Leeds United put in a poor performance with a particularly awful start and, despite getting back into the game, fell to a 2-1 defeat against Sheffield United at Elland Road.
Leeds were second best for long periods and the majority of the players in the Leeds line-up had what at best you could call “an off day”. Sheffield United played some good stuff but Leeds made it easy for them with some awful passing and some truly abject defending. A massive improvement will be needed on Tuesday against Derby County or Leeds could well fail to improve their run of 2 wins in the last 7 matches.
Andy Lonergan - Starting off with Leeds’ best player. Kept Leeds in the game with a couple of top-class saves in the first half when Leeds defensive line went to sleep. There was nothing he could have done about either of the goals that were conceded. Did kick a few balls straight out of play and dithered on the ball once in the first half and almost lost possession. Despite the errors, a very good performance. 7.5/10
Luke Ayling - Who kidnapped Luke Ayling and replaced him with an imposter? Lost the ball again and again. Was often too slow in possession. Far too slow getting back to try and prevent Brooks’ winning goal, having just been caught too far forward and nearly cost Leeds a goal a minute earlier. Goal was almost a carbon copy of Mo Barrow’s goal for Reading which shows not learning from mistakes. One of the worst performances I have seen Luke Ayling produce for Leeds United. Makes me think he is paying the price for playing every game. When Berardi is back I think Ayling needs a rest for a couple of matches. 4.5/10
Ayling's been poor for a while now. Look at Barrow's winner for Reading, then look at Brooks' tonight. Almost identical. #LUFC— Luke McManus (@Manners93) October 27, 2017
I don’t like slagging players off but that’s the worst game ive seen Ayling have in a Leeds shirt and I’m a massive fan of his! #lufc— OptimisticLeedsFan (@optimisticLufc) October 27, 2017
Matthew Pennington - The one thing that helped Ayling look ok is that he was next to someone even worse. Pennington had a nightmare. Didn’t mark Billy Sharp for the first goal and ended up completely wrong side of him. Dithered in possession far too often and either played a scuffed pass to a teammate or lost the ball. A performance with no redeeming features and if Cooper is fit he definitely won’t play on Tuesday. If Cooper isn’t fit I would drop Pennington and play Conor Shaughnessy. Worst player on the pitch. 3/10
Liam Cooper - When a team defends as sloppily as Leeds did today and the captain is a centre-half, questions must be asked. Leeds could easily have conceded four by half-time and while he was a damn sight better than Pennington, this was not a good performance. 4.5/10
Vernon Anita - The best of our starting back four, not that it is saying a lot. On the first goal, the throw-in comes in and he runs forward towards the man Vieira is already marking, this leaves a lot of room behind him which Duffy moved into to put the cross in. This is a basic error, the error is compounded by Saiz not tracking his man well enough, but Vernon Anita is not the answer at left-back. He later made a couple of decent tackles and gave the ball away on far fewer occasions than his teammates which dragged his score up a little bit. 5/10
Vurnon Anita is a centre midfielder with premier league and international experience, would it hurt to give him a go in that position? #lufc— Ayrton Fontaine (@Tonesy95) October 27, 2017
Ronaldo Vieira - Was left chasing Sheffield United’s midfielders and wasn’t able to put his stamp on the game in the way that he did away at Bristol City. Despite this he still made more tackles than any other Leeds players and showed some good strength and skill in some tight areas. Was always going to be tough with how outnumbered Leeds were in midfield and he gave the ball away far too much. 5.5/10
Eunan O’Kane - A lot of the same issues as Vieira for the same reasons. Wasn’t able to dictate play in the way he can when at his best. Unlike many of his teammates he didn’t give the ball away constantly but, much like Vieira, this wasn’t a performance to write home about. 5.5/10
Ezgjan Alioski - Another performance where he was unable to get into the game. Chased back well and helped out the struggling Luke Ayling (something which was very important once he went off). Had one decent chance with a header which was a very weak attempt that was easy for Jamal Blackman to deal with. Fairly poor going forward but unlike some of his teammates he at least worked hard and put in his best effort for the side. Has to be said, his set-pieces were absolutely terrible tonight and he had to give some up to Kalvin Phillips. 5/10
Saiz is different class but we can’t rely on him all season. Alioski needs to up it #LUFC— Ashley Johnson (@AshJohnson20) October 27, 2017
Kalvin Phillips - Wasn’t any better with the ball than O’Kane or Vieira. However, scored a fantastic goal with a fantastically struck volley which left the keeper with no chance. Definitely looks better a bit further up the pitch. His goal would have pulled him up to a similar score to Andy Lonergan, but his reckless challenge on Baldock (which from the Kop, and with a pro-Leeds bias I said was a certain Red Card) drops his rating down. Suspended for the next match so will be interesting to see what the manager does in his absence. Also, his set-pieces were awful tonight when he got them away from Alioski. 6.5/10
Brilliant volley from nothing on the edge of the box. Blackman no chance. Needed that and then some. 1-1 on 35 mins. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) October 27, 2017
Samu Saiz - By far our most creative outlet and deserves credit for continuing to try and create openings. Some of his decision making was poor as he tried the wrong pass or tried to beat one more player than he should but with what he had around him tonight he had to feel it was all on his shoulders. It was him drifting to the right and crossing that lead to Phillips’ goal and it was his assist that set up Alioski’s header. Not his best performance but still stood out. Fantastic effort that hit the post and had it snuck in it could have been a very different game. 6.5/10
Only Saiz who looked arsed about making any chances in opponents half.All other happy to pass it side ways and backwards #lufc— lufc (@Harry43353090) October 27, 2017
Pierre-Michel Lasogga - I will start by being nice, to be fair to him, the service he received tonight was very poor overall. Now for the not so nice. This was one of the laziest, most impotent displays of centre forward play you are ever likely to watch. When he jumped for a header he neve left the ground. A complete lack of anything resembling effort and he somehow managed to look even more disinterested than he did against Reading. As a fan I can stomach playing badly, I get far more annoyed when a player doesn’t seem to be trying. I know he can’t be 100% fit, but in that case run your bollocks off for 50mins and than get subbed, don’t just watch the game go past you. Gave him a 4/10 against Reading and he was worse tonight. 3.5/10
Tonight was summed up by the two No.9's. Clarke harried hassled and won headers. Lasogga didn't. #lufc— Mark Wilson (@MarkWilsonRadio) October 27, 2017
To be fair to Lasogga I thought he did well tonight.....for a bloke with his feet nailed to the ground #lufc— Adam Webster (@adswebbo) October 27, 2017
Pontus Jansson (For Cooper, 57mins) - The best of our defenders. Did some nice work covering at the back and kept the ball and found passes well. Didn’t make the simple mistakes that others did. Should be back in the starting line-up on Tuesday. 6/10
Pablo Hernandez (For Alioski, 70mins) - Alioski wasn’t doing well but he at least did the running and helped out defensively. Hernandez was completely anonymous and offered no real work rate to try and make up for it. One of his worst games this season. Mitigating factor, he should not be playing wide on the right. 4.5/10
Poor tonight. O'Kane offered nothing and Hernandez was a bad choice of sub. Needed Roofe's energy. Lasogga needs to work more #LUFC— Kyle Graham (@KTG_1990) October 27, 2017
Jay-Roy Grot - Yes, he is only 19 and may well improve. Yes, he keeps coming on in tough situations. Does anyone see him scoring a goal? He is so big and well-built yet doesn’t seem strong on the ball or particularly good in the air. Would have much rather brought Roofe on, brings far more to the table. I may even start Roofe up front on Tuesday.
Has he watched Pablo Hernandez play football? I have to ask because the decision to bring him on wide right baffled me. He must know Luke Ayling is having a poor game and he must see Alioski tracking back to help out. So he removes him and puts on a player who doesn’t track back. Put Roofe out there, he will run the hard yards even if he doesn’t play well. The second Hernandez came on Leeds lost their shape and Ayling was left exposed. The nearly got in down the left a few times before the goal and we were eventually punished for it. I genuinely think he wanted to put Hernandez on, and didn’t think Alioski was playing well, and that is as far as he thought it through. No thought of the knock-on effect of the decision. Bringing Grot on again despite him showing nothing to deserve it so far also baffled me. Improvements are needed from the players, but from TC as well.