I USED to have a ritual on the first day of the season.
Get down the Wimpy Bar early doors, have a big pre-season meal and then hate Leeds United for the next nine months. But then I moved somewhere that didn’t have a Wimpy and Leeds kept getting relegated.
If truth be told, I’ve missed them both.
But hang on a minute. Look at this, after 17 years Leeds are back – like Darth Vader has just walked into your local, wearing a Stone Island cape, and ordered a pint of Yorkshire Tea.
And the dark side prick hasn’t even brought a Wimpy with him. He’s just stood there, drinking tea through his big plastic head and occasionally muttering something about how the Kaiser Chiefs are dead good after all and he’s got a playlist to prove it – “It’s got everything mate, all the hits and plenty there for the heads as well.”
Need to watch him before he builds a Death Star in Elland Road and starts letting on that he’s James Milner’s dad.
Does well against Bamford at 2-1. Best in the league at running out and getting in your face so you either fall in love with him or shit yourself. Could do better with their three goals though, like saving them one of them for example.
Trent Alexander Hamilton: 3
Nowhere near it today. Not great for their opener and never imposed himself going forward. Best thing he did was nearly score with a mishit cross.
Joely Gomez: 5
He’ll go to bed tonight and think “Not often I’ll have an average game and outplay Big Virg”. Or maybe he won’t. Maybe he’s dead into a box set and can’t stop thinking about it. Who knows.
Big Virg: 4
Headed the ball so hard for his goal that he knocked their keeper into the back of the net and forgot where his own head was for the rest of the game. Has a shocker for their second and generally looked like defending wasn’t really for him – a strange thing to say about, literally, the best defender in the world.
Andy Robbo: 6
Carried loads of threat first half but never quite got going after the break. Reckon their weirdo manager mind tricked the fuck out of him at half time.
Made up he started because I reckon he’ll be vital in games like this. Direct, unpredictable, and always looks to get us forward. Unlucky to go off.
Decent hour and I thought he was growing into it when he got taken off. Probably had to go and remind Milner who his dad is and let him know there’s a big night out planned with the Ewoks later.
The quintessential Wijnaldum performance – here, there, and everywhere but none of it’s making YouTube. As an aside, that’s the first time I’ve ever typed his surname and I’m made up I’ve spelt it right. Top marks for me.
Martin Fitzgerald: 10
Bobby F: 5
Flicked it all day long to no great effect and has to do better for his chance late on. I reckon at some point there might need to be a conversation about FLICKS V GOALS.
Mane Mane: 6
Worked hard but it wasn’t his day.
Fucking brilliant. Nearly broke some fella’s arm getting a penalty and seemed to be the only one who was personally affronted that their manager came to Anfield and sat on a bucket when there are loads of spare seats around the gaff.
Brought on to keep it tight but thought “fuck that, I’ll confuse everyone by turning up in their box and they’ll just kick me because they’ll probably think I’m a ghost or something”.
Curtis Jones: 7
Haven’t seen a cameo that good since Dolly Parton in Miss Congeniality 2.
Joel Matip: 5
Kept a clean sheet.
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Salah 9 the rest were crap.
Top game loved it lads, you’ll be reet. Up the bastard whites
Great to have you back Martin!
Made up youse got Martin in to do these. Don’t forget to give us the soundtrack to the reds.
Solid first review there Fitz. Darth V description particularly good.
Thought Virg deserved a 2. And Joey probably a 2 too. We had so many blocked shots it was a bit mad.
Cracking finish with a reference to Dolly! Talk about finishing off with a flourish!
Good effort Martin – speaks volumes that there’s no discernable drop in quality from Ben Johnson’s ratings.
It’s gone under the radar a bit (what with so many others being shite without the ball) but definitely agree on Alisson – you couldn’t say he f***ed-up at any point, but I thought at least two of their goals were quite saveable by his very high standards.
Alisson looks like he has lost weight – possibly from his brain. Trent looked unfit and Leeds did well to stop our FBs getting forward. Disagree totally about Naby; gave Phillips about half-an-hour to play that killer pass for them, and we always look weak defensively when he starts – part of the problem on our right side. They will wake others up simply because of the intensity of their play. With no fans we are losing the Anfield dividend, but playing poorly and winning is no bad habit.
More importantly, don’t our kits look dead brilliant?
Wasn’t quite sure about the teal bit in the adverts, but they look absolutely deadly on the reigning Champions of England. Reckon we’ll win all of them when we’re kitted out like that.
Big Ali looks like he’s still on the beach to me. Seems more lethargic and slow to dive but did really well against Bamford for that chance. Maybe’s caught some of Big Virg’s “over-relax” syndrome.
Not sure why we kept giving Philips all day to pass it, seemed like we were always one short in midfield for some reason. Or maybe we didn’t give his passing enough respect and just expected to pick up the 2nd balls.
Curtis should lose a mark because he lost Klich for their 3rd. I know he’d just come on but the fella just ran off his back and was left wide open in our box.
All of them need to get their heads in the game (apart from Mo, because Mo’s already like “if that little rat from Leicester thinks he’s beating me to the golden boot this season he’s got another thing coming.”) and remember that even though they’re the Champs it’s already history. Teams are not going to just roll over and die for us, we have to make them do that.
Having said all that, Leeds are special I think, their manager has a force of personality that means they won’t give up even if they’re 4 or 5 down because he just doesn’t accept that kind of thing. Other teams (West Ham, West Brom, Fulham etc.) might have crumbled after we went 1 up in the first minutes, but they just went right back to their game plan. I’m sure they’ll give plenty of others a scare this season and end up mid table.
Also as pointed out in the Grauniad as well, we did have an XG of around 3 vs 0.2 for them. They had 3 shots (of low probability) and scored them all. We should’ve scored at least 2 more (Mane and Bobby). That makes me worry about Ali even more, he’s now doing what Mignolet and Karius used to do, conceding low probability goals. Need him to get back on track ASAP.