It’s that time of the week again and we are looking much better since the last international break. The pressure on Thomas Christiansen is lifting after a couple of convincing wins over Boro and Barnsley and now we welcome Aston Villa on Friday night under the Elland Road lights.
GK – Felix Wiedwald – The German keeper made a winning return to the side on Saturday and kept our first clean sheet in months, his replacement Andy Lonergan managed just one in his spell in the side, simply not good enough. The distribution is key from that area and it was much better last week.
RB – Luke Ayling – Been much better since the break and the rest could have done him good. He wasn’t playing well at all before and to be honest his positioning cost us more than a few points in the run up to that break. Since then he looks back to his normal self and really led the fight in the Yorkshire Derby last week.
CB – Pontus Jansson – We may as well forget about the Wolves game in which many had a nightmare but Jansson is another who seems to be re-energised since the international break. He needs to be playing well if he wants to make the Sweden squad for Russia and seems to be more comfortable since he came back.
CB – Liam Cooper – If I’m honest I want to see Conor Shaughnessy given a run in the side alongside Jansson but Cooper was decent against Barnsley and we should be keeping the majority of that side, although I would change a couple. Cooper is better at home, no doubt about that and he will have to be on his toes tomorrow against a quick forward line.
LB – Cameron Borthwick-Jackson – Gaetano Berardi may well have an issue tomorrow against Albert Adomah if he starts and that is an area that would worry me. He will start, I’m certain of that but for me, but based purely on the speed of Borthwick-Jackson I would start him over Berardi.
CM – Ronaldo Vieira – Without doubt he needs to be back in this side. Eunan O’Kane is going through a rough patch of form and for me was the weakest link on the pitch last week, the middle of the pitch just simply not good enough. Vieira had one of his best games in a Leeds shirt in the fixture last season, alongside Kalvin Phillips.
CM – Kalvin Phillips – I still need to watch the game back from last Saturday, I have been slacking a bit this week and what I saw from the away end was a decent performance but many seem to disagree. I will get round to it, but for me he is the only option for the more advance midfield role of the two currently.
RW – Gjanni Alioski – The winger has come back from the break looking a different beast. Four goals in four games and the performances have been so much better the last couple of weeks. His ability to give as an outlet is better than any other and he has been finding Saiz in pockets of space the last few weeks.
CAM – Samu Saiz – Obviously.
LW – Pablo Hernandez – Has been much better since getting dropped and to be fair Christiansen was right to drop him from the team. Creates space for Saiz and has the ability to pick a perfect pass, especially with the movement of Caleb Ekuban now back in the fold.
ST – Caleb Ekuban – For me he is the best option for the striking position and I’m delighted he is back. Looked like he would get a goal last week but just a bit rusty when the chances came. such a livewire and adds something unique to the side. Quick, powerful and extremely hard-working.