Leeds United v Manchester City 30th April 2022 at Elland Road

Man City H 30th April 2022

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Centenary Whites at the Irish Centre 30.4.22

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The sun was shining on a glorious day, making it a good day for a football game as for me it is true, it lifted my spirits up. With a big game ahead of us I headed for Elland Road under no illusions that it would be tough today but as always, just want the players to give their all. Although the final result today said we lost 4-0, I don’t think that score was reflective on the game as a whole as I didn’t think there was that much difference between the teams for a good 20 minute spell in each half. The difference in their team from the one we played at their ground was a complete contrast to me. At the Etihad, I can’t say I’ve seen such a display of football from anyone in that league at that level as no team would have performed well against them that day. They were on another level to us and that is why I was able to put the 7-0 scoreline to the back of my mind and move on. Today though, there was too much cheating and diving with every free kick given their way (I had forgotten Grealish now plays for them). Someone told me after the game that the referee was from Manchester now if that is the case, where is the impartiality in that decision because the favouritism shown to Man City was obvious on the pitch? A big thank you to Susan and Bremner for the support in buying my book United Are Back!

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Dallas, Firpo, Klich, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Koch, Struijk, Phillips and Harrison.

Subs: James for Dallas (45+7 stretchered off), Gelhardt for Firpo (62), Greenwood for Rodrigo (83).

Subs not used: Klaesson, Cresswell, Shackleton, Llorente, Bate.

Leeds lost the game 4-0.

Attendance: 36,771, 2,911 Man City fans.

Referee: Paul Tierney.

Booked: Firpo.

Leeds had the first chance of the game when Rodrigo was through on goal but his shot was blocked. Fine margins again that could have given us the upper hand in the game and had them chasing us. That changed on the 13th minute when City scored with a header after another free kick given their way. I haven’t seen it again, but there were disputes as to whether the kick should have been awarded in the first place. I know there were a few decisions like that in the game but couldn’t remember which one it was. As the game wore on though, Leeds started using the wings more and were putting in some good attacks, not handing the game to City on a plate. When Koch went down in an aerial challenge, this stopped the game for a while whilst he and the City player received treatment. Although when play resumed, Leeds continued on the attack and at that stage I felt we were going to get an equaliser in the moments before half time until Dallas was injured when Grealish fouled him or so I thought. When they were given the free kick afterwards, I was astounded but would need to see it again. Dallas was immediately in trouble banging the floor and after a lengthy hold up was stretchered off the pitch to applause from the fans. He didn’t look in a good way and after Cooper pulling out of the game during the warm up, our injury crisis shows no signs of letting up. I’ve just heard Dallas has a femoral fracture and faces a lengthy stint out of the side sadly. James came on to the pitch and the referee more or less blew for half time straight away. Why was there no added time during injury time for Dallas?  How many times have you seen nine minutes added on due to injuries?

The second half started similar to the first when City scored a second early goal to put more of a distance between the teams. Leeds then started attacking and Raphinha saw his blocked shot go over the bar. The stuffing was knocked out of Leeds when we went further behind. I thought you couldn’t be offside from a throw in, has that changed or did one of ours immediately tap the ball forward to another of our players? City then proceeded to run straight down the middle to the South Stand and score their third goal. Leeds continued to attack though and James saw his shot kicked off the line, then Gelhardt saw a brilliant save from the keeper to deny him as we continued to press. They got a fourth in injury time which was a shame as the team didn’t deserve to see that score against them.

Fans held up blue, yellow and white cards before the start of the game in the Family Stand, North East Corner and Cheese Wedge spelling out Yorkshire and then proceeded to use them as aeroplanes or screwed up balls to throw onto the side of the pitch. At one point the wind took some and it was like a pitch invasion as they rolled across the pitch. The fans today were immense creating an electric atmosphere and as always, I’m proud to be a Leeds United supporter. For the last 15 minutes of the game there was a constant “We all love Leeds” that carried on five minutes after the final whistle at the end of the game before “Marching on Together” was sung at top voice. This was despite being 4-0 down. It’s a shame we don’t get points for the fans as today is the first time that the table shows us too close to the bottom three for my liking and it is a great concern. With Everton leading Chelsea at the moment, it is not looking good for us I’ll admit. With four games left, none are ever easy in this division and I never take anything for granted but will always make my judgement by what I see on the pitch. The score was unfavourable today as they took their chances and although we did plenty of attacking with sheer persistence and never giving up, we didn’t get that goal to ensure Elland Road exploded.

Going back to the car after the game, there were a group of City fans on the other side of the road singing and making a lot of commotion. The next thing there was shouting as a car had come out from McDonalds and trying to turn right across the front of them. They started shouting and then I saw a couple of them lashing out and kicking the front  of the car. What I couldn’t believe was seeing the riot police stood at the side of the road next to me who didn’t react at all. When I said they are kicking the car it was like a jolt as if they should react, but they never moved at all. If that would have been our fans, I have no doubt they would have been on them like a flash. As it was as we drove to the bridge over the motorway we had to stop as loads of vans of police arrived and were stopping fans at the side of the road. Some going over the bridge which according to these Leeds fans detained were Man City fans, were allowed to continue to shout and carry on but were not moved on by them. In the end I drove around the parked car in front of us and carried on.

As I mentioned last week, my blog is late because I was going straight to the Irish Centre after the game for the last performance of the Centenary Whites. Paul Wilson had made songs about Leeds which were put to popular music and it certainly had your feet tapping with the vibe from the band and as usual I really enjoyed it. With Norwegian fans, Irish fans and plenty of others there we had a great night and was a great respite after the defeat today.

With our next game back down in London for the Arsenal game, another early morning start beckons. None of us can predict how many points we will get before the last game at Brentford, but each one we gain can make such a difference to the final table. Here’s hoping that we can pick some up in these last four games. See you there, LUFC – Marching on Together!