It has been exactly one week since the season began in Bolton. We were heading into the unknown, new manager, new players and a new owner, new optimism and a new outlook. It started well, a very good win at Bolton that proved, in patches that we were looking to make progress from last season. A lot has happened since.
Liam Bridcutt Dropped For Both League Games
Last seasons captain seemed to be having a very good pre-season. Clips of him in training seemed to show a player who had found his confidence and swagger back after a very tough year last season, one where I feel he hadn’t ever really been fit for. The cup game against Port Vale was a clear chance for him to impress, which he did, but off the bench. I think he can offer us leadership if he is in the squad, but forcing his way back in isn’t so easy. Kalvin Phillips got off to a good start but he was dominated yesterday. You can’t help wonder if the opening day goals at Bolton have covered up the weaker side to his game.
Samu Saiz Needs To Be Starting
A debut hat-trick. Something that barely ever happens in football, let alone at Leeds United. Saiz had a stormer against Port Vale and despite the level of opposition everything about his performance oozed class. All three goals were full of quality, and a dummy to help set-up Caleb Ekuban rounded off what was arguably the most impressive debut in recent Leeds history. He didn’t have the same impact off the bench against Preston because the game was closed up. You can’t help but feel if he had played instead of Pablo Hernandez we would have created more. A start against Fulham almost certainly has to happen.
Andrea Radrizzani Is Thinking Long-Term
New contracts are the topic here. Liam Cooper, Gaetano Berardi and Eunan O’Kane all signed new deals. Cooper and O’Kane got four-year-deals and Berardi a three-year-deal. Radrizzani isn’t thinking short-term and these deals show that. They add to the new deals for Kalvin Phillips, Baily Peacock-Farrell and Tyler Denton. Radrizzani has already bought back Elland Road and invested in the squad but you can’t help thinking with the season started he is now tying players down to make sure next summer he can only concentrate on brining players in and not having another situation like Charlie Taylor.
We Still Need A Plan B
Yesterday was very frustrating. I have seen a lot of people on social media complaining about the time-wasting by Preston and I agree, but the first half they outplayed us. We were ragged left and right as Preston dominated the ball and we couldn’t get hold of it. I’m not so sure on what formation we ended up with but it looked like a 3-4-2-1. I don’t really know but we need to be changing systems earlier in games like that. It was Garry Monk’s downfall and Thomas Christiansen certainly gave it a go. It didn’t work on the day and maybe two up front needs to be an option.
Thomas Christiansen Will Have Us Playing More Attractive Football, But Patience Is Needed
It was clear in the first game against Bolton that we are trying to play a much more interesting brand of football. The second and third goals were moves from the back and through the midfield, straight off the training ground. Christiansen often talks about his philosophy that he learned when he played under Johan Cruyff and although it’s clear what he’s trying to do it will take time. The performance in the second half against Port Vale was quality and if we were trying to play like that week-in, week-out then we will have fans who enjoy watching the side. Patience will be key, but hopefully the likes of Samu Saiz starting will help push us on.
Photo courtesy of http://www.followmeandleedsunited.co.uk/ Well worth a look at the travels of the wonderful Heidi Haigh, a lifelong Leeds United fan who travels up and down the country.