In all honesty, the current 2019/20 campaign for Leeds United fans has been one that they can look back on and be happy with. OK, it’s still nine games shy of its completion thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and there is that to take into consideration but the Whites do sit on top of the Sky Bet Championship table and are a comfortable seven points clear of the play-off places.
It is the best position to be in bearing in mind the swirling uncertainty that is around at the moment. They are looking down at others needing to play catch-up. It also helps that of the nine teams that they still have to play only Fulham are in the top-six.
Yes, it’s a fantastic point to be at but it doesn’t mean that it has all been plain sailing for the Whites to get here. There have been errors, hiccups and mistakes even in this campaign and here are three of those laid bare.
1. Not using Eddie Nketiah to his fullest potential: Look, it’s admirable the job that Patrick Bamford has done across this season leading the line as Leeds United’s lone man up-front, it is. It is also admirable the loyalty that Marcelo Bielsa has shown him, even more so through lean patches of form.
However, you can’t help but think that Leeds United made a mistake in not using Nketiah in a better way and to his strengths. In total, Nketiah featured in 19 games for the Whites and scored five goals in all competitions – 17 games and three goals in the league.
The 20-year-old striker went from being a boy at Arsenal and grew in stature at Elland Road before returning to The Emirates a man. five Premier League games under his belt now and a goal to boot – a missed opportunity for the Whites?
2. Kiko Casilla and the racial insulting of Jonathon Leko: In a campaign where the Whites have shone and shimmered, Casilla’s slur of Leko is a definite dark mistake in a season of promise. Accused of it directly after the game against Charlton, it took five months to sort out.
After a lengthy process, where the due course was allowed to run its course, an independent commission found it likely that he had said what he’d been accused of and the result of that was an FA-imposed eight-game ban – two extra added due to aggravating reasons.
Of course, it was something that was totally beyond the control of the club as it happened during the game. However, you can’t shake that lurking doubt that it was a mistake by Casilla insofar as it places Leeds’ promotion hopes in the hands of relatively untried youngster Ilhan Meslier.
3. That Cardiff game at Elland Road: What’s to say other than this game was a nightmare of a display for Leeds United. Forget about three points thrown away, this was worse than that. The Whites had taken Cardiff City to the cleaners in a typically dominant Bielsa first-half display.
They were 2-0 up after just eight minutes thanks to goals from Helder Costa (6′) and Patrick Bamford (8′) and it got better early in the second half when Bamford (52′) netted the second of his goals for the day. Three goal advantage, three points gained…surely?
Then the old Leeds United turned up. First Lee Tomlin (60′) netted and was followed by a second Bluebird’s goal for Sean Morrison (82′) with the goalscorer being red-carded two minutes later. 3-2, six minutes left, surely still three points? Nope, thanks to Robert Glatzel (88′), 10-man Cardiff rescued an unlikely point in a topsy-turvy game. It ended a run of seven straight wins and was the lead-in to a run that included six losses.