After "Missed Chances"
After the disappointment against Sunderland, we really wanted to bounce back with a win, but we were denied by a late goal against Everton. When we played a Southampton team that were looking to qualify for Europe, we put our best foot forward and a brace from Joel Pohjanpalo gave us the 3 points in a game we largely maintained control of. Next up, Burnley put up more of a fight than I expected, considering they were just below us in the league table, and we had done well against better teams. A goal from outsider Jack Barmby, and a hat-trick from Joel Pojanpalo put us through with the win. Then we lost in a rather disappointing manner against Crystal Palace, with the late sub Andy Carroll providing out only consolation. For the last game before we get on being a rather dull affair against Bournemouth in which Joel Pohjanpalo scored on what seemed to be the only goal-scoring chance of the game.
We picked up some much needed wins during that run, and we currently find ourselves sitting in 14th, though with only 4 points separating us from 18th, it is still possible for us to finish anywhere in the table at this point, so we will have to struggle tooth and nail to stay up against some rather rough upcoming opposition.
League Game 35 - 4/20/18
West Brom have officially been relegated as of the game before this one, so they might play like a team that has already been defeated. Regardless of that, we will go in with a strong intent, and I don't feel that we will have any trouble winning today. Jack Barmby finds himself in the team today, to replace an out of form Mikkel Duelund. Nampalys Mendy also finds himself in the team to replace Liam Bridcutt, as he has been asking for some first team action so I am going to give it to him. Finally, Liam Cooper has finally forced his way onto the team with some rather excellent performances off of the bench. He replaces Giuseppe Belusci.
Overall the game went as I expected it to, we had the most of possession and the majority of shots on goal belonged to us. Jack Barmby affirmed his place in the starting 11 with his goal right at the start of the game. We are that much closer to securing our survival after securing these 3 points, and are only 3 more points away from doing so.
League Game 36 - 4/29/18
Given the fact that we have a very polarizing record against top-5 teams, in that we are either annihilated or we perform exceptionally well: I really didn't want to walk into this game against Chelsea with any real expectation. So I really just told the team to play as they had been doing, used the same players as in the previous game, and just gave it a whirl.
Words don't even begin to describe the elation I felt at the full-time whistle. We went ahead early thanks to an own goal from the first cross of ours into their box. They equalized right at the end of the first half, but I was still confident and encouraging of the boys, as they had held pretty even with Chelsea the entire half. From the start of the second half, it only took the pariah, Liam Cooper, 8 minutes to score a headed masterpiece off of a cross. Joel Pohjanpalo, the goal-scoring machine, score 3 minutes later to put us 3-1 up. They scored their second a mere 4 minutes later, which had me a bit worried that the game might end in a draw, but Joel Pohjanpalo eased those fears in the 78th minute when he scored his second, sending us up 4-2 and ensuring our victory against the champions of only a few years ago.
With this victory, we have secured survival in the Premier League, and are one step closer to Making Leeds Great Again.
League Game 37 - 5/5/18
Unlike Chelsea, Manchester City are capable of winning the title this year. Tied for points with Arsenal, they simply need a good result against us to stay in the running. We have made five changes; Liam Bridcutt replaces a jaded Nampalys Mendy, and Alex Mowatt replaces Leroy Fer in the midfield, Giuseppe Belusci replaces Liam Cooper, and Gaetano Berardi replaces Luke Ayling in the defence, and Benoit Costil replaces an Injured Marco Silvestri. While a good result would be great here, it isn't necessary and would only allow us a better table position in the long run.
Yikes. I didn't think that the game would get this bad, but when the other team is coming at you with a front 3 of Antoine Griezmann, Sergio Aguero, and Gabriel Jesus then there isn't much you can do. This is a hard result to take in, just as any time you are absolutely dominated is. We will take our failings from today and work on them, as there were some key areas that I noticed us under-performing, especially in midfield.
League Game 38 - 5/13/18
As this game against Watford was the last game of the season, I wanted us to end on a good note so I encouraged an attacking mentality here. No changes were made to the starting 11 from the Manchester City game, as I wanted to give them a chance to redeem themselves.
This game, simply put, was dreadfully boring in the first half. Watford took the lead from a rather unfortunate own-goal by Gaetano Berardi, and nothing else happened for the remainder of the half. The second half was much more exciting, as Watford didn't really do anything for the entire half, allowing Joel Pohjanpalo to run wild and score a hat-trick. They poured salt on their own wounds by scoring an own-goal in the 84th minute, and then grabbed further consolation 2 minutes later, but the damage had already been done and we left victorious.
Relegation Favorites Leeds United Earn Mid-table Finish During First Season Back in the Premier League
What started out as what seemed to be a difficult, hard-to-watch slug-fest between us and bigger, better teams turned out to be a much more even affair. Our high-finish can very much be attributed to the same sort of late-season form that saw us win the Championship last season. We ended the season 12-10-16, which for a newly promoted team's first season back in over 10 years, is not a bad record. Of course, next season we will strive for a positive record, which I don't think will be all too hard. We'll only need to win 4 of the games that we either drew or lost, and I feel there were just as many or more games that we could have won during the season but just didn't. In order to make this possible, we will need to utilize the funds provided to us by the board to bring in more quality players to further work on bridging the gap between ourselves and the more mid-table sides. I think this is very doable, and when next you read, it will for the first several games of the season.
FM fanatic and football pundit