Yesterday Leeds United lost 2-1 to a Wigan side battling relegation and a side reduced to 10 men after an early sending off of defender Cedric Kipre.
A team as rampant as Leeds United have been, buoyed by a man advantage, should have been able to steamroller over a side like WIgan, especially a side with a man deficit for the larger part of the game.
That was the case, on paper and in the telemetric feedback, but it wasn’t the case on the pitch. Wigan’s rearguard was like the siege mentality of the Middle Ages when attacking parties looked to capture castles.
Wigan allowed Leeds United to pour onto them, they set their defences accordingly and sank into a war of attrition. Whilst the Whites probed for weaknesses, a desperate Wigan simply sat back solidly and resisted. When they could break out, they used that brief respite to sally forth.
That brief counter-punch skirmishing brought the Latics two goals, two well-taken goals it must be said. It was that brief resistance in the Elland Road onslaught that won them the game, and left Leeds’ siege of the Wigan goal fruitless.
Don’t kid yourself either, Wigan deserved their victory and it WAS a siege from which Leeds came out with lots of dominant output but no luck. Here’s some figures from the game:
- Possession – 76.8%
- Total Passes – 517 to 162
- Accurate Passes – 447 to 87
- Key Passes (leading to chances) – 30 to 6
- Shots (on target) – 36 (10) to 8 (2)
- Crosses – 59 to 11
- Corners – 15 to 2
Listen, you can have as much of the ball, do everything with it and win every key battle on the pitch. The simple side of this for Leeds United, and perhaps the most bitter to swallow for their fans, was that the Whites were poor in their execution of their play.
When passes needed to be made, those vital passes, they often were too short, too intricate or too overplayed. They say that necessity is the mother on invention. Well, necessity was in great demand yet it was orphaned over a total lack of invention.
That was Leeds’ downfall, a lack of invention. You find yourself with 59 crosses, 15 corners and 36 shots, you’d expect at least something out of that lot. Yes, there were chances, shots that needed saving ad near misses where an extra few inches of leg would have brought a goal.
Yet, in the cold, harsh light of day it all boils down to this; Leeds United simply weren’t good enough to break down a determined Wigan side. Because of that, they deserved to take nothing from this important game.