If anyone finds themselves looking for a TV series to watch, I highly recommend Friday Night Lights. I’m not a fan of American Football but it’s gripping and it helped me appreciate it. Based on a High School in Texas, it follows the intense struggle to make it professional in the game. Anyway, there is only one type of football I’m really interested in, and one club. Leeds picked up a valuable and hard-earned point on Friday, but how do we feel about this?
I’m not one for taking a point in home games. There are a few exceptions, if we took a point from Wolves the way they are playing I would probably be quite happy but apart from that I kind of expect to be winning our home games. Looking back at games you can accept a point here and there, I would have after the defeats to Reading and Sheffield United but it would have papered over the clear cracks in the side and that moment in time. The game against Villa on Friday was a big game, no doubt about it. Steve Bruce has formed a very experienced squad at Villa Park and they are one of the in-form sides in the Football League, form that almost went down the drain at Elland Road. Before the game I was convinced we could beat them and during the game, first-half especially it felt like that would happen. The second half swing meant Villa were well worth a point, but not because we were poor, they were just better.
You always have the gut feeling leaving a game, and draws can go one of a few ways. If you come back to earn a point, especially late it gives you the feeling of a win to be honest, and if it happens the other way it can feel like a loss. The best example of that in recent memory was the home game to Wigan last year. We led in the game from early on, Chris Wood smashing home a volley. We controlled the game but with literally the final kick, McDonald volleyed in off the post and it finished 1-1. The game on Friday came with a 70th minute leveller, a quality strike from Henri Lansbury that we couldn’t do much about and after that Villa were on top but we held out. When I did leave the ground I didn’t have that awful feeling of conceding, one because it wasn’t late on and two because we actually played well, and defended well at the end, a few weeks ago (Christiansen touched on this) we would have crumbled and lost that game.
If we have drawn a few games like this last season we would have made the play-offs so until we get to the end of the season we won’t know how important it could be. As it is not many teams are taking anything off Villa at the moment and you could tell with the quality of their subs that they have a strong possibility of getting better as the season goes into the new year. Another aspect to look at when you consider a draw is the previous games, and the upcoming fixtures. Wins at Barnsley and at home to Boro sandwiched between the Wolves game had us starting to build momentum and we have some of the poorer teams in the division coming up thick and fast. No game is easy but some are games that you expect to win, and they are coming. Queens Park Rangers is very tough, but winnable, then the likes of Norwich and Hull at home before Birmingham and Burton Albion away. A point against Villa may actually turn out to be a very productive point come May.