League Cup round two at Elland Road was never going to be the most inspiring of encounters against a Leicester side who probably treat it with as little significance as we do ourselves. Nevertheless, still early days in the new season and plenty of faces on both sides no doubt eager to impress their manager as their respective teams look to gain momentum.

Unsurprisingly, there was several changes for Leeds United with the return of Max Gradel after his suspension, Alex Bruce handed a start, Shane Higgs returned to the starting line-up and Davide Somma awarded for his brace against Millwall with a full 90 minutes.

Max Gradel was the stand-out player in the opening exchanges, desperate to prove his worth after missing the first four games through suspension. Max will have watched on from afar as his replacements, Lloyd Sam and Sanchez Watt impressed the Leeds fans in the opening fixtures. Gradel also had the added incentive of getting one over on his former club, but his eagerness to impress sometimes got the better of him as the winger took one touch too many and lost sight of the bigger picture.

Gradel’s persistance eventually paid off though, and it was his cross that provided the opening goal for Davide Somma. The impressive frontman made it three in two games as his clever movement in the box left him in yards of space to head home and give Leeds the lead just after the half hour mark.

Aside from some amusing attempts to start a Davide Somma song to the tune of MC Hammer – Can’t Touch This (“..Stop… Somma-time..”) from a couple of lads stood next to me, the rest of the first half was pretty uneventful.

Thankfully, the second half started with a bit more pace courtesy of Max Gradel, who went on a mazy run into the Leicester City box. After twisting and turning his way through to create space, Max’s shot was deflected into the path of Luciano Becchio who somehow missed an absolute sitter from no more than six yards.

Leeds continued to look the better of the two sides with Johnson and Gradel both having chances. But the pace in the game once again died, and Leeds were duly punished as Leicester caught the Leeds United defense napping and leveled the scores.

A deflection and some lousy defending allowed Leicester too much time and some quick passing ended with Richie Wellens handed an easy finish to punish the Whites.

It should have been 2-1 shortly afterwards as well, but an exceptional save from Shane Higgs kept the scores level. Clearly, Leeds United needed some fresh blood and Simon Grayson was quick to act bringing on Andy Hughes and Sanchez Watt.

By now, Leicester had grown in confidence and Leeds started to look a bit desperate. Mis-placed passes and over-hit long balls were becoming common-place. The 16,000 strong Leeds United faithful started to fear that extra-time and a penalty shoot-out were inevitable, but even that turned out to be optimistic.

Out of absolutely nothing, Leicester won a decisive penalty after Neill Collins handled the ball in the area. A rolled finish straight into the bottom corner gave Shane Higgs no chance, and Leicester led with just 90 seconds and stoppage time remaining.

Of the four and a half minutes remaining, the best Leeds United could muster was a free-kick and a corner, neither of which were delivered particularly well and Leeds United exited the League Cup in a disappointing manner, without ever really showing what the team is capable of.

Hardly heartbreaking stuff for the Leeds fans, but it’s hard to deny that the manner in which we exited the competition was disappointing. For the first half, Leeds probably had the edge and deservedly led at the break, but some sloppy defending cost us dearly and Leicester grew in confidence. From there on in, Leeds lost all composure and too many mis-placed passes and desperate long-balls ultimately cost us the game.

On a more positive note, Davide Somma scored again, Max Gradel showed moments of brilliance on his return, Shane Higgs made an exceptional save to keep us in it and a few of the fringe players got a good run out. It’s a commonly held belief that our cup exploits cost us the title last season, so an early exit isn’t a major concern. I don’t think this will affect league form too much either as the players will know where their priorities lie and will look to re-group quickly before the weekend.

TSS man of the match

For sheer persistence and hard-work, I’d say Max Gradel. One touch too many and failure to pick out the easy option got annoying, but it’s obvious the lad was desperate to impress on his return. He provided the two most notable moments of the game too, assisting in Somma’s goal and almost adding a second early in the second half.

17 Responses

  1. timm

    Strange one tonight. They just seemed to fall apart for no reason in the second half. Bradley Johnson made a schoolboy error in his own box & that was followed by one of the cheapest hand-balls i’ve ever seen! Collins attacked that ball as if he was racing 3 strikers to get there first, when there was actually no one anywhere near him! The back four were shocking in the second half & Bruce was poor in the air throughout the whole game. Hurry up Paddy, we need you!

  2. Jim Barnett

    Just got back from the game. All-in-all a bit disappointing how we let the game slip so badly with some sloppy passing (note for Larry: start with Watt in every game, the lad is a class act). Credit to Leicester though – Souza obviously had a word with his players to attack our left side and it worked. Bessone was shocking in the 2nd half and was ably assisted by Johnson who looked like he was recovering from a night out. Good to see Higgs have a good game though and Bruce was composed and played it out of defence, despite aerial difficulties. As for Somma – despite his obvious eye for goal, I can’t help feeling we would be better off sending him out on loan to League One where he can learn to hold it up, lay it off and make the right decisions in open play.

  3. Raph

    I beg to differ about sending davide out on loan, at least until snoddys back. Hes doing his job amazingly at the moment so keep it coming i say

  4. White to the core

    When is larry going to realise what a liability our defending continues to be, (has been on the whole since paddy got injured). Also again johnson anytime he gets the ball in the opposition half smacks the ball into row Z! Nothing new then. I suppose at least we are consistant (in our inconsistancy). Somma continues to look good. Im sure we can come up with a decent song for Davide? The undertones “here comes dave somma”?

  5. Colin

    Hey-ho, out of the Carling Cup which we were never going to win anyway.

    We were always concentrating on the Championship anyway. You always know when Leeds put out a mickey mouse team when it has Shane Higgs in it.

    The Watford game will be different.

  6. Tim Wilsom

    I know it’s only two games but sending the lad out on loan already ????

    @ Colin, Not keen on Higgs eh .

    Always disappointed to lose, but we’ll see if the cup run theory helps us out this season. Bring back the first team . ;)

    • TheReaper08

      @leedsusa colin has never been keen on Higgs for some reason, I think I heard that Higgs mum had shoved colin’s cat in a bin or something like that.

      • Colin

        Oh hello Reaper, defending the Higgs again! :)

        I checked the footage on the cat incident. It wasn’t Higgs’ mum, it was Shane Higgs himself doing it disguised in a wig. From the tape you clearly see that the person is about 60 and had swift hand movements. The woman who has cat lovers camped outside her house, has clearly been framed.

  7. Matt BB

    i dont think we want to loan out somma… but agree he still has a lot to learn. meanwhile just sit back and enjoy the goals!! i’m sad we lost but genuinely glad we can focus on the championship. some good players on the horizon so was surprised at the sloppy errors.. davenport, mccormack, snoddy and paynter back imminently so why did the likes of collins bruce and johnson screw up?

  8. Hugh Fox

    I didnt think somma had a great game. He didnt seem to attack the ball from goal kicks or lumps forward from our defence. He looks sharp bt thourght he lacked a bit of physical power. I thourght bruce had an ok game and connolly had he best game so far for us. So there were a few positives from last night.

  9. Mark R

    Two steps forward , one step back. Really disappointed we lost a match that was there for the taking. Is it too much to expect a consistent level of performance from SG’s teams ?

    We must start winning, or at minimum drawing all our home matches. Consistency SG !

    Ok, I can see the opportunity to rest players and bring others in – but we’re only 3/4 games into the season.
    Leics was a winnable match and gave us a good opporunity to mke the next round and a plum draw.

    So what happened SG – motivation ? tactics ? players not good enough ?

    It appears that changing 3 or so players really makes the team weaker – and when on earth will the solid defence be built ?

    Very frustrating and a backwards step after Nottm & Millwall. Really fed up with this inconsistency.

    I have my Watford tkt – one of the lucky 2000 or so – so hope we actually turn up and perform to expectations – ie. at maximum intensity to get a result.


  10. Ryan H

    I hate us losing any game, but can’t help but feel that losing this is a blessing in disguise although it does again highlight that they are still areas that need sorting namely the defence! Bessone has been awful so far and until Paddy and Parker are back im not going to feel any easier about keeping other team’s at bay.

  11. Sir Quej

    Thanks fuck for that. Come on….who really gives a shit about the cocacola cup, carling cup, heinekin cup, strongbow cup or whatever the fuck it’s called this season. We all saw what a devastating effect a long cup run nearly had on us last season. Personally, I wouldnt have even sent a team out for the game and taken the fine. It can only be good that we are out of it. Good riddance to it. All we need to do now is send out the under 12’s for the first round of the FA Cup and bobs ya grandfather, we can forget the stupid cup matches and all the extra games and injuries and suspensions they bring.

    • LeedsJim82

      Forget the stupid cup games?? Good grief are you mental? A good cup run breeds confidence in the team, and it generates profit for the club. Although I was very disappointed with our 2nd half performance I definitely wouldn’t belittle the league cup or FA cup. They are both prestigious competitions worth challenging for. MOT

      • Marc Butterworth

        LeedsJim82….”A Good cup run breeds confidence in the team” ?????

        Did you only start watching Leeds this season ? Did you not watch us try our hardest to throw away promotion last season after our “Confidence inspiring” cup run and victory over the scum.

        No, the only thing long cup runs bring is extra games, extra injuries and tired players.

        You can keep them m8.

  12. LeedsJim82

    Sir quej… Might as well give all the cup trophies that have given us our proud history back then. Take a few boxes and some bubblewrap with you to ER, you won’t have many helpers.


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