So yesterday wasn’t the game-changing Deadline Day that you wanted. Let’s move on and refocus on who we do have in White instead of who we could have had, shall we?
Hold up; August wasn’t really what we wanted either, was it? 21st place, 1 league win, several bad losses... no great way to spin that.
There’s no denying that the Leeds United fanbase that was promised playoffs or refunds was disappointed with the month, and the lack of additions on Wednesday to the less-than-potent attack didn’t help our moods.
But for our staff, there was one clear bright point to August, one player that came in on the summer Transfer Window and earned a nod as our first ever TIAT Player of the Month. The pressure on him is going to be greater for the next four months than we want it to be, but here’s hoping he can deliver.
Each month, our staff is going to vote for our TIAT Player of the Month, and then we’re going to ask you to join in and nominate and vote for one yourself. Will yours match ours? Hopefully there are enough good performances that it won’t be as clear cut as we think August is, but you’ll have the chance to tell us.
So here we go, in Weekly Wednesday Roundtable style... our votes and arguments for The Through It All Together Player of the Month for August 2016... and don’t forget to check the bottom for the award card you won’t want to miss.
Who was your Leeds Player of the Month for August? Why?
James Mahoney: My Leeds United Player of the Month for August is… Marcus Antonsson.
I didn’t really know much about Antonsson before he arrived at Elland Road, but I had heard about his goal scoring record at Kalmar FF. However, I wasn’t sure he would cope with the physicality of the Championship, and his brief cameo against QPR didn’t do anything to change my mind.
However, when he came on at Fleetwood he took his goal in true striker style and the whole team improved after he was introduced.
In his first start, against Birmingham, he was unlucky not to score when he hit the post and he was a constant threat.
His best performance, for me, came against Fulham where he was strong and held up the ball really well. His turn of pace and touch was brilliant and he looked dangerous throughout.
At Hillsborough, he once again showed great movement and pace and scored with a bullet header.
Last time out at Forest, Antonsson was once again unlucky not to add to his Leeds total and he worked hard all game. In August, consistency has been a problem throughout the team but with Marcus Antonsson we have a hard-working, smart striker who has been the silver lining in a difficult start. He has been 8/10 at every game and he should be proud of his contribution throughout August.
Anthony Linley: With only 4 points from five games, and United not performing well, it would be difficult to pick a Player of the Month had it not been for one explosive debut. It was not the debut of one of Monk’s summer signings either, but that of a player who’s been with the club since he was 7 years old.
Academy prospect Tyler Denton was given a chance and took it. 20 years old is not young these days for Academy stars to make their first team debuts, and that highlights just how he has stuck at it for the club he supported as a boy.
After making a stunning debut against Luton, where he scored a peach of a goal, he has set himself up with a hard act to follow. Yet if he shows as much tenacity and determination as he has done so far in his career, I’m sure we’ll see similar performances from his soon.
After his performance against Luton, Denton was rewarded with a new 3 year contract by the Whites, illustrating how highly they rate him. How highly I rate him is shown in my Through It All Together Leeds United Player of the month nomination.
Sean Ryan: My player of the month is newbie Marcus Antonsson. He's scored fairly regularly since he started playing games, and he is starting to forge the making of a very potent partnership with Chris Wood.
Since the big Kiwi signed there was a lot of debate about how the best way to play him was. Alongside Antonsson seems to be working. The big Swede reminds me a lot of big Lee Chapman and Sniffer Clark. With time, the lad could hit the goals to put us back in the big time.
Ben Mallis: In a struggling team, it was hard to pick one player from the rest. And as much as I wanted to cheat and grant this special TIAT award to the poor goal posts keeping Robert Green in the first team, I am going to go with Hadi Sacko.
His performance in the Wednesday match was arguably the best put forward by a United player this season. In those 90 minutes of football, Sacko displayed his pace and showed an ability to create opportunities for his frontline. His work in setting up Marcus Antonsson’s opener was outstanding.
Sacko is clearly the best performing winger at the club right now, and a rare bright spot on the field this season. He is an easy choice for my first Player of the Month nomination.
Jack Dudley: My player of the month for August is Marcus Antonsson.
Antonsson arrived at Leeds with a fair amount of pressure on his shoulders. 13 goals from Chris Wood last season wasn't enough to mount a genuine push for promotion, and it was hoped Antonsson would help pick up the slack up front. While he hasn't set the world alight since arriving at Elland Road, his performances have been consistent.
He is industrious and works hard for the team. Often making inventive runs not always for his own benefit, the Swede has a high football IQ, and often sees things others don't.
A bit more work on his finishing will see him take a few more chances and I predict he will finish the season with at least 15 goals in the league.
Joshua Gilbert: My player of the month is Marcus Antonsson. The newly acquired Swede has just been on form for us, and he always seems to be at the right place at the right time. His tying goal vs. Fleetwood Town turned the tide in that game, and he is the kind of player who can single-handedly win games.
It's strange that he has yet to earn a call up to the Swedish national team, though he was rumored to be on the bubble for Euro 2016. Without Ibrahimovic, they’ll need a striker to fill his shoes and I don't know if John Guidetti is that man for them. If Antonsson keeps scoring, I think he will get a call up eventually. Let’s hope he keeps bagging goals for us too.
Johnny Wakefield: I really didn’t know what to expect when this season kicked off at QPR, but I definitely didn’t expect to lose 3-0 in the opener. If we’d had to pick Player-of-the-Month after that match, I expect we all would’ve given up blogging and headed to the pub. But that match only saw 30 minutes of my August Player of the Month, and since then, I think he’s earned it.
Hadi Sacko and Tyler Denton deserve their nods above, but Marcus Antonsson has been my run-away Player of the Month for August. He is in the right spaces, can make something out of nothing, seems to hustle on every ball, and is the creative attacking force we needed him to be.
He’s not perfect, and he can’t do it all on his own, but as the gents above have argued and shown in video clips, he has been our most impressive player. That goal against Fleetwood (albeit, Fleetwood) in the first win of the season, the first Leeds goal of the season in fact, was a beauty and I want to see more like it.
My honorable mentions for the award: Liam Bridcutt (yes, I know he just signed on), Kalvin Phillips, and Hadi Sacko (if he didn’t always shoot the ball to the moon, he’d likely be my winner).
So that’s it. Marcus Antonsson wins our first Player of the Month award here at Through It All Together in a landslide with five votes to Hadi Sacko’s and Tyler Denton’s one. Congrats to the Swede, who gets his own player card from us for his efforts.
“The Swedish Sniffer.” Can we make that nickname a thing? He probably needs to score more than 2 goals in White to earn that.... but it sounds good to us.
We’ll have details tomorrow on how you can vote for our first Readers’ Player of the Month, but feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments and on Twitter.
And check back here on October 1st for our September POTM; let’s hope there’s a larger pool of impressive performances to choose from a month from today. Thanks for reading. MOT