Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day Football

For a Leeds United fan, the outcome of today's fixtures has scarcely been enjoyable to behold.  Not only did Leeds slump to defeat at Derby, but most of the Premier League results went in favour of a certain outfit which bases itself at Old Trafford.

If I am being honest, I did not expect Leeds to pull up any trees at Pride Park, but the general trend of results, belief and morale appears to be emphatically in the wrong direction as we approach the turn of the year. We are now hearing the first genuinely widespread murmurings of discontent with Simon Grayson himself. It goes without saying that the matches against Barnsley and Burnley, before the FA Cup hiatus, could be crucial on several levels.

By all accounts this was a lacklustre display from Leeds, and it is open to question whether some reshuffling of playing personnel during January will have any discernible impact in reversing the position. Although the Championship table indicates that the team is still within striking distance of the play-offs, we are moving in the wrong direction, when we should be building a base-camp for an attempt on the summit!

As if the woes of Leeds were not enough, it seems that the clubs in the Premier League top echelon are determined to ensure that Manchester United have the psychological advantage of leading the pack as we enter 2012. Chelsea's stuttering form persists, and Liverpool and Newcastle have lost touch.  Manchester City had the kind of result at West Brom which could prove to be very costly come May.

The state of play looks favourable for Tottenham, from a purely arithmetical point of view, but do they, or their supporters, truly believe?  Games in hand are all very well, and nice to have, but they also create a new, different type of pressure.

I hope that my pessimism about the position in the top two divisions proves to be misplaced!

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