With just eight games to go - six of which are set to take place in April - Leeds will be looking to consolidate a playoff place and maybe even push on further up the table. The next 6 weeks will shape the club’s destiny and the accomplishment of promotion is so close we all can feel the butterflies in our stomachs when we think about it.
However, if Leeds are to achieve promotion to the Holy Grail of the Premier League then we need to start seeing continuity with the team selection.
With no major injury concerns, the main squad players we have now have an upper hand as we can pick our strongest 11 players and, barring any injuries, we need to be doing exactly that. Promotion is there for the taking and we must grab on to it with both hands.
This season, the defensive side to our game has been the major difference and, for the most part, the back line has remained unchanged. In front of Green, Ayling, Bartley and Jansson have been the continuous present and if Taylor hadn’t picked up his injury he also would have featured in the back 4 all season.
I rate Berardi very highly but we saw the quality Charlie has against Brighton. He was defensively solid as rock and showed his attacking attributes when he crossed for Wood’s goal. A fit Charlie Taylor at this stage of the season is an enormous plus.
The continuity within the back line made all the difference in my opinion, and I think if we strike the same balance in the midfield areas, Leeds will finish the season in dominating form.
The wingers are a constant topic of conversation with the Leeds faithful at the minute as we still don’t know who are our best two options. However, Alfonso Pedzara has impressed me over the last few games - he has shown that not only is he a technically gifted player but he’s also made of strong stuff and can cope with the physical demands of the Championship. His finish at Birmingham was immense, and if he is given the time on the left wing, he will continue to grow into a formidable winger.
Primer gol de Alfonso Pedraza con el Leeds United en la victoria 1-3 sobre Birmingham. Asistencia de Pablo Hernández pic.twitter.com/lagwDWalEv— Álvaro Ramírez (@TheRebelDelgado) March 4, 2017
It’s the right wing that often causes heated discussions, and at TIAT we often debate who we believe should start regularly at the right side of midfield. I personally prefer Souleymane Doukara; people may not agree but having a player with Doukara’s attributes within the side gives the team real balance. He has the ability to hold up the ball and beat a player which allows other creative players like Pablo Hernandez and Pedzara to be brought into the game.
Hadi Sacko has shown true class at times, but he has also shown that he lacks consistent composure. Regardless of who starts in that position, I think we need to see the same wingers playing frequently.
The constant change in the middle of the park similarly needs addressing; Bridcutt and Vieira were colossal in the centre of midfield in March and need to be the first choice pairing going forward.
Continuity breeds success, the defence is testament to that. People may look and think we should utilise the entire squad but I disagree - at this stage of the season it’s all about momentum and, if you have a solid XI who are playing to a high level week in week out, this will make all the difference when we reach the lottery of the playoffs.
The Championship season is a hard mistress, and using this squad we have achieved unbelievable things, but we only have 8 games (likely 11) left, and we need to start seeing a solid and consistent team if we are to finish the season on a high. MOT