Showing posts from March, 2024

Leeds United flex unique advantage as run survives standing eight count at Watford — Joe Donnohue's Verdict — YEP 30/3/24

Leeds United came painstakingly close to losing their unbeaten run at Watford on Good Friday, but they’re sticking it out and still standing after a late equaliser from substitute Mateo Joseph. By Joe Donnohue Daniel Farke’s depleted squad sparred with the Hornets at Vicarage Road, coming away with a ‘priceless point’, despite missing three of their big-hitters. Willy Gnonto, Ilia Gruev and Connor Roberts were conspicuous by their absence as Leeds disembarked the team coach on Friday evening. The trio sustained injuries during the international break and ahead of kick-off Farke had bad news to share, that for at least two, it would be three weeks until their next bout in a United shirt. Upon arriving at Elland Road, Roberts told the media assembled for his unveiling that he - a rugby boy at heart - was always keen for a scrap, or words to that effect. At Vicarage Road, Leeds could have done with the Welshman’s brusque approach as Ryan Porteous, Mattie Pollock and Francisco Sier

Daniel Farke has brought a calmness to Leeds United – isn’t it great? — The Athletic 30/3/24

By Phil Hay The most recently-constructed stand at Watford’s Vicarage Road replaced another which had long been earmarked for demolition; so thoroughly condemned that it was only fit for journalists to sit in. The ruins of that old structure were where Massimo Cellino sat and looked out in 2014, a few days after he out-lawyered the EFL and bought Leeds United. Alongside him was a worn-down Brian McDermott, manager in name but earmarked to be sacked. Find the photos of them together and you’ll spot the dynamic: the Italian in full flow and McDermott silent, almost willing him to get on with it. In the car park afterwards, Cellino was pursued by hangers-on, wild-eyed and ready to go. When I went to interview him the following day, he was knee-deep in a bottle of whisky — which, in fairness, is what Leeds can do to you. No trip to Vicarage Road should ever fail to remind the club of time spent on the lunatic fringe. Daniel Farke’s order to the present-day Leeds squad was to “press

Daniel Farke declares 'happy' Watford take amid Leeds United 'worst moment' with 'no sleep' star — YEP 30/3/24

Daniel Farke has given his reaction to Leeds United's 2-2 draw at Watford. By Lee Sobot 'Really happy' Leeds United boss Daniel Farke has explained why he will take Friday night's point at Watford "all day long" faced with the "worst possible moment", in-game "bad luck" and new Whites injuries. Leeds resumed their Championship promotion push after the March international break with Friday evening's clash at Vicarage Road in which a Whites win would have put United back into first place and three points clear of Leicester City. Instead, the contest ended in a 2-2 draw and only after substitute Mateo Joseph's late leveller. Leeds were very slow to get going and Watford went ahead just after the half hour mark through Vakoun Bayo who rifled home a fine first-time finish after Illan Meslier had saved from Emmanuel Dennis but parried the ball into his path. The Whites then drew level in stunning style just six minutes later thr

Mateo Joseph preserves unbeaten start to year but Leeds United are knocked off top spot in Championship — Yorkshire Post 29/3/24

Substitute Mateo Joseph netted a late equaliser to earn Leeds a 2-2 draw at Watford – but that was not enough to lift his side back to the top of the Championship table. Mid-table Watford led twice before half-time thanks to goals from Vakoun Bayo and Emmanuel Dennis either side of a fine Leeds reply from Crysencio Summerville. Leeds were in danger of suffering a first league loss of 2024 until 20-year-old Spaniard Mateo came off the bench and scored seconds later. Leeds ended Good Friday in second spot however as Ipswich, 1-0 winners at Blackburn earlier in the day, are a point ahead. Watford started brightly but their appeals for a penalty in the 12th minute when Ethan Ampadu appeared to catch Yasir Asprilla on a foot were rejected by referee David Webb. Leeds replied with a shot from Summerville that Hornets goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann did well to palm round the far post. It was Watford who took the lead in the 31st minute via a swift move down the right after Edo Kayembe

Watford 2-2 Leeds: Sub Mateo Joseph bundles home late equaliser — Mail 29/3/24

Watford 2-2 Leeds: Sub Mateo Joseph bundles home late equaliser but visitors miss chance to reclaim top spot... with Vakoun Bayo and Emmanuel Dennis scoring in the first-half for Hornets By ALEX JENNINGS Leeds had boss Daniel Farke to thank after keeping their unbeaten record for 2024 in tact, and their promotion push on track, with a late equaliser from supersub Mateo Joseph on Friday night. Farke's men had been relentless in winning 12 out of their 13 league games this calendar year, but looked on course for a first defeat since December at the hands of a resurgent Watford. Vakoun Bayo and Emmanuel Dennis had scored for the hosts either side of Crysencio Summerville's excellent equaliser for the Whites. But Farke sent on 20-year-old Joseph and he was bundling home an equaliser a minute after coming on, to keep Leeds just one point behind leaders Ipswich and ahead of faltering Leicester in a promotion push that promises to go down to the wire. It was disappointment f

New Leeds United injury timelines as Daniel Farke reveals trio of pre-Watford issues — YEP 29/3/24

Leeds United expect to be without Willy Gnonto and Connor Roberts for at least a couple of weeks, but the full extent of Ilia Gruev's injury is yet to be determined. By Graham Smyth Daniel Farke issued the less-than-ideal scenarios involving his trio of key first team players ahead of this evening's game at Watford. Speaking to Sky Sports as he and Leeds return to action following a costly international break, Farke admitted his Welsh contingent were given some time to process their gut-wrenching Euro 2024 play-off penalty loss to Poland. Leeds winger Daniel James was the only man to miss from the spot as the Welsh missed out on a spot at the major tournament. "That's sport, you have to deal with some disappointing outcomes," said Farke. "There's always an opportunity to show a reaction. We gave them time to suffer but also, let's go, it's football. Willy Gnonto, Ilia Gruev who were on a brilliant run are out, Connor Roberts an important pla

Leeds United promotion rivals dealt huge set-back in massive boost to Whites hopes — YEP 29/3/24

Leeds United face Watford this evening but will see all of their promotion rivals in action beforehand. By Kyle Newbould Leeds United enjoyed an excellent start to Good Friday after seeing Championship promotion rivals Leicester City lose 1-0 at Bristol City. Leicester had the chance to reclaim top spot in the table from Leeds, with their trip to Bristol the early kick-off and first game back following the March international break. Enzo Maresca's side had been stumbling but it was hoped that they would be able to reset ahead of the run-in But another poor display saw the Foxes deservedly beaten by Bristol, who climbed into 12th-place with the victory. Anis Mehmeti scored the only goal of the game on 73 minutes, rifling in a wonderful effort after Leicester's Jamie Vardy missed a number of gilt-edged chances. Despite having those chances on a plate for Vardy to miss, Leicester were below-par once again and were fortunate to go into half-time at 0-0, with Bristol seein

Watford v Leeds United: Daniel Farke confident Whites will not be sidetracked by fatal distractions — Yorkshire Post 29/3/24

Leeds United supporters are in danger of getting square eyes this Easter weekend. By Stuart Rayner Since Easter stopped really being a thing at Premier League level – the top division's only religion these days money – Good Friday and Easter Monday have largely been left for the second tier to make hay on the television schedules, and this year it certainly is. Two Leicester City games kick off at 12.30pm live on Sky, with two early evening Ipswich Town games – the second at home to automatic promotion-chasers Southampton, followed by two Leeds matches – at Watford on Friday, then at home to Hull City on Monday. It could mean plenty of to-ing and fro-ing in the Championship table, with the Foxes able to take top spot off Leeds on Friday, and if they do, Ipswich can knock the Whites out of the automatic promotion spots for a couple of hours at least. Leeds will know exactly what their rivals have done on both days. It could crank up the pressure or open opportunities but m

Millwall's Jake Cooper speaks out on his Leeds United Gnonto scuffle, Rodon incident and harsh treatment — YEP 29/3/24

Jake Cooper appeared to narrowly escape a red card when Millwall took on Leeds United before the international break By Will Jackson Millwall defender Jake Cooper believes he was unfairly treated against Leeds United last time out. The Whites won the game 2-0 before the international break to hit the Championship summit for the first time this season, but the game wasn't without controversy amid a couple of incidents involving the Lions' Cooper. Cooper was shown a yellow card following a coming together with Wilfried Gnonto early in the contest and many inside Elland Road felt the centre-back should have been given his marching orders before the break. The defender clattered into Joe Rodon inside the penalty area and left the Leeds man in a crumpled heap on the floor holding his face. The referee dismissed Leeds' claims for a penalty, something ex-Premier League official Dermot Gallagher has since described as a mistake, meaning Cooper escaped punishment and saw out

Daniel Farke's £25m reminder, Leeds United 'mission impossible' stance and champions comparison — YEP 28/3/24

Daniel Farke is on a hat-trick – but one that won’t yet be entertained despite the clear chance of “mission impossible” being completed. By Lee Sobot Farke arrived at Leeds last summer with two promotions as Championship champions under his belt having gone up in the ultimate style with Norwich City both in 2019 and 2021. Two years later, the prospects of a third Championship title but this time with Leeds hardly looked great amid a spate of exits following United’s relegation from the Premier League and just two points from his new side’s first three games. Nor did Leeds scream title contenders at the turn of the year as leaders Leicester City held a 17-point gap over the fourth-placed Whites following the 1-0 defeat at West Brom. Yet a staggering run of 37 points from a next possible 39 now has Farke’s Whites top of the pile and ahead of second-placed Leicester with eight games left, albeit with the Foxes having a game in hand. Farke points to that game in hand in declaring why

Daniel Farke confident Dan James and co will move on quickly from Wales disappointment as Leeds United push for Premier League promotion — YEP 28/3/24

Daniel Farke has a lot of calls to make at short notice as Leeds United players return from international duty carrying knocks and niggles, but he is less concerned about the mentality of his Welsh players after they missed out on Euro 2024. By Stuart Rayner When he spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon, Farke’s internationals were reporting to Thorp Arch in dribs and drabs, some having phoned ahead to warn of problems with a Good Friday game at Watford in mind. Three players have undergone surgery since Leeds last played, with Pascal Struijk and Darko Gyabi's seasons over but Georginio Rutter not out of contention to play at Vicarage Road. Connor Roberts limped off during Wales' Euro 2024 play-off against Poland, and Farke name-checked Ilia Gruev and Willy Gnonto as having picked up problems. Roberts, Ethan Ampadu, Joe Rodon and Dan James were part of the Wales team who will miss this summer's European Championship after a penalty shoot-out in which the latte

Euro 2024 play-offs: Wales captain Ben Davies says penalty loss was cruel — BBC 26/3/24

Wales captain Ben Davies said it was "cruel" to miss out on a place at Euro 2024 on a penalty shootout defeat. Wales drew 0-0 with Poland in a game of few chances at the Cardiff City Stadium but saw their hopes of reaching the finals in Germany ended when Dan James missed his penalty. Poland scored all five of their spot-kicks to book a place at the Euros. "It's a difficult one to take, we put everything into the game but in the end it wasn't to be," Davies told S4C. "I don't know what to say, it was a good performance but the result is the most important thing and that went against us tonight. "Poland are a good team, there wasn't much between us but in the end, penalties... it's cruel. "It's an emotional one right now, the character shown from the players showed everyone loves playing for Wales." Wales boss Rob Page admitted he was crushed by the defeat and said the Wales squad will look after Leeds United

Leeds United's Wales quartet suffer shootout agony as Dan James misses decisive kick and defender limps off — YEP 26/3/24

Wales lost out on spot at next summer's European Championships in Germany after a penalty shootout defeat by Poland at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night. By Joe Donnohue On-loan Leeds United defender Connor Roberts was a second half casualty in the shootout defeat, substituted shortly before the end of normal time having received treatment on the pitch for an injury sustained during the game. It is unclear at this early stage the severity of Roberts' issue or whether it will keep him out of the squad for Leeds' trip to Watford this Friday, however the Burnley loanee was pictured in the Wales huddle moving and walking under his own steam at the end of extra-time despite strapping on his right leg. Leeds winger Dan James missed Wales' fifth and final spot-kick of the shootout, after the two sides had played out a 0-0 draw. In addition to Roberts' premature withdrawal, and James' bitter disappointment from 12 yards, centre-back duo Joe Rodon and Ethan

Stuart Dallas answers Leeds United retirement question and breaks silence on 'lonely road' to recovery — YEP 26/3/24

Leeds United midfielder Stuart Dallas says he will not give up on making a return to professional football, despite almost two years out of the game following a femoral fracture. By Joe Donnohue The Northern Irish international sustained the horror injury during Leeds' Premier League defeat to Manchester City 23 months ago and has faced surgeries, setbacks and a lengthy rehabilitation programme in the ensuing period of time. Dallas was helpless as Leeds were relegated from the top flight last season and is yet to make a comeback in 2023/24 either with just six weeks of the campaign remaining. Speaking on BBC NI's coverage of Scotland vs Northern Ireland on Tuesday night, Dallas admitted it had been a frustrating time for him, but would not give up on playing again for club and country. "It's been a frustrating couple of years for me, the aim is to get back before the end of the season. Whether that happens or not, we don't know, but I'm working as hard

Injured Northern Ireland international Stuart Dallas determined to resume playing career — Belfast Telegraph 26/3/24

Graham Luney Stuart Dallas says he’s still determined to resume his playing career. The Leeds United player has not played for club or country since breaking his leg in late April 2022. He suffered a femoral fracture in a 4-0 home defeat to Manchester City and underwent surgery. Former Crusaders hero Dallas has linked up with the Northern Ireland squad during his rehabilitation, but it has been hugely frustrating time for the 32-year-old. He has played more than 250 games for the West Yorkshire club since joining from Brentford in 2015 while his international caps tally sits on 62. “I’m doing okay,” said Dallas. “It’s almost two years since the injury but I am doing okay and working towards trying to get back before the end of the season. I’m doing everything I can to do that.” Earlier this month, Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill shared his concerns about Dallas’ recovery. “I think there is always a concern. Stuart’s injury is well documented,” said O’Neill. “He

Leeds United academy graduate warned against return to club as transfer decision looms — Yorkshire Post 26/3/24

West Ham United’s on-loan Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips has been warned against a return to his former club Leeds United. By Tom Coates The 28-year-old lived out the dream of boyhood Leeds supporters by ascending the youth ranks and becoming a key figure in the senior set-up at Elland Road. He established himself as a crucial cog in Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds machine, helping the Whites lift the Championship title in 2020. The academy graduate then starred for the club in the Premier League, earning an England breakthrough with his form. However, since leaving Leeds for Manchester City in 2022, he has endured a difficult chapter in his career. Minutes proved hard to come by at the Etihad Stadium and he has not enjoyed a revival on loan at West Ham. His slump has pushed him down the England pecking order and he missed out on the squad named for friendlies against Brazil and Belgium. He has been linked with a return to Leeds with his future looking uncertain, althoug

Ethan Ampadu is the rock on which Leeds United’s promotion charge is based — The Athletic 25/3/24

By Phil Hay At Spezia, it was said more than once that two Ethan Ampadus would have been good: one to play at six and the other to play at centre-back. For a footballer with the attributes to fill either position, what to do when the answer to the question of which suits him best is ‘both’? Thirty-eight games into Leeds United’s season, Daniel Farke is no better placed to settle the debate. Ampadu, for several months, was rock solid at the base of his midfield but since January, he has been part of a defence which is as close as it gets to being impossible to penetrate. Certain players are what they are, but Ampadu? The discussion about him is the toss of a coin. So Farke, like Spezia in Italy, where Ampadu grew up a little more on loan last season, would happily have two versions of him in his line-up, but with the 23-year-old away on international duty with Wales, United’s manager will settle for the safe return of the only Ampadu he has. The past eight months have been a test

Ilia Gruev details Leeds United tactical tweak that provides 'huge advantage' over opponents — YEP 22/3/24

The Bulgarian has been central to Leeds United's incredible defensive form in 2024. By Kyle Newbould Ilia Gruev has provided a crucial insight into the on-pitch work behind Leeds United's incredible defensive record. Gruev's emergence as a first-team regular at Elland Road has coincided with Leeds enjoying an imperious run of form, closing the gap on Leicester City and eventually usurping them as Championship leaders. The Bulgarian has started 12 of his side's 13-game unbeaten streak and played the full 90 minutes in all but one - he was taken off at 3-0 up against Rotherham in February. That streak has also included a ridiculous 10 clean sheets and Leeds have not conceded a single Championship goal from open play since the 1-0 defeat at West Brom in December. Gruev has not been the sole reason for his side's defensive strength but the Bulgarian, along with centre-backs Joe Rodon and Ethan Ampadu, has mastered the art of keeping teams out and owes it to main

Leeds United's Welsh quartet in touching distance of European glory as Glen Kamara given taste of own medicine — YEP 21/3/24

Five Leeds United players were in action at the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday evening. By Kyle Newbould Leeds United's Welsh core booked their place in the Euro 2024 play-off final with a commanding 4-1 win against Finland on Thursday night. Rob Page's side dominated from start to finish at the Cardiff City Stadium on an evening in which Connor Roberts, Joe Rodon and Ethan Ampadu all played the full 90 minutes. Both Ampadu and Dan James, who came off the bench midway through the second-half, won their 50th caps for Wales to give Glen Kamara - who also played the full game - a rare taste of what it feels like to face his club teammates. The home support gave a resounding rendition of the Welsh national anthem before kick-off and those in red were clearly fired up, with on-loan Southampton winger David Brooks there on the rebound to open the scoring inside three minutes. Reported summer Leeds target Neco Williams made it two just past the half-hour mark, arrowing home

£20m Leeds United exit opens up on feeling 'irrelevant' during relegation fight and bizarre injury cause — YEP 22/3/24

The former Leeds United player has endured a torrid time with injuries. By Kyle Newbould Tyler Adams admits he 'fell off a cliff' during an injury-plagued year in which he experienced the disappointment of relegation with Leeds United. Adams missed the final 12 matches of last season, following surgery on a serious hamstring injury last March. The American was helpless on the sidelines as Leeds failed to win any of their final nine games before eventually dropping down to the Championship. Adams was one of several to force a move away from Elland Road due to a release clause in his contract, with the midfielder joining Bournemouth for £20million in August. He arrived on the south coast injured and required surgery again in October, only returning off the bench against Luton Town last week. “You learn a lot about yourself in those tough moments because in those moments there's no headlines about you,” Adams told reporters ahead of the USMNT’s friendly against Jamai

Leeds United silent on government action despite previous noise as fan groups issue response — YEP 20/3/24

Few will need no reminding of Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear's 2021 views on an independent regulator. By Graham Smyth The only recorded linking of Elland Road matters and Maoist collective agriculturalism in club history, it quickly went viral and national, as football responded to proposals from a fan-led review. It will have become lost among the headlines but Kinnear was in support of the majority of the review's recommendations, taking serious issue with only the idea of an independent regulator in English football and a transfer levy on Premier League clubs. He wrote in his programme notes: "The two most significant recommendations are as flawed as they are radical. The first is the demand for independent regulation and the second is an increased transfer levy to redistribute increased funds further down the football pyramid. These proposals have been conflated to address the very separate issues of the demise of Bury, the threat of the European Super League an

Georginio Rutter was caught in Leeds’ Premier League drift – he’s now an assist machine — The Athletic 20/3/24

By Nancy Froston and Thom Harris What a difference a year has made for Georginio Rutter at Leeds United. On March 4 last year, the Frenchman, 21, walked out at Stamford Bridge in what would be his first and only Premier League start for the club against Chelsea. Carrying the weight of his club-record £35.5million ($45.2m) price tag after arriving from Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim in January, it looked as if Rutter was the wrong signing at the wrong time. Leeds had looked at a profile of player more like Coventry City striker Viktor Gyokeres, who was neither cheap nor truly for sale as Mark Robins’ side pushed for the Championship play-offs, but instead signed Rutter to bolster Jesse Marsch’s attack in a bid to stay up. His appearances were fleeting, with just 264 minutes in total in the league, almost all from the bench, as Leeds went from Marsch to Javi Gracia to Sam Allardyce in charge in a matter of weeks. Rutter was not helped by routine put-downs by veteran manager Allar

Wilfried Gnonto details Leeds United tactical tweak that led to season first during win vs Millwall — YEP 19/3/24

Leeds United climbed to the top of the Championship on Sunday but there was another first at Elland Road. By Kyle Newbould Wilfried Gnonto relished the wild celebrations on Sunday after scoring his first goal at Elland Road this season during Sunday's 2-0 win against Millwall. Gnonto broke the deadlock 33 minutes into a tense and scrappy affair in West Yorkshire, carrying the ball to the edge of Millwall's box before arrowing a brilliant effort beyond the grasp of Matija Šarkić. It was a perfect response from the 20-year-old who was bizarrely booked shortly before and was on the receiving end of some physical treatment from the visitors. A run of six goals in 10 appearances went some way to Gnonto getting back in the good books among Leeds supporters, following his attempts to leave in the summer, but every effort so far had been away from home and so the Italian was starved of feeling that forgiveness among the home crowd. Sunday's effort was his eighth of the camp

Leeds top of Championship: No cakewalk for Farke — but it has been coming — The Athletic 18/3/24

By Phil Hay and Mark Carey The important question was answered last week as Daniel Farke opened up about the third element of the “sofa, coffee and cake” routine he uses to relax. “Cheesecake,” he said. “Always cheesecake.” And having allowed himself to indulge in it after a patient victory at Sheffield Wednesday, yesterday gave him the excuse to revisit whichever patisserie floats his boat in Harrogate. It makes a change from gorging on the Championship which, after 258 days of Farke, Leeds United lead for the very first time. They have been climbing in that direction for weeks, chipping away at Leicester City above them, and while Leicester head into this season’s final international break with a game in hand over Leeds, neither games in hand nor substantial points advantages have been much use in holding Leeds back. It is, as Farke says time and again, all a case of how the table looks when the race is run. The gaps at the top of it are so tight that a cake-free diet would b