I will try not to be too gloomy after waking up with a horrendous hangover to go watch Leeds United turn in a terrible performance against Sheffield Wednesday. After all, we’re still in 5th with 20 points from 11 matches and that isn’t a bad position to be in.
This was a performance with very little in terms of redeeming features once the first 20 mintues had passed. Once Gary Hooper put the Owls in front Leeds looked tired, flat, soft, and seemed to (much like away at Cardiff City) lack confidence despite their strong start to the season.
The 3-0 scoreline in no way flattered Wednesday and on another day it could, and perhaps should, have been more.
Felix Wiedwald - Very much at fault for the 1st goal, some say he is at fault for the 2nd one as well although I feel the blame is on the defence for that one. He inspried no confidence with his lack of command of his area (deja vu from typing that). To be fair to him he did make a few decent saves including one very good one tipped onto the bar to deny Hooper his hat-trick. No-one is going to remember the saves though.
Tried to embrace change and be open minded about Wiedwald but I'm struggling now. He makes Silvestri look brave #lufc— RichieRich (@AMitherer) October 1, 2017
It isn’t just that he didn’t come out to clear the ball for Hooper’s first goal, he looked absolutely terrified to do so. A scared goalkeeper is basically useless in this league where keepers don’t get as much protection as they do in other leagues. This is a real problem. Additionally, his passing and distribution was worse than usual today. There have been people giving Wiedwald unwarranted stick this season but he deserves everybit of it today. I wouldn’t drop him yet personally, but I understand that a lot would and it wouldn’t bother me if TC chose to do so. 3.5/10
Luke Ayling - Ayling doesn’t have many below average games. However, when he does it usually means Leeds are going to be terrible. Gave the ball away far too much and allowed far too many crosses. Lost his man on several occasions. Has had to play in the League Cup when others were given a rest, think he needs one and hopefully the international break will provide it for him. 4/10
You know there’s something wrong with the balance when even ayling looks rattled #lufc— ian royal (@Lufc_royal) October 1, 2017
Matthew Pennington - Not good really. Given a bit of a run around but all the poor defensive performances today are in part down to us playing with almost no midfield today. Another who lost his man way too much and that cost us goals but did put in some decent blocks. Hopefully will improve as he gets back used to playing. 4.5/10
Pontus Jansson - Best of our defenders but still not up to anything like his standards. One of very few Leeds players who kept possession fairly well. Had a scrambled effort cleared off the line. Nowhere near dominant enough in the air (although Sheff Wed were sensible enough to aim most crosses away from him). Hopefully his injury isn’t too serious as he would be a real miss for the side. 5/10
Gaetano Berardi - Similar to Ayling in that it was far too easy for Wednesday to get in down his side, Ross Wallace was far too good for him, that is a bad sign. One full-blooded challenge looked like it might fire the side up but it never got going. Left-back is becoming a real issue. Anita and Berardi not playing well and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson looked very poor against Burnley. Left-back will be a very focused upon part of training over the break. 4/10
First time I have thought Berardi has looked less than solid in a while was cardiff, today he has been cut apart like butter #lufc— Joe (@JoeJames1996) October 1, 2017
Eunan O’Kane - Worst game I have seen him have. For any club or for his country. Awful. A complete passenger in the game and his perfectly dinked pass from his own penalty area to set-up Kieran Lee’s goal (which should really have been his second) was a decision I cannot wrap my head around. Looked slow and ponderous all game and not a performance befitting in my opinion our best central midfielder. 3.5/10
A really bad performance today. I can only apologise for the extremely poor decision that gifted them the 3rd goal. #MOT— Eunan O'Kane (@eunan10) October 1, 2017
The clearance for the third by O'Kane was full on embarrassing, trying to pass the ball out there #lufc— Kirsty Stanley (@stanners_1982) October 1, 2017
Kalvin Phillips - Better than O’Kane today. Was ok for the first 20mins when Leeds were on top and had a headed chance which he should’ve done better with. After Leeds went behind was another passenger. Wasn’t great against Cardiff and was poorer than that today. Ronaldo Vieira must be getting really annoyed at this point. 4/10
Midfield non-existent. Phillips does nothing but ball watch. Can't get on the ball. Need to get a physical presence in cm. Play Vieira #lufc— Matty Crabtree (@mcrabtree11) October 1, 2017
Ezgjan Alioski - Has had a few quiet games and this was another one. Didn’t give the ball away (finished with 100% pass completion) but that was mostly because he didn’t really try to do much to unlock the defence and played too safely. Needed to do better with his headed chance in the first half. Poor, but better than some. 4.5/10
If Alioski's agent's twitter account tweets another one of his 'highlight videos' from today I will personally go and smash his phone #lufc— Mitch Hudson (@mitch_hudson) October 1, 2017
Samuel Saiz - If I wrote this article after 20mins he would get a 9.5/10. Ran the game until Leeds went behind and then went a bit quiet as the service to him dropped off. The only Leeds player who was willing to try to beat a player and our biggest threat. The best Leeds player today by a decent margin. 7.5/10
Sam Saiz has been a cut above the rest today. #lufc— Stevie Dewar (@StevieWildChild) October 1, 2017
Kemar Roofe - A couple of decent early moments follwed by 50 minutes where he could have not been on the pitch and you wouldn’t have noticed. Would be shocked if he starts after the international break. 4/10
Pierre-Michel Lasogga - Worked really hard for very little reward. Lone strikers need help and he didn’t get enough of it today. Struck the post with his one decent chance which was a bit unlucky. Still think he is a real get for us in this league. 6/10
I think Lasogga is class, works hard on and off the ball.— FazLUFC (@FarrarLUFC) October 1, 2017
Hadi Sacko (for Alioski, 63mins) - Was worth a go, his pace offered us something different but Wednesday defended against him well. A couple of odd decisions with his choice of pass. Certainly wasn’t worse than Alioski/Roofe. 4.5/10
Pablo Hernandez (for Roofe, 63mins) - Showed a couple of moments of class. Gave the ball away a lot for him but usually he was trying something positive so I don’t mind that so much. Will be back in the starting line-up for our next match. 5.5/10
Stuart Dallas (for Jansson, 72mins) - Ended up out of position at left-back. Got rinsed just like Berardi did. Came on in a difficult situation but was poor today. 4/10
Don’t normally do this but I feel the need to mention it. Thomas Christiansen pulled a bit of a Garry Monk today and has done a few times. Everyone could see that the system was not working and instead of changing it up he just changed the parts.
TC MUST switch it up from 4-2-3-1 now. Core exposed, underperforming & losing too many duels. Lack of intensity & gaping holes everywhere.— Chris Taylor (@LUFCDATA) October 1, 2017
Couldn’t do anything about the injury to Jansson but the changes he made before that meant Leeds just did more of the same. Hopefully, he learns from our back-to-back awful performances.
Would love to just say this was a bad day at the office. However, after Millwall, Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday I really think we need to change up our style a bit away from home. We cannot be that open and expansive as we will just get picked off. Ronaldo Vieira has to come back in to the side as far as I am concerned. Maybe use Anita in midfield away from home as part of a 3 instead of our usual 2. Let me know what you would do with our midfield either in the comments or on twitter.