In the run in to the massive six pointer between Brentford and Leeds United, Billy Grant catches up with Andrew ‘LUFC Stats’ Dalton to get the lowdown on United’s promotion campaign
Leeds had a great start to this season. You must have been delighted with the way your early form
After being one of the pre season favourites, we made an excellent start to the new season defeating Bristol City in front of the Sky Cameras at Ashton Gate before drawing at home Nottingham Forest. We then won away at both Wigan Athletic (2-0) and Stoke City (3-0) before losing at home to Swansea City.
Results were then inconsistent in September and October before we went on a seven game winning streak starting with a 2-0 home win at home to QPR at the start of November.
The last month or so have not been so good for Leeds. We spoke to Joe from All Leeds TV on our Lovesport Radio show (above) to see if he could put his finger on it. Can you put your finger on why?
It’s very much a sense of dejà vu from last season. If you look back to the Cardiff City game in December, we were cruising at 3-0 and then the wheels started to fall off.
We are missing chances and not starting games as quick as we did at the start of the season. I don’t know if a mentally thing or not, but we’ll see in the next few weeks if we can turn the form around which has seen us win only 2 games in 11.
After last season being so near but then so far, are you nervous that Leeds may once again be the victim of the playoff nightmare?
Very much so.
Our record in the play-offs is dismal to say the least, having lost in 1987, 2006, 2008, 2009 and last season.
Eventually it has to change but it’s fear of history repeating itself.
The pre-Nottingham Forest press conference with Bielsa was a bit strange. I seemed to me – for the first time – that the media and him were at loggerheads. Is the frustration spilling over on both sides do you think?
I think a lot of it it’s born out of frustration due to the run we’ve been on. The expectation are so high after coming so close last season. Bielsa has his own unique way of dealing with things and I’m just hoping we can turn this around.
We use stats a lot at Brentford. Statistically every expert will tell you Leeds are way, way out there. If you believe in xG, Experimental 361 says Leeds should be a good 13 points clear of Brentford in 2nd place on 77 points. But it’s been a case of not converting the excellent quality chances you create. Do you agree with that?
The only stats that means anything to me is the one at the end of the 90 minutes. xG doesn’t win you or lose you games. It’s the result on the paper the following morning that matters.
You have the players. You have the manager. How do you think Leeds will turn it around?
Right now we’re stuck in a rut but we’ve been on a winning run once this season, at this point it’s hard to see where the next win is coming from, but after the Brentford and Bristol City game, we have a so called easier set of fixtures on paper, but as we saw after the Wigan game, no game is easy in the Championship. The only way to turn it round is hard work and restoring confidence.
You have Philips back. For us it’s unlikely Jansson will return as he seems to have a niggling injury. Who are you worried for in the Brentford side?
I have to admit I enjoy watching Brentford play and what Thomas Frank continues to do. I am always impressed with the BMW up front (Benrahma, Mbeumo and Watkins) and think they will cause Leeds a lot of problems.
Brentford is a bit of a bogey ground for Leeds – not having won there since 1950. You’re not going to do a Forest and come to Griffin Park to frustrate are you? It could see two teams going toe to toe. How do you think you’ll approach the game?
I think it will be cautious approach due to our recent poor run and the fact we haven’t won at Griffin Park since 1950 and not won in London since December 2017 at Queens Park Rangers. If we go all out attack we will get beaten convincingly.
As a matter of interest, who do you predict for promotion, playoff finalists and playoff winner
Promotion – West Brom, Brentford
Playoff finalists – Fulham, Nottingham Forest
Playoff winner – Fulham.