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Three things we learned from the Derby County game

Bielsa schools Lampard, Leeds Utd are spoiled for choice all of a sudden and Sheffield United still won’t go away.

Leeds United v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
Leeds were outstanding on Friday night
Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Well, let’s be honest. The biggest thing we learned on Friday night was that Leeds United are still one the greatest clubs in England! But, lads, we knew that already. The atmosphere, the controversy, the fans, the character, the skill. It’s almost like Marcelo Bielsa has become the Latin reincarnation of Don Revie, a mad Argentine spirit-like genius, who, when was asked to bring Leeds United back to where they belong, said he could and he would. And, to be fair, he has not disappointed on that remit. Far fooking from it! I, for one, O my brothers, love it! I mean, adore it! I love MARCELO!

Now, the spying nonsense. Let’s not concern ourselves about that one minute longer. It’s not illegal, remember! Clever man! Cute boy! Don’t tell me Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger never did it! That spying or, whatever silliness they want to call it, is as trivial a thing as you can get in football. Come on! Grow up!

What’s more upsetting is the words used to describe it. “Immoral”, Keith Andrews, on Sky Sports, called it. Immoral! Christ! Let’s get ourselves checked on morality for one second. It has no place in football anyway, sweet morality. That ship has long sailed! Morality? FIFA? Morality? £70,000 a week for a lad on the bench? 100 million pounds for a player to move from A to B? Morality my left dimple! But, nonetheless, morality, was in question last Friday night because Marcelo Bielsa asked a boy to have a look a Derby County training session. Of course, it may have been disruptive to Derby. But, only because of the press and the circus that followed on afterwards. Imagine this. The players had to stop playing football for a wee while until the police questioned a few of them about something they knew nothing about and then they had to go back and practice playing football again. Just imagine? A professional footballer? Told to stop playing football. And, then told to start playing football again. Derby were thrown. Thrown by……literally nothing. Please! Stop that now!

Naturally, Frankie Lampard was bamboozled and even appeared hurt by all this. And, this should not come as a surprise to anybody. Six months does not a manager make. Are you telling me Harry Redknapp of Jose Mourinho would blush at the conduct of Marcelo Bielsa? Please! Marcelo is now your master! You got schooled Frank! Time to buck up and get on with trying to keep Derby in the top six!

But enough of this carry on. Let’s have it right. Leeds Utd were awesome on Friday night. And here are three things we learned from the encounter against Derby County at Elland Road.

Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United - FA Cup Third Round
Alioski showed his worth at left back against Derby on Friday
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Gjanni Alioski is, maybe, the best left back in the country!! (Please allow for post-match excitement/euphoria)

Okay! Perhaps, I am delving into more than an element of hyperbole, but Alioski was excellent, and I mean, excellent on Friday. I thought he deserved man of the match. Jack Clarke played a blinder in his first League start, but I really reckon Gianni proved himself to be a hell of a left back on Friday night and has, at international level also, the ability to be a top grade player. But, obviously, so has Barry Douglas. God, if we only had such quality options all over the park. A headache that Bielsa doesn’t need but, I’m sure, is happy to have. Typical Leeds!! One day, we’re crying out for a quality left back and, the next, we have two! We are Leeds!!

We still don’t know what the best starting eleven is.

Marcelo Bielsa can, obviously, do what he wants but surely, he can’t go dropping anybody from the team that bulldozed Derby off the park on Friday night. And I think we can all agree with that. But then what about Barry Douglas? He has been one of our top performers this season even though he still hasn’t hit the heights he managed last year with Wolves. Kalvin Philips has been outstanding this season and, now that Liam Cooper is back, should resume his preferred position in midfield. Where is Izzy Brown going to go if he ever becomes available? Will there be room for Gaetano Berardi? Paddy Bamford? With all these players coming close to full fitness and availability again maybe, Bielsa doesn’t need to strengthen in January after all. Especially, now that a new goalkeeper appears to be all but sorted.

Sheffield United are the main threat to Leeds United becoming Champions.

Sheffield United are continuing to quietly propel themselves up the league. They have clearly learned from last season’s decline. Oliver Norwood is possibly the best midfielder in the Championship. Billy Sharp will always get you goals. They look tight, organised and, most of all, ruthless. They haven’t got the best squad on paper in the league but, then again, neither do Leeds. Is Yorkshire going to have two clubs re-enter the Premiership fold come next August? At the moment, I wouldn’t bet against it.