Give them nothing, take from them everything – this is what I want to see plastered on the changing room walls at Elland Road from now till the end of the season.
After the QPR game on Saturday, the minutia of the 90 minutes was picked over, like a seasoned lobster picker armed with a titanium toothpick. The fact that we had no shots on goal let alone on target, justified the ” a point gained not two points lost” thinking. The fact that this was infuriating, is testament to how the team has grown in the last 8 months.
The defence has been the cornerstone of our team. At the start of the season, who knew anything about Luke Ayling, Captain Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson? Beradi, we already know from his spat with Leon Best in November 2015, has a particular set of skills and he has been perfection as a stand in for that left back position in Charlie Taylors injury induced absence. Even though our history of playing players out of position, is not exactly glowing, our little Swiss right back has been outstanding so far and a real unsung hero. The commitment he shows epitomises the fighting team spirit our defence shows.
Chris Wood remains on fire. When he gets the ball, he takes a shot. So far he has racked up 22 goals in the League and 3 in the Cup. He is the top goal scorer as it stands in the league this season. When was the last time Leeds United could claim those bragging rights? Certainly not in the last decade in my memory anyway.
So comes the contentious issue of our midfield. Regular readers of this page will know how much I am in favour of the Phillips & O Kane partnership utilised to such good effect at the beginning of the season before O Kane got injured. To me, the physical presence of those two in the middle winning and then holding the ball up, made those two my first choice picks. However, O Kane struggled after his injury and young Kalvin’s love affair with red cards so far this season, means that this dynamic duo may not reprise their roles again this season. I still think this is where we are lacking, a Luke Murphy or Big Dave ( aka your modern day Vinnys and Kamaras – thanks Dave), would make a huge difference. Unlike most Leeds fans, I don’t think we needed to get a striker in January, we have Roofe and The Duke. Garry with two Rs just needs to play them up front if and when the need arises. Whilst I cannot fault the effort that Vieira and Bridcutt put in, both their displays on Saturday ( and other games recently) were woefully lacking. Bridcutt is playing far too deep and bartley and Co certainly do not need any cover, thank you. The substitutions made a massive difference, but too little too late. The Duke should have come on a lot sooner, really the changes should have all been made within ten minutes of the second half, as we did not look like we were going to score at all. Pablo still looks like he is struggling to get fit. Again, I like him, but he still doesn’t look like he can last the full 90 minutes. Starting with Dallas would be a better option at home, with Sacko coming on as sub. Our two new wingers have potential, but realistically Luke Ayling proved more effective at getting forward than any of our other players.
We still have a chance at second. I am not bothered about going up as Champions. Newcastle and Brighton are not invincible, if anything Fulham are playing well and are a worry. We need to maintain our defensive capabilities, and with Ayling out for a couple of games, it may be time to play Taylor, Jansson, Capt Bartley and Beradi in front of Green. Wood is on International Duty again next weekend. He is one of our hardest working players and by far, he is the one who racks up the most air miles when it comes to “weekends off”.
Like it says at the top of the page, we need to give them nothing and take everything we can get in the run up to the end of the season.
Come on, let’s do this.