Forget Sunday’s one-goal loss on the road.
A much more important thing happened last Thursday night. This:
If ever there was a man in the last 20-odd years to symbolise what Leeds United is about and be the spirit of what Leeds United are on the pitch... it is Pontus Jansson. By the grace of God, this man is everything that Leeds have needed since we’ve been relegated. He is the type of blood and guts guy that Leeds fans need.
August was a dire month for Leeds fans. Four points made it look like there was another year of dogsh*te in store for our beloved side. But then something wonderful happened. We started winning games. We stared climbing the table. We started to show a confidence that we could only have dreamed about last year.
Coinciding with that turn of form?
The introduction of Pontus Jansson to Garry Monk’s starting XI.
Jansson is a throwback to the centre backs of old. He’s the leader at the back that Radebe was, the animal that Hunter and Charlton were and scores the important goals that Newsome did. But far and away the most impressive thing about the Swede is the fact that he genuinely seems to love playing at Leeds. In an age where player loyalty is dead, it’s refreshing to see someone who wants to play at Elland Road.
We as fans love Pontus Jansson because of what he represents. He is what Leeds United have always been at the highest of the highs and what we needed at the lowest of the lows. And lets face it: before he was drafted in we were heading back towards the lowest of the lows. He fights for everything, he never gives an inch and he fights like a dog with his back up against the wall. He’s been the best defender in the Championship this season and with the performances of Luke Ayling and Kyle Bartley this season, that’s damn impressive.
The stats tell their own story: 24 games, 66% win rate, 17 goals conceded and 11 cleansheets with Jansson. 13 games, 31% win rate, 21 goals conceded and three cleansheets without Jansson. Take the man out of the side and Leeds struggle.
The bond that he has with Kyle Bartley is the centre back partnership that we needed: rock solid with very, very few mistakes. Bartley had been an inconsistent player at best before he joined Leeds, but his resurgence is at least in part to what Jansson has brought to the entire club. He brings out the best in players and the fans.
Watch this. All of it.
There’s a love on both sides between Jansson and Leeds United, and it’s a love that’s going to take us back to the promised land of English football. Be thankful he signed a long-term deal: Pontus Jansson will be a cornerstone at this level and the next for years to come. MOT.