Former Leeds United Boss Garry Monk came out on top for the second time this season with a 1-0 victory at St Andrew’s.
Defeat sees Leeds slip outside of the automatic promotion places in a topsy turvy climax to the Championship season. Birmingham went into the game off the back of five straight league defeats. As appears to be the case whenever Leeds are in town, the opposition raise their game and this fixture proved to be no different.
Frustratingly for United, despite again dominating possession they were unable to break down a stubborn Birmingham outfit. It’s become all too predictable this season when Bielsa’s side fail to score first. The opposition tactically surrender possession, get bodies behind the ball and play on the counter. Leeds score first and the opposition open up in an attempt to get back into the game and become exposed and pay the price. This is exactly what should have happened when Patrick Bamford sprung the offside trap in the corridor of uncertainty. With Lee Camp in no mans land and the goal gaping it appeared easier to score than to miss. However, with Bamford electing to flick a boot at the ball rather than using his head, his goal bound effort hit the upright and fell fortuitously into the hands of a relieved Camp.
Bamford and Leeds were made to rue that golden opportunity when the lively Che Adams broke through United’s defence on the half hour mark. Eighteen yards out Adams struck expertly passed Kiko Casilla who could do nothing to prevent his side going behind. In truth Casilla would be the only Leeds player to come out of this game with any credit with a string of fine saves. Bamford had two more glorious chances to level the match. The first effort missing the target from close range following good work down the Birmingham left hand side and the second denied by Camp with a glancing header at the near post.
Marcelo Bielsa concluded “Their strikers imposed themselves on us but in attack we had a lot of possession but we didn’t create a lot of chances and we didn’t take advantage of the chances we created. It’s not a very positive performance.”
Leeds must pick themselves up quickly with a trip to Deepdale and Preston whose defeat against promotion rivals Sheffield United gave the Blades the advantage. Interestingly Birmingham face Sheffield United next and Leeds fans will be hoping Monk can affect their promotion hopes in a more positive manner. Elsewhere Norwich seem home and hosed and set to occupy one of the top two spots come the end of the season. A 4-0 thrashing of QPR sees the Canaries further extend their lead at the top of the table.