As the End of Times approaches, the Biblical Apocalypse creeps forward and the Day of Reckoning is upon the world – look to the horizon for you will see four brothers approaching.
The four riders are from the Book of Revelations, the last book of the Bible’s New Testament. They will descend on the Earth and wreak the plans of their master as all humanity is swept before them.
In footballing terms, that is what Leeds United are relying on as they look to maintain their improved form of late. Improved form that has seen the Whites push into 10th place in the Sky Bet. Improved form that has seen fans gain a sense of hope. Improved form that has seen them ride through games as a unit.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Welcome Leeds United fans to riders Ayling, Jansson, Bartley and Taylor; welcome to your own riders of doom.
In all seriousness, the whole of the United back four at the moment are playing as a unit. We were strong at the corners last season with Charlie Taylor and Gaetano Berardi locking down the edges of the back four but it was the softness at the core that exposed us, left us vulnerable.
That soft underbelly has been plugged somewhat with the two loanees of Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson, two big centre-backs who impose themselves on the opposition. Their strength and steel has led to a spreading effect right along the back, from that a sense of cohesion has developed. Gaetano Berardi has been missing since limping out of the first game of the season against Queens Park Rangers – his place being taken by the incoming Luke Ayling.
This burgeoning strength was ramped up when Pontus Jansson signed from Torino and the Four Horsemen were complete, their strength amplified. Forget about the New Testament and the Book of Revelations, since Jansson completed the current back four at Elland Road, Leeds’ play has been a revelation and this is testament to how they both play together and have solved that problematic centre – they are even sweeping all before them and defending corners for Heaven’s sake!
In the nine Sky Bet Championship games of this season since Pontus Jansson’s arrival from Serie A, Leeds have conceded just five goals and never more than a single goal in games where they have conceded. Compare that to the nine goals conceded in the five game before his arrival with QPR, Birmingham and Nottingham Forest all putting Leeds to the sword by at least two goals.
Now I am not saying that Pontus Jansson is the lone rider and chief Horseman amongst the back four at Elland Road, but with his introduction the results have been less apocalyptic in nature. Saying that, he could be the lynchpin that finally pulled the rest together, that final cog in the machine.
In times of darkness, look to the horizon but not in fear. Look in hope, for the four riders approaching are our Horsemen. Forget Death, War, Famine and Pestilence and remember the names of Ayling, Bartley, Jansson and Taylor instead.