After "FA Cup Again"
Coming off our victory against Birmingham, we were away at Huddersfield Town, a team with a similar table position to ours. This was I game that I considered winnable, and we went into it with a victor's mindset, which proved to be our undoing. We lost 1-3 in what I consider a worse loss than the one we suffered against Arsenal. This game mattered in terms of our relegation battle, and we were in a better position against Huddersfield if we were to win. We went from defeat at Huddersfield, to playing West Ham in Elland Road. This was another game I considered winnable, against 10th placed West Ham I felt we could make a showing of ourselves and come away from it with a point at the least. It was an absolute drubbing. It should be mentioned that Andy Carroll started both games, performing so poorly that I even pulled him out right at the half in the West Ham game. Hopefully he can earn his way back into the team, otherwise it might turn out to have been a mistake bringing him in.
In other news, the board of Leeds United have announced the purchase of Elland Road. With ownership of the ground, Leeds United now have full control of match-day revenue, as well as potential expansion, should the club feel it is necessary.
FA Cup 4th Round - 1/27/18
Liverpool will be a tough team to beat, and our record against them doesn't exactly give us hope of victory. We have several changes to make going into this game. Aron Johannsson has replaced an out-of-form Joel Pohjanpalo up front, and with suspensions in both our midfield and defense, there has been some rotation. Liam Bridcutt is serving the last game of his suspension, and so Ronaldo Vieira will drop into the holding midfielder role, with Diego Poyet taking over for Vieira a little higher up in midfield. In the defense, Dedrick Boyata makes a rare appearance as he replaces a suspended Giuseppe Belusci.
I thought we were going to have to do a replay of this game to be honest. After Adam Lalana failed to score in the 27th, the game was pretty even from then on. Our defense was solid, as was theirs. We had the edge in possession the entire game, and we stayed even with them in total shots the whole game. When Pontus Jansson scored with a towering header off of a corner I was elated. That put us in the lead of Liverpool with 10 minutes plus extra time to go. We held on, and the game was ours. We have consistently performed well in this competition since I took over, and I mean to win it before too long.
War Of The Roses
With our return to the Premier League, a rivalry that had been fading away is now renewed. The rivalry between Leeds United and Manchester United is one that has existed since the inception of Leeds City, the defunct predecessor to Leeds United, in 1904. The First meeting between these two clubs was in 1906, and Leeds City won 0-3 away at Manchester. Manchester United would then beat Leeds City in the return fixture at Elland road in the same year. That would be the end of the Rivalry for Leeds City, as Manchester United were promoted to the First Division, and Leeds City was forcibly disbanded in 1919 due to financial issues during The Great War. Their disbandment led to the birth of Leeds United, who took the place of the Leeds City reserves team in the Midland League. Leeds United were voted into the Football League in 1920, and saw promotion to the First Division in 1924. They were never able to stay up in the First Division for more than a couple of seasons in the time leading up to World War 2, though their rivalry with Manchester United was renewed. Manchester United had the better end of this early period of rivalry, as they won the majority of the fixtures in this period, though Leeds United were the first of the two teams to achieve the double over the other by winning both the home and away fixtures in the 1928-29 season. Manchester United didn't achieve this until the 1946-47 season.
During the second half of the 20th century, the rivalry grew into one that was generally unrivaled in the football world. Manchester United grew to become one of the more successful clubs in England, while Leeds United followed with their own success. When Don Revie Became Manager of Leeds United in 1961, we would bring the greatest period of success that Leeds United had ever seen. His counter part at Manchester United was Matt Busby, who brought success to Manchester United and built the team known as the Busby Babes. There was similar success throughout the years of the Revie-Busby duel, with Manchester united winning the title in the 1966-67 season, and Leeds United winning it in the 1968-69 Season. Busby retired at the end of that season, but Manchester United continued to find success. Leeds United won another title in the 1973-74 season. In 1975, Leeds United played and lost to Bayern Munich in the final of the European Cup, a predecessor to the UEFA Champions League. After that, Leeds United dropped out of the spotlight, even being relegated to the second division in 1982.
Leeds United returned to the First Division with a renewed vigor under the management of Howard Wilkinson in 1990. Every time Leeds United and Manchester United met during the final few seasons of the First Division, the game ended in a draw. Leeds United won the last iteration of the First division in the 1991-92 season. Eric Cantona was a leading force being this title win, and he was promptly sold to Manchester United at the end of the season, shocking all fans. Then the Premier League was introduced. During the first decade of the Premier League, Manchester United found success in the form of multiple league titles, while Leeds United remained a top-5 team but never won another title. The 2003-04 season saw Leeds United relegated after trouble both on the pitch and financially.
Manchester United and Leeds United have met only two times before this season, once in 2010 during an FA Cup 3rd round game that saw Leeds United win 0-1 at Old Trafford, and once in 2011 during an EFL 3rd round game that Manchester United won 0-3 at Elland Road. This season brought with it a renewed rivalry, and one that I hope to come out on top of. We already lost 3-0 at Old Trafford earlier this season, and the boys are raring to get them back in the return fixture here at Elland Road.
League Game 27 - 2/2/18
This game important for us in more ways than one. We have just beaten Liverpool in the FA Cup, thus proving our capability of beating a top-5 team. Now we need to do one over our biggest rivals. Our team returns to normal, with Joel Pohjanpalo returning as our forward, Liam Bridcutt returning to the midfield, as Ronaldo Vieira pushed back up and resumes his role from Diego Poyet, and Giuseppe Belusci retakes his place in the defense from Dedrick Boyata.
The result of this game has us absolutely elated. Not only did we do one over the red devils at Elland Road, but this result also sees us climb just above relegation. The goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan just before the half was disheartening, but the boys came back from the dressing-room filled with a lust for revenge and Pohjanpalo scored right out of the gates. The Sakho scored another 10 minutes later. We were flying high, and the red card to Lichsteiner only sealed their fate.
From this point, we are actively fighting on two fronts: we are seeking further success in the FA Cup against our 5th round opponents Sunderland AFC, and we are battling relegation in the Premier League. We are already exceeding expectations in the FA Cup, so it wouldn't be too much of a detriment to lose, though I feel we are certainly capable of winning against Sunderland given our victory over Liverpool. In the Premier League, we are in a 6-way battle to avoid relegation, and dropping any points would be detrimental to our campaign against relegation. We must batten down the hatches and hold firm if we are to be successful.
FM fanatic and football pundit