|Reading 1 v 0 Leeds United|
Saturday, 1st April 2017 Kick-off 17:30
Leeds United: Post-Match Analysis as Kermorgant Howitzer Hands Reading Victory
Saturday, 1st Apr 2017 21:57 by @LucasMonk_
In the wake of Leeds United's vexatious defeat at the hands of Reading in a truculent encounter at the Madejski Stadium, Lucas Monk casts a reluctant eye over the events that arose in an attempt to identify the proximate causes of United's downfall.
A solitary goal from Reading's 35-year old nomadic French forward Yann Kermorgant in the 21st minute of a fiery encounter chock-full of controversy proved enough to condemn Garry Monk's side to a pernicious defeat.
In consequence, Reading have now usurped United and have risen into fourth place within the league standings, but to whom and to what exactly, can the blame for the occurrence of this defeat be attributed?
An Impotent Offensive Line
The front four who were allocated the onerous task of breaching the Reading rearguard were Hadi Sacko, Pablo Hernandez, Alfonso Pedraza, and Chris Wood, who himself was sent home in a precautionary act from international duty with New Zealand.
The worst performer of the quartet, statistically and perhaps surprisingly, was Chris Wood. In spite of the striking virtuoso enjoying the most bounteous goal scoring season of his career, he attained a slipshod statistical match rating of 5.9 (out of 10). However, I would profess that although he was marked into silence on this particular occasion, he can only make use of the service that he is provided by his teammates. In this instance, he touched the ball a mere 26 times, while Yann Kermorgant, Reading's talisman on the day, enjoyed 49 touches.
In addition, Wood failed to win a single aerial duel in the entirety of the match, whereas Kermorgant won five. Put simply, the supply to Wood was of dour quality and was heedless throughout. Thus, one must note that United's attacking quartet, as a collective, were below-par; their average rating as a group was 6.25, in stark contrast to Reading's Kermorgant, McCleary, Swift, and Beerens amassing a total average of 7.3.
Though Reading enjoyed 58% of the total ball possession, United enjoyed substantial quantities within their opponent's half, particularly in the second period. But in lieu of manufacturing a clear-cut chance of any kind, the Whites appeared utterly bereft of attacking enterprise, and they could only muster up a deluge of impetuous long balls that only served to frustrate an expectant contingent of travelling supporters.
As a mere pass completion rate of 71% indicates, United were perfunctory in possession, and their inability to conjure up a clear-cut goal scoring opportunity is exemplified by the reality that Ali Al-Habsi in the home net had little to do throughout the game's duration. While Reading favoured methodical and intricate passing covering short distances as they sought to establish a hegemony of ball possession, Leeds resorted to crosses from deep, to no avail.
Another Showing of Profligacy from Hadi Sacko
The fleet-footed Frenchman of 23 years is presently contracted to United on a loan basis from Sporting Club De Portugal, and while United impresario Garry Monk possesses the option to make his stay one of permanence, his recent performances will have done little to impress the managerial staff at Elland Road. Blessed with a consummate style of dribbling, Sacko has a propensity to surge past hapless defenders into advanced attacking positions prior to delivering an aimless cross, or retreating to his original position before attempting to hoodwink the same defender once more. The outcome of the latter approach is the typically a relinquishment of possession.
Throughout his last ten appearances in the fabled white of Leeds United, Sacko's average statistical match rating has been a feeble 6.43, and his last goal for the club came in a resounding 4-1 defeat of Preston at Deepdale during the Christmas period of jovial festivities.
It seems an inevitability that Swansea loanee and Gambia international Modou Barrow will soon displace him, and as the latter recently basked in the glory of scoring his inaugural goal for his country, one cannot help but hope that he is afforded a greater number of first-team opportunities than he has been during his loan spell to date.
A Summation of Events
The most noteworthy statistics that are conspicuous to me are as follows:
- Having just 42% of the total ball possession.
- A frightful 62% of the game's aerial duels we contested; unsuccessfully.
- Our pass completion rate was 71%; four percent lower than our average for the season and 12% lower than that of our opposition today.
Austere criticism is not warranted, in spite of what was a performance that lacked vigour, vitality, and the creation of any clear opportunity to nestle the ball into the back of the net. This defeat is our first in eight matches, and we remain in a position of considerably auspicious footballing health.
By no means are we, as a club, in a state of acute turmoil or crisis. It is axiomatic I believe, that required of Garry Monk and his staff are a sprinkling of tactical alterations for the benefit of the side, principally in terms of personnel - but as supporters, we must not cease in lending our vociferous backing to him, his staff, and the players, as the end of an enthralling campaign nears its conclusion.
Statistical information derived from WhoScored.com
Photo: Action Images
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