Garry Monk’s name is being sung around Elland Road on matchdays this season – and the praise from the Leeds United faithful seems very much deserved.The most notable change under the stewardship of the former Swansea defender has been the Yorkshire club’s astute defence – their eight clean sheets so far this season matches their total from the whole of last year’s Sky Bet Championship campaign.
That statistic has helped them to fifth in the table going into Christmas.
Keeping it clean
20th Aug: 2-0 v Sheffield Wednesday
17th Sep: 2-0 v Cardiff City
24th Sep: 1-0 v Ipswich Town
22nd Oct: 1-0 v Wolves
29th Oct: 2-0 v Burton Albion
3rd Dec: 2-0 v Aston Villa
13th Dec: 2-0 v Reading
17th Dec: 1-0 v Brentford
They’ve got a new-look back four for this season, too - new signings Luke Ayling, Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley line up at the back alongside Charlie Taylor and in front of goalkeeper Rob Green.
The total of eight for Leeds means they have the joint fourth highest number of shut-outs in the division. Second-placed Brighton & Hove Albion lead the way with 13, and are closely followed by Derby County on 12, and leaders Newcastle on 10. Then come Leeds, Brentford, Ipswich, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday on eight.
At the other end, Nottingham Forest have only managed to keep a clean sheet on one occasion – against Ipswich on Matchday 17. Rotherham, Cardiff and Blackburn sit with just one more than Forest, on two.