Paul Heckingbottom has said that Leeds now have nothing to lose going into games and he has a very valid point. He tried something new on Saturday and players let him down, the front three a huge issue. When we did get the ball into either Gjanni Alioksi or Kemar Roofe the team crumbled, and in the middle we were poor throughout. If we just set-up like we ended, who plays?
The two formations would be the front three that Heckingbottom started with, with three midfielders or a 4-4-2 which he ended the game with. Both are more interesting that the 4-2-3-1 we have been failing with. We are capable of playing that way but we need other options because teams can just predict us and make sure they have a clear idea how to stop us. If we cut out the Saiz or Hernandez we have nothing going forwards, and the other formations can help this. In a 4-3-3 the two wingers and striker are supposed to stay high up the pitch and get close to the striker but that didn’t happen on Saturday. If you did go with a front three then playing Saiz and Hernandez up with Lasogga would be a very interesting option. The wingers at the club are failing again so having two playmakers would make it very attacking and unpredictable. That would leave Forshaw with two others in the middle of the pitch.
Tyler Roberts might as well be ruled out for the season, the unfortunate striker has cracked his shin in training so it’s hard to predict when he will be back, and how long it will take him to get up to speed. The good news is that Caleb Ekuban is fit again and hopefully he can stay that way and get a run in the side between now and the end of the season. The Ghanaian striker gives us the quick option up front and in a 4-4-2 he is the perfect partner for Pierre-Michel Lasogga. The German striker could do with players close to him and that is how the game ended on Saturday, with a bank of four in the middle of the pitch. Sacko and Hernandez played wide and Forshaw and O’Kane in the middle. If we can get Saiz and Hernandez playing in that bank of four but give them freedom to roam with Forshaw and someone in the middle, two up front we have a very exciting line-up. A front four of Pablo, Saiz, Lasogga and Ekuban would cause mayhem for teams, and it still leaves a solid base in the team.
A three at the back is that last option. You would use Dallas and De Bock as wing-backs, or Alioksi because his defensive work is much better than his attacking. A deep midfielder in Forshaw and Pablo Hernandez and Samu Saiz floating in the middle supporting the front two. A back three of Berardi, Jansson and either Cooper or Pennington and you have another exciting team. The 4-2-3-1 works at times, it has done and will again but we can’t just play it every week and expect to surprise teams. It has become easy to play against Leeds United, especially for teams coming to Elland Road and that was the basis of our success last season and the start of this season. Let’s be honest, if you saw the team sheet and saw Ekuban and Lasogga, Pablo Hernandez and Samu Saiz, after the teams we have been seeing you would be entitled to get very excited for the upcoming game.