Leeds moved within one point of the play-offs after edging Norwich City at Elland Road courtesy of Pontus Jansson scoring the side’s only goal for the second home game in a row.
Thomas Christiansen’s side are now unbeaten in four games, and there were positives to take from the game as Leeds look to regain their place in the top six.
- Pawel Cibicki has potential
Starting for the first time at Elland Road after being brought on as a substitute for the injured Caleb Ekuban during the win at QPR, Pawel Cibicki proved he has the ability to force his way into the line-up more regularly. In fact, the Swede arguably outperformed both Saiz and Alioski, who have received plenty of plaudits this season.
Cibicki whipped in a terrific free-kick, which Jansson got on the end of, to put Leeds in front. This was not the only time, the attacking midfielder sent dangerous crosses into the Norwich box as he often looked to curl inviting deliveries into the six-yard area. Although, fairly light-weight in terms of physique, Cibicki has enough ability on the ball to get away with this, playing on the right side of midfield against the Canaries.
- Is Kemar Roofe a genuine striker?
Having scored a hat-trick against QPR, Kemar Roofe fully deserved the right to start up front for The Whites again. Yet, it proved to be a subdued afternoon for Roofe who struggled to really impose himself on the game, albeit not for a lack of effort.
Roofe has proven he can finish when given half a yard, as shown by the fact he has scored two hat-tricks this season, albeit one came against lower league opposition in the Carabao Cup. However, he does not have the stature which strikers such as Lasogga, Chris Wood and Luciano Becchio have had when attempting to battle with defenders. Roofe’s best position is still probably out-wide where he can take on full-backs rather than battling in aerial, physical battles with well-built centre-backs.
- Jansson continues to be a cult hero
Pontus Jansson further cemented his place in the hearts of Leeds fans, if that’s possible given his immense popularity already. The centre-back once again put in a performance full of passion and commitment to the Leeds United cause.
His celebration after scoring the winner, as he sprinted towards the West Stand, epitomised the Swede’s enthusiasm for the cause. It was evident how much the goal meant to him, and he sparked a game into life, which had been very flat in the opening stages prior to the goal. Jansson has the ability to pump up the crowd, and get them behind the team, gesturing to the crowd after his goal. Such leadership and charisma is vital for the spirit around the club.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 16, 2017
- Defence not conceding many, but was Wiedwald fortunate?
Yes Felix Wiedwald did keep a clean-sheet and Leeds have now only conceded two goals in four matches, but it could be said he was somewhat fortunate to do so. On the stroke of half-time, Wiedwald parried Nelson Oliveira’s long-range effort right into the path of James Maddison who missed a glorious chance to level the scores after firing over. The save was far from convincing, but he got away with. He also got away with it at QPR where his howler did not affect the result.
He redeemed himself with a very good close-range save from Alex Pritchard, when the Norwich midfielder looked destined to score. Wiedwald made himself big, and blocked the effort. With the impressive pairing of Cooper and Jansson in front of him, there is plenty of resilience about Leeds’ defence, especially when you throw Ayling and Beradi into the equation. Wiedwald’s throwing is very good, and he has the ability to start attacks quickly with the distance he can generate. However, there are still a few question marks over him.
- Play-offs in sight
Leeds weren’t at their best by any means, but they did enough to come away with the all-important three points and continue their recent revival after a poor dip in form. Indeed, Leeds have now accumulated 13 points from 18 games to put themselves right back in contention for a play-off place.
Norwich are a side that are clearly struggling, losing for the fourth time in a row away from home, and they will feel like they could have taken something from the game. Pritchard hit the bar as well as being denied by Wiedwald, and Maddison should have scored just before the interval. However, over the course of the game, Leeds edged it, and showed enough endeavour to take the points. Such spirit continues the winning feeling. As the dip in form illustrated, momentum and confidence is so crucial for this side. Therefore, Leeds can move on to next week’s Yorkshire derby versus Hull at Elland Road with plenty of optimism.