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Leeds United 0 v 0 Sheffield Wednesday
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 2nd September 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Farke left disappointed by frustrating draw with Sheffield Wednesday
Sunday, 3rd Sep 2023 21:50 by Tim Whelan

Our manager rightly said that we created enough chances to have deserved to beat Sheffield Wednesday, but did his formation get the best out of the forwards at his disposal?

He had two enforced changes to make from the eleven which began our last league match at Ipswich, with Byram injured and Sinisterra now otherwise employed. Summerville was a like-for like replacement on the wing, with Shackleton resuming the left back role he occupied at the end of the last league game. The signings of the last week were either on the bench or not yet eligible.

We all arrived at this game in a confident mood after the excellent win at Ipswich, with fans forecasting that we would win the game by at least two or three goals. But it was rather more predictable that the Wendies would set out their stall to try not to lose the game, using a physical approach against our forwards that the referee was content to allow.

Our first chance came when Summerville Leeds collected the ball from a poor clearance from Vasquez, but when Piroe was set free to race into the Wednesday penalty area, he dragged his left foot shot beyond the far post. Then a neat one-two on the edge of the area set Summerville up for a shot, but he had to rush with two Wednesday defenders coming in to challenge, and he sent his shot wide of the post.

But after a nervy start Wednesday were able to grow into the game a little, and restricted Leeds to just one more decent opportunity before the break. That came when Sumerville played Rutter in but with a fairly tight angle, and Vasquez did well to get off his line quickly and reacted in time to block the shot with his arm.

And the same pattern continued in the second half, with Leeds creating chances but being unable to convert any of them. Shackleton worked his way in from the left and tried a curling shot, but it didn’t dip quite enough and it cleared the crossbar. Then some good work from Rutter sent Summerville racing into the area, but as he tried to flick the ball goalwards he sent it too close to Vasquez and the keeper was able to save with his chest.

From the resulting corner Luke Ayling headed the ball into the ground and it bounced just wide. Then Wednesday created their best chance of the game when a pin-point pass sent Windass racing into the area and to almost the same spot as the Rutter chance in the first half. And the outcome was very similar, this time Meslier coming quickly off his line to block the shot.

As we tried to change things around in search of the breakthrough, Gnonto switched to the right, and cut inside for a left food shot from outside the area. But it flashed across the face of goal and just beyond the far post. And the Italian was involved in the most controversial moment of the game, which came when Gnonto made his way into the area close to the byline, and a defender leaned on him after the ball had gone.

But the referee turned down the penalty appeals from all the fans on the Kop who would have had a much better view of the incident than he did. I hope young Willy isn’t getting a reputation among referees as a player who goes down a little too easily. At the other end Paterson was kind enough to shoot over from close range. But our best chance of the game was yet to come.

In the 77th minute Rutter was sent clean through on goal, and tried to chip Vasquez as he came off his line. The idea was sound, as the keeper would have been helpless if the Frenchman had put the lob in the right place, but the execution was terrible. Rutter’s finish lacked any sort of conviction, and he did no more than send the ball into Vasquez’s grateful palms.

Farke make a couple of late changes to try to win. First Spence came on for the tiring Ayling, and his first duty was to make an excellent block to snuff out a dangerous Wednesday move, and the rest of his debut wasn’t bad either. Kamara was introduced in place of Gray with two minutes of normal time remaining, but wasn’t on for long enough to change the course of the game.

Our final chance came from a free kick from a decent position, if a little far out. Piroe got a bit of power behind his shot, but sent it quite a way past the post. And that was it, just a point from the kind of game that we really need to be winning if we are going to mount a promotion challenge this season. And not surprisingly Daniel Farke was a little frustrated when he spoke to the media.

“It feels in the first home games of the season it's always the same story, speaking about how we dominated, creating more than enough, leading each statistic. The overriding feeling is that we are disappointed. We expected today to play against a really deep-sitting opponent that defends and gives everything to block each shot, experienced in game management, time-wasting. We spoke about needing the first goal.”

He’s probably right that if we’d scored one goal we would have gone on to get a few more, but I came away thinking that Piroe should have been the one leading the line, with Rutter in the deeper position. A caller on Radio Leeds said the same thing, as have many fans on social media. But when Radio Leeds put the question to Farke he defended his decision to play Piroe as a ‘number 10’, saying he was effective in this role at Swansea.

That was a bit worrying, but hopefully he will reflect on that during the international break we now have in the two weeks before our next game. Some players will be away to represent their countries, but the new signings will have time to start to get to know the players we already have and how to suit each other’s game. It may be that it suits this side to play away from home against team who come at us, so hopefully we’ll see a much-improved performance at Millwall two weeks from today.


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