please visit our sponsors

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Foxes expose United’s lack of quality.


Only poor finishing, a bit of luck and a crossbar saved Leeds from another humiliating reverse last night. To say that we were second best doesn’t do justice to the superiority enjoyed by Leicester, as the Foxes served Leeds a footballing masterclass.

From the very first minute, the visitors formation and crucially their extra width caused United all sorts of problems. Leeds could have been 3 adrift before Grayson reverted to a 4-1-4-1 formation with top goalscorer, Davide Somma operating on left wing. The change in system restricted Leicester’s options but not their dominance… The ‘Mighty’ Whites literally had no answer to the high tempo, fluid performance of ‘Sven’s Men’. Becchio’s goal was the only real half-chance that we created in 95 minutes!

We played over an hour with 5 midfielders and it wasn’t until the introduction of Neil Kilkenny that we actually passed to any of them, favouring instead to punt long to an out-numbered Luciano Becchio, it all combined for a miserable night at Elland Road.

Rather than berate the fact that we were clearly not good enough last night, and could easily be licking the wounds of another 5 or 6 goal humiliation, lets look at the reasons why we failed to compete with a team who were in the relegation zone prior to kick-off…

The main reason is that individually too many of our players are just not good enough for Championship football; in recent years plenty of Leeds players have been accused of lack of effort, lack of caring or even apathy towards the club, but I don’t believe that is the case with the current squad – they are simply just not good enough, operating at least 1 division higher than they should be. Richard Naylor for instance could easily have cost us 3 goals last night as a direct results of individual errors. We’re not talking poor marking here, we’re talking blatant misjudgements, bad positioning and/or lack of concentration, as it was only one Leicester goal can be laid at the door of our club captain. Add that to the catalogue of errors already this season and the number of goals he can account for must surely be in double figures!

It’s hard on Richard Naylor, a revelation when he arrived amid similar defensive disasters after the reign of Gary McAllister, he unfortunately appears to have become the victim of age and the step up in quality that promotion brings with it. Alongside Neil Collins, it is a defensive pairing screaming out for leadership that neither player commands. I dare say that along side Paddy Kisnorbo or similar defensive behemoth both players would prosper. As it is they look very pedestrian every time we are required to defend.

Whilst Naylor can point to a relatively successful career that is only faltering due to his age and the quality of opposition, the likes of Jonny Howson, Bradley Johnson and Robert Snodgrass have no such saving grace.

Eyebrows may be raised by the mention of Robert Snodgrass in what is a very critical article but despite his recent injury problem can anybody remember the last thing he did in a Leeds shirt that an average semi-professional player couldn’t muster? Are we looking as far back as the curling winner against Southampton almost a year ago!?! His decision making and distribution leave a lot to be desired. That said, I’m sure he has enough in his locker to rise to the challenge of  The Championship. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for messrs Howson and Johnson.

Despite the odd flash of brilliance, usually reserved for critical moments for which we have all been very grateful (see Bristol Rovers HOME May 2010 and Carlisle AWAY May 2008 for details), Jonny Howson remains a bit of an enigma. Should you be dominating  a game or competing against a lesser midfield then Jonny will produce a performance to rival anything that Zinedine Zidane had to offer, but should you chasing a game or struggling to get a foothold then Mr Howson literally evaporates and offers absolutely nothing aside from the odd misplaced pass or an incredible ability to get dispossessed in his own half. Unfortunately, our vice captain will never be able to dictate a game. Similar to Naylor, mistakes from Howson have attributed to the concession of several goals so far this term. Having said all that, I’d love him to do well and prove all the doubters wrong.

Surely the most frustrating player to grace Elland Road in recent times is Bradley Johnson, a decent player who is undermined by his own decision making. Be it sky-high shots, wayward free-kicks or over ambitious passing it all culminates in a player who is again probably playing higher than his natural level.

Despite all of this, these players have earned the right to operate at this level, they are the ones who gained promotion out of League One and the fact that they’re not good enough must surely leave the blame with our manager. I am in full support of Simon Grayson but of those that started last night I’d say only the two full-backs and the two front men have done enough to be considered Championship players, and question marks still remain over Max Gradel and Neil Kilkenny who tried in vein to rescue a desperate situation last night.

I do try not to overreact on this site, it is very easy when you control a medium such as this to vent your spleen over a performance such as that witnessed yesterday but the facts are that we have lost 3 of the last 4 and only a nervy victory at a beleaguered Middlesbrough team has kept The White Army from pressing the panic button.

The most distressing element of last night’s defeat was that we played with a five man midfield to combat a team that were better than us, both collectively and individually and yet we still couldn’t get near them. This is a team that has struggled thus far and were 2nd bottom, We literally had no answers…

Follow The ‘Dirty Leeds’ Blog on Facebook, Twitter, RSS News Feeds, E-mail Subscription and YouTube



  1. kilkenny made about one pass so dont try and build him up, hes simply not good enough

  2. I agree, but at least the defence tried to pass to him. At least he tried to make himself available rather than hiding like Howson and Faye

  3. Kilkenny Johnson Naylor etc all out contract
    The key will be if any are offered terms to stay

    If they are we are in more trouble if it is part of transition then so be it

    We need Kasper back asap

  4. Lets face it most of the squad are out of their depth in this league,the only game where we have looked like a good team this year was millwall,i would never slag grayson off but i'm starting to doubt his abilty,i know he is young and learning blah blah blah but fist shot on target last night was 83rd minute at home infront of 23000 leeds fans is not good enough !!

  5. having seen some drivel in my time watching leeds icannot remember seeing such an inept performance,we could have been 4-0 down before grayson decided to take wat off, god no's what the score will be monday with bellamy running at our defence !

  6. I hate to say it but I agree. SG will not drop his favourites. He signs players and then never gives them a go. Nunez and Grella last season being examples plus Aidy. We have not played well for such a long time. Very disappointed.


Comment here. No login required.