|Leeds United 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Wednesday, 24th October 2018 Kick-off 19:45
Ipswich Are Nailed-On for Relegation, Let’s Attack and Score a Few - Notes for Leeds United
Monday, 22nd Oct 2018 12:00 by HarryFromBath
HarryFromBath assesses the mood in the opposition camp ahead of Wednesday night’s game at Elland Road by delving into their forums.
“We have been stuttering in the last few weeks without too many wins and losses, but the league has bunched up in the last few months”, “Two wins from eight suggests we are heading towards our true position based on the squad’s ability”, “It’s worrying that we can’t string two wins together.”
“We have to gather some momentum and quickly.” Leeds head into Wednesday’s fixture sitting fourth in the table and two points off the top, but fans are concerned with their current run of form which has seen them slip from being three points clear at the top of the table in mid-September.
“It’s annoying that we are probably three players short of going up.” Injuries to key men, full-back Barry Douglas and attackers Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe, have not helped, forcing manager Marcelo Bielsa to play unbalanced starting XIs and highlighting the squad’s lack of strength in depth.
“Last season, played 13, 23 points, plus-nine goal difference. This season, played 13, 23 points, plus-12 goal difference. Deja vu and the bubble is desperately in need of a puncture repair kit”, “I’m not full of doom and gloom but lessons have to be learned and we need to get momentum going, starting with the Ipswich game. Start believing.”
“Let’s stop the negativity. We’re in a much better place than last season”, “We just have to keep pace, which I think we will do better than in years gone by. We’re doing well all things considered”, “We are going to have bad days, everybody does. Win on Wednesday and we will all be smiling again.”
“I really do believe we are the real deal under Bielsa. There is a magical effect, and the players are drowning in his wisdom and experience and dishing out the football that matches this”, “I am loving every second of it and haven’t felt like this as a Leeds fans for many years. Long may it continue.”
“Bielsa has given the team a really great mentality”, The 63-year-old Argentine took over from Paul Heckingbottom as head coach in June, arriving with a stellar CV which has included spells managing Olympique Marseille, Athletic Bilbao and Lazio as well as the national teams of Argentina and Chile.
“Every single thing he says makes sense and none of it is rocket science, just simple honest logic. He has got the players fitter, passed the ball simpler and kept hold of it to tire out the opposition. He has proved that his methods can work. The problem is simply sustaining it all. Let’s hope he can.”
“The whole season is a total joy in my eyes, which is all down to our Argentine god who has made this team look like world-beaters and made thousands of Leeds fans very happy”, “I love our flowing football. He has delivered as side as entertaining as anything seen since the David O’Leary days.”
The Bielsa Philosophy
“The possible is already done, we are doing the impossible.” Bielsa’s management and style of play are worth looking at. Like all great managers, he’s on a quest for perfection. “He is doomed to follow the same paradigm, spreading at first bewilderment, then enlightenment and finally exhaustion.”
Bielsa’s philosophy is built on four themes, permanent focus, mobility, rotation and improvisation, all played with a sense of urgency. His hard-pressing vertical style and reinterpretation of space on the field has influenced contemporaries of the calibre of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino.
“He convinces you to keep working and running, it can be seen in his teams’ games and practices. Once you get used to him you love him.” He has been described as “an attacking tactician” who puts a high emphasis on the fitness and co-ordinated movement in attacking and defending situations.
“He knows more than anyone in the world, he is elite.” Fernando Llorente played for Bielsa at Bilbao and he summed up his management style thus: “At first he seems tough and he may even annoy you with his persistence and don’t-take-no-for-an-answer resilience but in the end, he is a genius.”
Lacking the Players to Properly Execute Bielsa’s Style of Play
“We play some wonderful football with great style”, “To play this style needs an end product but we don’t have the players to execute this style. We seem to overcook things in the final third”, “Some of our approach play is good but so often the final ball, cross or shot is poor. Bielsa has alluded to that.”
“Over a long season I am starting to increasingly doubt that we have players good enough to carry out what Bielsa wants”, “We are definitely missing Hernandez and Roofe. They give us that little bit of extra guile needed to open teams up”, “Our build-up play is decent but the final ball isn’t there.”
“We play energetically and keep possession well until we get in sight of the opposition penalty area, at which stage we become clueless. We constantly lose possession by trying to dribble or passing to the opposition. Our crossing is poor but in open play there is usually one Leeds player in the box.”
“Running around at a million miles an hour without getting results regularly will become tiring and demoralising. Teams will know how to play us and we will become masters of our own ruin if we keep giving possession away cheaply”, “If you play against us on the counter, we are less effective.”
“We missed the balance of Luke Ayling and Barry Douglas at full-back today.” Bielsa’s starting line-up at Blackburn (above) was set out in the 4-1-4-1 shape he has mostly used this season. He has been criticised by fans for starting players out on position to help overcome their recent injury problems.
Left-back Douglas missed the game with a hamstring injury while defender Gaetano Berardi (knee) and striker Roofe (calf) made their first appearances after being out for three weeks, while winger Hernandez (hamstring) appeared as a substitute after a month on the sidelines.
Keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has impressed despite his lack of experience while Pontus Jansson is the rock at the heart of the Whites’ defence. Liam Cooper can be error prone, while Berardi is seen as more reliable as a central defender, lacking the pace and ability on the ball to play at right-back.
Ayling should return from suspension at right-back, but many fans feel that Bielsa has got the balance wrong on the left flank. Stuart Dallas lacks the pace to play as an attacking full-back while Ezgjan Alioski is more effective from a deep position, instead of getting caught offside as a winger.
Striker Roofe struggled in a right-wing role at Blackburn with his lack of fitness, and many will welcome the sight of a fully-fit Hernandez using his vision to create space for colleagues and play his quality through-balls on the right. Jack Harrison has offered direct attacking pace when deputising.
The central midfield balance has been widely praised with Kalvin Phillips an effective screen for the back four in a holding role. Mateusz Klich is a more threatening playmaker than the inconsistent but occasionally lethal Samuel Saiz, while Adam Forshaw regularly adds energy and tempo off the bench.
With Patrick Bamford out for four months with ligament damage, teenager Tyler Roberts has added pace, clever running and goals as the lone striker. His confidence has grown playing as a starter over the last seven games, but he is expected to step aside once Roofe has fully regained match-fitness.
Blackburn 2 – 1 Leeds
“We deserved nothing from this performance today”, “Blackburn played the most basic of tactics on the counter but they could have won by more goals”, “We were very poor today. Someone said that we need to beat teams like this if we are serious about promotion and I have to say that I agree.”
Rovers went ahead inside two minutes when Danny Graham headed in Harrison Reed's cross but Leeds equalised from the last play of an open first half with a superb move started by Saiz and finished by Klich. The hosts’ winner came from another set piece when Darragh Lenihan nodded home on 70.
“We are playing very poorly here”, “Blackburn’s attacks were better than ours. They got forward in numbers and had three or four in the box in open play”, “We had loads of possession but they had several good chances to our few poor half-chances. They looked the much more dangerous side.
Brentford 1 – 1 Leeds
“A decent point in the end”, “A frustrating game when it seemed as if everything was against us, but we came out with a draw against a good footballing side who made life hard for us”, “We deserved a point from that for sheer bloody-mindedness”, “Brentford stopped us getting any decent rhythm.”
Leeds fell behind to Neal Maupay's penalty on 62 minutes but equalised on 88 when Jansson nodded in Alioski's freekick. Ayling was sent off late in stoppage time for a second bookable offence. Many home fans were unhappy with several important decisions made by referee Jeremy Simpson, the same official who red-carded Toto Nsiala at Sheffield Wednesday.
“I really like how Brentford play but some of their antics were poor, constantly diving and kicking our players.” Several felt that the visitors had worked “that clown of a referee in charge of proceedings” out and played up to him. “Their diving, feigning injury and gamesmanship were a real negative.”
“We are losing midfield.” Many felt that the visitors disrupted their build-up play, forcing turnovers in possession and the hosts to play deeper with their disruptive pressing. “Quite a few of our passes were going astray because Brentford were harrying us in midfield and giving us no time to settle.”
Hull 0 – 1 Leeds
“Bloody hell, we made hard work of that. We were far superior but never finished the game off. I will take an off-colour performance and a deserved win over anyone”, “If ever a game was too easy, this was it”, “It was a very strange game. Everyone on both teams appeared to be walking through it.”
Leeds enjoyed an easy win on the Tuesday before the international break. They could have been out of sight before half-time but poor finishing from both Alioski and Douglas meant the teams went in level. Tyler Roberts finally put Leeds in front on 51 minutes with a low strike from outside the area.
“A very scrappy win but I will take that. Hull were really poor, but with players to come back in, I will always take three points away from home plus a clean sheet and move on”, “Hull were awful but we were far too slow 80 per cent of the time”, “Hull were as poor a side as I have seen all this season.”
Most travelling fans agreed that the starting XI (above) was the strongest available. Douglas went off with a hamstring injury on 82 and was replaced by promising teenager Jamie Shackleton. “The back four were never really tested by Hull tonight. I have seen more hotly contested testimonial games.”
Goalkeepers and Defenders
“Bailey Peacock-Farrell has come a long way in a short space of time.” The 21-year-old youth product “is a young guy who is learning his trade and putting in decent display. His distribution is quick and he has made a couple of saves that have defied belief”, “He’s learning and not repeating his errors.”
“The emergence of Bailey Peacock-Farrell has been a shining light for me”, “He’s an athletic keeper but at 6ft 4in he can command his box, keeping a cool head when facing tall strikers”, “He’s brave when coming out for blocks and is very strong mentally, communicating clearly with his defenders.”
“Luke Ayling is more than a workhorse.” The 27-year-old ex-Bristol City right-back “is one of the few players you felt would be ready-made for Bielsa with his phenomenal work-rate and energy. He has thrived on the freedom he is given to get down the right flank, although he can give the ball away.”
“Ayling’s technique has improved, he pops up everywhere in attack and he has become more of a goal threat”, “He had a shocker against Brentford. His touch was poor and every time he tried a pass forward he overhit it”, “He’s a player who can really be relied upon to get really stuck into a game.”
“I’m struggling to remember the last time Stuart Dallas had a good game.” The 27-year-old Brentford man “always looks short on pace and players can pass him too easily”, “He tries hard but is too slow and ineffective. He’s a utility player who will likely be a back-up for the full-back and wide positions.”
“Dallas gives pacey opponents too much space, standing off too far and getting done so many times. He’s a second-rate full-back against good players”, “He shuttles up and down the pitch to add width and cross in the box where possible”, “Working hard is just not enough. His quality is dire at times.”
“Gaetano Berardi was rinsed by Blackburn’s winger all game.” The 30-year-old ex-Sampdoria man “is not good enough to be a full-back. He has been very good at centre-half but he’s not up to it at right-back. He’s an obvious target for opposition wingers”, “He has proved himself a capable centre-back.”
“Berardi just loves a challenge, I love his no-prisoners attitude”, “The guy has his limitations and can be a disciplinary problem but he gives total commitment and effort”, “I wish he was two inches taller and was able to use the ball better”, “He has always had a reputation for flying into stupid tackles.”
“Jamie Shackleton has been given the run-around by experienced wingers but is full of running and endeavour.” The 18-year-old youth product “is very up and down, great going forward with superb pace and energy, and he works his socks off but his passing is sloppy and he loses concentration.”
“We have Tom Pearce as an option to play in Douglas’s position at left-back.” The 20-year-old youth product “seems much better in the attacking part of his game but he looks lightweight and uncertain when put under pressure”, “He looks a terrific player going forward but less convincing in defence.”
“I will always have mixed emotions about Liam Cooper.” The 27-year-old ex-Chesterfield centre-half “wins a lot of headers and a lot falls on his shoulders defensively”, “He’s an invaluable player with his height and courage but still switches off at key moments. He’s always one step away from disaster.”
“If you play ‘Calamity Cooper’ in your side you must accept that he’s an accident waiting to happen. He played us into trouble for the second Brentford goal, Beckenbauer he is not”, “He can be a liability, giving away pointless freekicks in dangerous areas”, “His errors drop his team-mates in it.”
“Thank Odin for Pontus.” The 27-year-old ex-Malmo and Torino centre-back “has been immense in the last few games”, “He won loads of headers at Blackburn and his play on the floor was decent. He defended really well and came up with the equaliser against Brentford. He’s an immense defender.”
“Pontus us an absolute colossus and is a better defender than Cooper, but when things aren’t going his was he is suspect”, “He’s a true Leeds warrior but drives me nuts at times, why can’t he just wind his neck in? His fuse is too short. How other teams don’t hammer him from the off is beyond me.”
“Kalvin Phillips is brilliant mopping up lots of others’ mistakes.” The 22-year-old youth product “does not put a foot wrong defensively. He’s in the right place at the right time, doing the job he is meant to do all through the match”, “His passing is top drawer but he needs movement in front of him.”
“Phillips is never flustered. His positioning is great, his short passing is simple and his long passing is incisive. He drops deep to help centre-backs when required and seems to have improved his tackling without it stopping him putting great blocks and challenges in”, “He does not give the ball away.”
“I’m not sure what Lewis Baker offers.” The 23-year-old Chelsea loanee “brings calm creativity and work-rate with really good composure”, “His reading of the game and passing range are great. He has stacks of energy but his first touch is poor, his passes are sloppy and he gives the ball away.”
“Adam Forshaw is a steady influence in the engine room.” The 26-year-old former Middlesbrough man “is capable of locking up the midfield if needed. He makes terrific supporting runs and isn’t easily knocked off the ball”, “He has more than enough muscle and experience to be a solid option.”
“Forshaw tries to get us going. He moves the ball simply and effectively. He also has an engine and he tackles”, “He brings a calmness to the middle of the park and drives us forward when he can”, “He can’t make a difference all by himself, he’s secure in possession but is not a game changer.”
“Samuel Saiz is an absolute gem of a player. Few teams can cope with him when he’s in an attacking mood.” The 29-year-old former Getafe playmaker “is so influential in our attacking moves, He’s the most likely midfielder to join the attacking trio and receives the ball in difficult areas on the pitch.”
“Saiz is very industrious but he frustrates me with his distribution, holding on to the ball longer than he should which stifles our momentum”, “He doesn’t always make the right decisions”, “Despite his quality, his effectiveness can be questioned”, “He needs to look up and lay the ball off more often.”
“Mateusz is such a technically gifted player.” The 28-year-old ex-FC Twente midfielder “has become a bit of an unsung hero this season and his class is shining through”, “He’s a real danger breaking into the box and seems to have an eye for goal this season”, “He works away really tirelessly in midfield.”
“Bielsa has brought Klich in from the cold.” The Poland international “brings real quality, composure and belief to our play. He controls the engine room skilfully, he is all over the pitch and scores top goals”, “Our main worry now is who is going to stick the ball in the back of the net is it’s not Klich?”
Wide Midfielders and Wingers
“Jack Harrison needs to work on his end product but he’s always willing to take men on and try to get crosses in.” The 21-year-old loan signing from Manchester City “is a good player with excellent technique”, “He looks lively in patches but he overplays the ball at times and moves break down.”
“I can see Harrison switching to the left wing when Hernandez gets back”, “He isn’t the typical wide man who disappears if things aren’t going his way”, “He’s a busy player who will zoom up and down the flank. He will try to attack the ball behind the defence but he still lacks Hernandez’s invention.”
“Jack Clarke looked a threat against Brentford and he’s only 17. He has a beautiful touch and is full of confidence.” The youth product “looks direct and could cause problems with his pace”, “I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a start and given the licence just to run at defenders. He gives teams problems.”
“Ezgjan Alioski frustrates me with loose passes, crosses or shots but he works his socks off and keeps tracking back or closing down.” The 26-year-old Macedonia international and ex-Lugano winger “has pace which really scares defenders. He’s a hard worker who just needs to sharpen up his finishing.”
“Alioski has been inspired when dropping into the left-back role”, “He plays there for his country and has the stamina and late runs”, “He’s guilty of getting offside a lot playing as a winger but his crosses are improved when he runs from deep”, “His final ball can be infuriating but he just doesn’t give in.”
“It’s no coincidence that our best performances have been when Pablo is in the side.” The 33-year-old one-time Valencia man “is a quiet leader who takes responsibility and makes it easier for team mates to play”, “He is always looking to make runs and offer himself as an option with his creativity.”
Pablo Hernandez v Dominic Iorfa
“Hernandez is the old magician who continues to wave his magic wand”, “He’s at the heart of all of our attacking threats, He looks to break forward while dragging opponents around, creating space for others”, “The game’s tempo changes when he comes on”, “he can play utterly perfect passes.”
“Tyler Roberts is still a little naïve but I like his pace and movement.” The 19-year-old former West Brom youth product “makes clever diagonal runs when the ball is in our half”, “He fashioned a great goal out of nothing at Hull and really ran himself into the ground”, “He has taken his goals superbly.”
“Roberts has great pace, movement and tricky feet. He needs playing in the middle and not on the wing”, “We need to understand that playing him with his back to goal does not suit him, he loses the ball too easily”, “Against Brentford he was dropping too deep and needed to hit the channels more.”
“Kemar has the versatility to drop in and out of attacking positions, dovetailing with the on-running midfielders.” The 25-year-old ex-Oxford man “makes runs which are essential to the way we attack teams at pace”, “His movement off the ball is great and he will simply run his heart out all day long.”
Vurnon Anita (Newcastle) v Kemar Roofe
“Roofe was clearly not fit at Blackburn”, “Bielsa probably got it wrong playing him on the wing, but maybe that was the right choice if his fitness wasn’t up to it”, “He can look poor all game but he has shown the potential to make things happen this year with his pace, trickery and clever movement.”
Leeds’ Fans Views on ITFC and the Game
“Bring on Ipswich Town”, “Ipswich will be low on confidence so this has to be a very winnable game for us”, “We are going to beat Ipswich 4-1 and I have given them a goal because I'm feeling generous towards Ipswich”, “We have simply got to win this one because Ipswich are bottom of the table, lol.”
“We really should destroy Ipswich if we want to consider ourselves promotion contenders.” There is a widespread assumption among home fans that their team will win on Wednesday night. “Sorry to any Ipswich fans but I have them nailed-on for relegation, so let’s really attack and score a few.”
“We should beat Ipswich comfortably. However, they will be extremely low in confidence so I expect them to come with a very defensive strategy. Their manager will point out we are loose with the ball and open to counter at the back. Let Leeds run around is what I would say. Ipswich will get chances.”
“Ask any Ipswich fan down here and they will tell you they are absolutely abysmal this season and are destined for the drop. Even when they beat Swansea they got absolutely battered for most of the game. Therefore, anything other than a good win on Wednesday will be a disaster”, “They were doomed once Mick McCarthy left them, he kept them mid-table for some many seasons.”
There are a number of active and well-informed Leeds message-boards. Two of the busiest are LUFCTalk and Marching On Together, while there are some excellent blogs and match reports to be found at our sister site ToEllandBack. Leeds United highlights are available on the Multimedia menu as well as Ipswich Town and for the whole of the Championship and other EFL leagues.
Photo: Action Images
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