While deploying a more aggressive lineup using Robert Snodgrass, Luciano Becchio and Malcolm Christie in an attacking trident, Leeds fell victim to the still slow pace of attack that has cast this year aside and lost 2-0 to Carlisle United today.
It was a pathetic performance to be quite honest and one that I am provided little clue that will change. Leeds in all its attacking ability seems to have one foot on the brake at all times and instead of attacking, finds "ways" to lose. This notion was executed to "perfection" today as whilst they have quality finishers in-place, the service leading up to the final touch is that of a middle-table League One side. While Fabian Delph may be staying throughout the balance of the campaign, his abilities along with that of Robert Snodgrass, Luciano Becchio and Jonny Howson, amongst others is to waste as they simply are being tactically slowed down. The club should be dictating the match but they do not and suffer from painfully slow to watch transition between touches. Today's formation was satisfactory but what was done with it was deplorable. Whether it is Simon Grayson or Gary McAllister, the problem is the same and equally so is the result.
Tactically the match was controlled by the Carlisle United, who scouted Leeds well and knew how to control the oppositions pace. It actually isn't the difficult to do so and a well disciplined League Two could equally do the same given the remarkably predictable play. However returning to the match, four minutes before the half hour mark Danny Graham gave the visitors the lead from close-range with Michael Bridges doubling it nine-minutes later off a dreadful defensive display that is insulting to review. While Leeds had opportunities to get back into the match, the pace was completely off, the mindset wrong and the final touch was missing.
Simon Grayson has yet to issue comments on the match and whilst they will likely search for clues to the loss and bang the drum of getting back to work, I question whether they will find the solution. Leeds needs to address the attacking malaise and to change that it must provide a vote of confidence to its younger players and tell them to win matches. That they can do, if given the go-ahead but I question if the actual problem will be understood. Mr. Grayson in all his talented managerial ability must wear a "new hat" and tell professionals who do not possess the fitness to stay up-tempo or the attacking resolve to hunt for goals, that Leeds is not your home. Failure to do so and I can assure you the roots to League One will thicken.
Leeds returns to action next Saturday against Brighton.