The Leeds United bench was something to behold on Saturday afternoon. Kemar Roofe, Modou Barrow and Hadi Sacko all sat and watched on as the side struggled to break down a tough Cardiff City side. Alfonso Pedraza and Stuart Dallas were on the park but were having problems. With Leeds looking to rediscover the form of a few weeks back is it time for Monk to release the pace on the flanks again?
It was a key part to our great form in 2016 but injuries and lack of form in recent weeks have meant that we have opted for other avenues. Stuart Dallas and Souleymane Doukara have been trying to bring their games to the flanks along with the trickery and direct running of Kemar Roofe. We have added Mo Barrow and Alfonso Pedraza to the squad and both possess raw pace. Pedraza took off yesterday but as he cut inside he lost his feet, the speed was evident but he couldn’t really use it as Cardiff sat back and said “break us down” to Leeds United, and Leeds United didn’t have the answer. Sacko got in behind two or three times when he came on and you can’t help but think had he started in place of Dallas one of those runs could have resulted in end product.
Hadi Sacko caused chaos in the first half of the season despite struggling in key moments. His pace and direct running was a feature of our play and his relationship with Luke Ayling was very strong. I think he will start against Bristol City after his performance yesterday and Pedraza may well start on the opposite wing. If not then I would fully expect a debut for Modou Barrow who is having to wait to try to make his impression in the side. It is now our most competitive position and Souleymane Doukara, Kemar Roofe and Stuart Dallas will all feel as if they deserve to get the shirt, although the latter is struggling to impress. Ayling and Dallas were very poor together yesterday and it would be a surprise to see Dallas keep his place.
We need to be more clever about how we go about business. The link between the midfield and Chris Wood has become very laboured and it seemed as though Pablo Hernandez had to do the whole thing on his own yesterday. If we can pull teams out of position we can punish them again, but we need to realise that Cardiff’s game plan will not be a one-off at Elland Road for the remainder of the season. If we can get in behind teams again we can turn this around very fast. We haven’t been doing it since the turn of the year and for me it is the key to pushing through the next few months. e have options and we need to be brave and direct. Tomorrow night we may see Monk go for broke down the flanks at Elland Road.