options to fill the wide berths. It begged the question of who would be Leeds' best winger after the Colombian moved on.
Summerville has so far proved he is deserving of that title. James was the least effective of the wingers on the night and should be more of an impact sub going forwards, where he has already shown to be more impactful in the recent win over Millwall. Summerville should be paired with one of Anthony or Gnonto for the most part this season.
Sam Byram joined the frame late on, and instantly looked like the club's most accomplished and assured full-back on the night, with both Luke Ayling and Jamie Shackleton struggling in one way or another.
Shackleton played well at left-back against Sheffield Wednesday but didn't look at all comfortable in the Hull clash. He was particularly problematic in terms of progressing the ball and playing out from the back. Ayling, on the other hand, was given a tough time by Jaden Philogene, particularly when the game became more stretched.
Ayling struggling in defensive terms yet again was not for the first time this season in Leeds' league fixtures. Byram has been the best-performing full-back so far but is often held back by persistent injuries, and Leeds need him to occupy at least one of the two spots at full-back whilst Djed Spence remained injured, because the depth in this area is lacking in quality.
Farke has started Gray in every game in league and cup so far, and the 17-year-old played the full match in East Yorkshire, despite looking fatigued late on. He's a player who needs to be managed and rotated correctly given his age, but hasn't been so far.
Gray has been relied on far too heavily by the German, and he should consider dropping him to give him a well-deserved rest. Leeds have other options now with the likes of Glen Kamara and Ilia Gruev improving their depth in midfield, meaning there is no excuse to be overusing Gray anymore.
He's a superb youngster with a very high ceiling but at risk of burnout already. It's his first full season as a professional and Kamara now needs a chance to play alongside Ampadu. Gray was not at his best from the first minute against Hull, struggling to find a rhythm - it was probably his worst performance so far, but he can hardly be blamed when he's only just experiencing first-team football for the first time.
At the moment, Leeds are creating chances and forming partnerships in the attacking third, but not everything is perfectly coherent as a unit. The Rutter and Joel Piroe partnership is developing by the game, but there still feels like an issue in the consistency of chance creation.
The play feels a bit too individualistic, as opposed to a team who have a few go-to patterns of play or signature sequences between players. That should come with time and coaching under Farke, but at the present moment, it is more likely a moment of magic unlocks a door rather than a repeatable action that's been worked on in training.
This was also true against Millwall despite the side scoring three times, with Leeds' general quality in attacking individuals being that bit better than most of the rest of the division. They currently look like a side who are better set up to play more transitionally to hit their opposition on the counter, as opposed to dominating against a packed defence.
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