How comfortable are we with Leeds running away with the Championship?
On one hand, we’d all like to witness an actual atmosphere in a Premier League stadium again. That’d be nice for everyone, I’d imagine. I don’t buy into the ‘proud, traditional club’ anymore because Bury’s demise summed up exactly why the EFL don’t care about any form of legacy, so it’s hard to use that rationale given the way football is going. But would you rather watch Leeds against Man United or Swansea against Man United?
On the other hand – it’s f***ing Leeds!
Maybe the best way to distract ourselves from their march to eternal triumph is to just watch every other game of football instead. And if we’re doing that, we may as well make it profitable.
Middlesbrough were embarrassing in their last game, at home to Millwall. They couldn’t string two passes together, while Bristol City have been flying by on flamboyancy.
While one of these is considerably more pleasing to watch, neither are sustainable long-term and if we want to try and find future results, we can’t just look at previous results.
Benik Afobe and Andreas Weimann have been the primary source of City’s goals to this point, but neither of them will benefit from season-long spells where they’re scoring week in, week out. As of right now, there isn’t a consistent goalscorer in this team.
The problem is, Middlesbrough have scored even fewer goals and fans are already becoming disenchanted with this regime.
Time to set the scene: Bristol City try too hard to force the issue as Boro sit in under strict instructions from Jonathan Woodgate to display discipline that’s relatable to a blood-and-thunder crowd.
For very similar reasons to those I’ve highlighted above – this isn’t a game of football featuring Leeds United, so our expectations can be lowered.
Bristol City are a counter-attacking side who rely on winning possession back and moving the ball quickly into the opposition third. They’re far more direct than some would like to admit.
And their excellent points return thus far has come in spite of a 46% possession average, with an xG disadvantage of 1.27 – 1.74.
It’s not sustainable and they’ll have no clue what to do when they’re handed 55-60% of the ball.
Over to you, Lee Johnson.
How often do you think a team who are very slow in possession, that don’t really keep the ball, don’t have aerial prowess in the opposition box, possess no good set-piece takers and who are up against a team with no interest in attacking away from home are going to score?
The answer is none.
If this game opens up for Bristol City at all, it’ll be through persistence and an individual error from Boro before anything else – and I find that’s generally the case with two average sides in the Championship for early kick-offs.
Sometimes you just need to follow the prototype.
*All odds correct at time of posting