Leeds United 0-4 Cardiff City

The formations. Pressing was on the agenda for both sides, but Cardiff's quality eventually told.

Clinical Cardiff destroyed lacklustre Leeds as Dave Jones’s side moved level on points with fellow Championship high-flyers QPR. Three quickfire goals in the second half killed the game as a contest, but the home side could so easily have made more of a spell in the first half when they were on top.

Leeds came into the game six points clear of the relegation zone, and knowing a win would lift them to within a point of the play-off spots. Their guests, save for one exceptional performance at Coventry last week, haven’t been firing on all cylinders so far this season, but such is the calibre of player available to Dave Jones, he’s managed to keep the Bluebirds happily inhaling the exhaust fumes of Neil Warnock’s Park Rangers.

Cocksure Cardiff immediately got comfy on the ball as their hosts sat off and pressed – furiously – from the halfway line. When Leeds did get the ball, they were unfussy and direct – the game’s first real chance coming when George McCartney dispossessed Chris Burke; the left-back finding Luciano Becchio to hold it up and lay on Bradley Johnson’s cross for the goal-hanging presence of David Somma.

The non-stop pressing unnerved Cardiff, and Jay Bothroyd, Craig Bellamy and Michael Chopra grew more irate with each robbing tackle: Leeds swarming back and doubling-up on the ball-holder. Gradually, Leeds edged their way into the game, and by pushing the defence as near to the deep-lying forwards as possible, Cardiff’s passing corridors were closed down. Although Chris Burke dropped back looking to collect and carry, the playmaking Peter Whittingham was less pass-spraying quarterback and more defensive screen. Continue reading