Becchio and Somma

Two wins in two away games finally proved Simon Grayson’s 4-5-1 formation was the way forward, but for top goalscorer Davide Somma it meant he would be on bench duty as Larry favoured Becchio in the lone front man position.

Before Leeds turned things round at Scunthorpe, Grayson had played both Somma and Becchio up front for Cardiff’s visit to Elland Road. Both players were ineffective as Cardiff destroyed Leeds United 4-0, but Somma in-particular had an absolute mare.

For Somma, the game was in total contrast to his recent displays but Grayson ruthlessly axed him for the next game at Scunthorpe in favour of Becchio who had also failed to impress v Cardiff. I can only imagine Somma’s frustration when he was told 6 goals in 8 appearances (some of which were from the bench) wasn’t enough to move him ahead of 1 goal in 3 Becchio.

The decision would have been justified had Becchio gone on to score vital goals in the following games, but instead, Leeds had to rely on the midfield who have scored all 7 goals since Somma was dropped.

“…B-b-but Becchio holds the ball up”

That brings us to the most ridiculous argument I’ve ever heard for a lone striker – “but Becchio holds the ball up.” I ask you, has there ever been a more negative tactic in the history of football than standing still ’til someone can come and do your job for you?

Every time Becchio has played the lone striker role I’ve expressed my concerns, because he goes completely missing in these games. He managed a grand total of one shot in two games and was a spare part for the majority of these fixtures. Without someone alongside him, the ability to stand still with the ball at his feet is pointless.

The next argument I hear is that he chases everything, and I can’t argue with that. But how often does he actually win the ball in an advanced position? On the odd occasion he does win the ball, it usually results in a free-kick to the opposition. The reason better strikers don’t chase everything is because they read the game better. They don’t waste energy on lost causes, but pick their moments carefully and attack to devastating effect.

So, in summary the reason we play Becchio alone up front is because;

1) He holds the ball up (Stands still and waits for someone who can take people on)

2) He chases everything (The old Leeds favourite “but he tries” – always a guaranteed crowd pleaser)

3) He’s a different kind of player to Somma (Presumably a combination of trying, chasing lost causes and standing still)

Meanwhile, on the greener side of the fence…

So that brings us to Somma, a player who has been scoring for fun so far this season. As I understand it, the argument for Becchio playing ahead of Somma is that Somma doesn’t hold the ball up as well and isn’t as strong as Becchio – nor does he run around like a headless chicken.

I’ve seen absolutely no evidence to support any of these claims. Somma is incredibly strong and has excellent ball control. He’s shown he can hold the ball up just as well as Becchio on several occasions, but unlike Becchio he isn’t a one trick pony and often chooses to run at players and score goals too – an unusual tactic for a striker I know, but it grows on you in time.

I can’t help but think a lot of these arguments are based on love for Becchio, which is understandable because the lad has worked his socks off for the club over the last couple of years. But there’s no room for sentiment in football. Somma is the better striker and that’s all that matters. At best, Becchio is third choice this season.

And as people continue to challenge Becchio’s position in the side, the argument against Somma becomes even more ridiculous with people claiming the South African is lazy – not only untrue, but also reminiscent of the smear campaign aimed at Jermaine Beckford last season.

Unlike Becchio, Somma doesn’t chase lost causes, but unlike Beckford, he does pressure the opposition defence and does get back to support our defence (unless Becchio’s gone instead).

I do worry that Somma is already becoming the new Beckford. The fans are already starting to invent faults to criticise him with, and if Grayson continues to play strikers with a weaker record, he will quickly become disillusioned with life at Elland Road.