Leeds put on a very worrying show in the first half of todays final pre-season fixture at home to Oxford. Thomas Christiansen picked what we thought would be his ideal starting XI for the game at Bolton, but surely after the 90 minutes was up he was reconsidering his options, of which there are many.

We tried to play out from the off, this was very clear and was led by new keeper Felix Wiedwald. Although I am keen to see this, on a couple of occasions he pushed it and O’Kane made sure he knew about it, as did youngster Matthew Pennington. In a nutshell the defence played well but Cooper needs to stop breaking hearts with the diagonals, Eunan O’Kane was class alongside Phillips who didn’t do much, and in front of them was where the problem was at its worst. Pablo Hernandez was truly awful, arguably the worst I’ve ever seen him, up there with his performance with Birmingham away. If he plays like that everything breaks down, and in my opinion he needs to be used off the bench, and only if we are out of ideas. Maybe that sounds harsh, but that’s my opinion, and its been formed over the last year, not just today. His performances dropped massively this year and he looked a man who knows he will be out of the team soon.

Along with Eunan O’Kane there was another player who caught the eye, Kemar Roofe. He was direct and creative as well as getting in the score sheet after some very good work from my man of the match, Eunan O’Kane. In general we were extremely poor and at half time the worry was that we didn’t look any better than last season at all. Wood seemed as isolated as ever and Alioski wasn’t really hitting the heights of the last few games, but that will come with time, he wasn’t the issue in that team. After the break we made changes after about 15 minutes and introduced Hadi Sacko, Stuart Dallas and key man Samu Saiz. I say key because the game changed. All of a sudden he was making things happen where Pablo was losing the ball. He glided with the ball and both Sacko (without the end product) and Dallas looked very good. Sacko caused mayhem but often his final ball let him down. Klich, Anita, Bridcutt and Ekuban all came on, Klich looked very good on the ball and Ekuban linked with others, both looking good.

Player Ratings

Wiedwald – 7 – Needs to make sure he doesn’t overdo the passing out, but was good with his handling and his passing was almost spot on every time.

Ayling – 5 – For me he seems to be losing his head a bit, maybe the arrival of Anita hasn’t gone down well with him. Got smoked a few times by the Oxford winger today.

Pennington – 7 – Much better in the second half and played alongside Cooper and not Jansson. Will be a good signing for us.

Cooper – 6 – Actually defended well but I can’t cope with the relentless long balls, it is simply not good enough.

Berardi – 6 – Flew into tackles and good defensively, a bit sloppy with the ball at times but nailed on left back. Commitment head and shoulders above the rest.

O’Kane – 9 – Controlled the majority of the moves we ran, brilliant on the ball and got stuck into the Oxford side. Best player on the park.

Phillips – 5 – Really quiet and didn’t have any influence on the game. Surely others are better options in that position.

Roofe – 8 – Very good today. Quick, decisive, creative and influential in his play. really stepped his game up the last two games, could be a key player if he continues this into the season.

Hernandez – 3 – To be honest I don’t know how low a rating can really go. This is me being generous in all honesty.

Alioski – 5 – I’ve seen him play very well the last couple of games and he will be a key player for us, just wasn’t really at the races today. Hardest worker on the park though.

Wood – 5 – Still looks off the pace at the moment, he has to catch up with the others as he missed the first few weeks of pre-season.

Subs

Sacko – 7 – If he had picked out a few better crosses today he would have created goals but didn’t. Caused problems, very good getting into key positions.

Saiz – 8 – Brilliant show for the little Spanish number 21. Impressive as he controlled the forward play towards the end. Very creative and clever. can’t wait to see him this season.

Dallas – 7 – A new man this summer. A wonderful goal after a busy performance. Played to his strengths rather than trying to run at players.

Bridcutt – 6

Klich – 7

Anita – 7

Ekuban – 7

 

About Author

Born in Gibraltar, raised in Scotland from a very young age. Been a huge fan of Leeds United since I could walk and talk, thanks to my Dad, the English half of me. After a few years in Australia I moved to Leeds, the trips from Scotland down to the city a few times a season didn't cut it. Love the city. Love the people, and the 12 hour round trip to Elland Road is about a 20 minute round trip. Love writing about the club, the more I write the more I feel comfortable doing it. As long as it's enjoyable I'll continue to do so, keep looking to step it up and progress as well. Leeds United is more than just a football team for me, as is it with so many others.

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