A couple of controversial decisions from the referee and more of the same from Leeds United’s defence left the Whites with another home draw and further adrift of the automatic places.

After the 5-2 humiliation at Oakwell earlier this season, Leeds fans were hoping their team would set the record straight with a comfortable win over their Yorkshire rivals. But it was the worst possible start for the men in White as Kieran Trippier’s free-kick found it’s way to Jason Shackwell who opened the scoring inside the first two minutes. Another poorly defended set-piece from the Whites. 0-1

Leeds looked to respond quickly with Max Gradel twice striking the bar, once from a header inside the area and a second time from a bizarre free-kick that bounced off the keeper onto the bar and back again.

It took just over twenty minutes for Leeds to restore parity. George McCartney’s cross was met at the back post by the head of Luciano Becchio who recorded his 15th goal of the season in his 100th league appearance for The Whites. 1-1

On-loan Manchester City youngster Kieran Trippier was looking lively down the wing for Barnsley, but his efforts failed to produce another goal and Leeds completed their turnaround when Max Gradel won a dubious penalty decision in the box. Max stepped up and smashed the penalty into the top corner to make it 2-1 to Leeds.

Within minutes, Bradley Johnson almost made it 3-1, but Leeds were frustrated to see a third shot come back off the woodwork. Half-time came as Leeds were piling on the pressure and looking to put some daylight between themselves and the visitors.

As some of us were still making our way back to our seats at the start of the second half, Kieran Trippier played in another loanee Matt Hill who slotted home beyond a furious Kasper Schmeichel. Once again, Leeds’ defence was disorganised and hopeless and things were about to get much worse. 2-2

With the sides back level, Barnsley were given the ultimate advantage as the referee sent Bradley Johnson off for a second bookable offence. By the letter of the law, he perhaps deserved to walk, but this was a Yorkshire derby where the tackles are bound to be flying in and we see much worse challenges every week – the game really didn’t warrant a red card.

The man advantage showed for Barnsley as they started to find more space and time on the ball. However, Simon Grayson is not a man to sit back and defend a point regardless of circumstance and responded by bolstering Leeds’ attack with the additions of  Sanchez Watt and Davide Somma in what he probably expected was an ‘all or nothing’ roll of the dice.

It was Sanchez Watt who got an important touch to Max Gradel who twisted and turned before curling a shot beyond the opposition keeper from range. An excellent individual piece of skill from the in-form winger to put Leeds back in front against the odds. 3-2

But Barnsley’s man advantage continued to show as they pushed on for an equaliser. With less than 10 minutes to go, the visitors were awarded a free-kick in a good position which Kieran Trippier struck well beyond a stranded Kasper Schmeichel as the Leeds wall parted. 3-3

It was Barnsley who had the bulk of the chances to steal an unlikely victory at Elland Road, but Leeds managed to hang on to draw their second home game on the bounce. At least it wasn’t 2-5.


I’ve run out of words to describe Leeds United’s defending this season. Just when you think you’ve turned a corner with back-to-back clean sheets, we concede five at home in the space of four days.

I don’t care who the visitors are, or what the circumstances are surrounding it but when you score three goals on home soil, you should always be finishing with three points.

This was a comedy of errors from start to finish. Truly dreadful defending from Leeds that can only be compared to that v Preston and in the reverse fixture v Barnsley.

I’m starting to wonder whether Kasper Schmeichel may not be the hero we all think he is? Set-pieces seem to be a particularly leaky area for the Whites and the goalkeeper is the person that should be issuing orders and organising his box for these situations. He seems to do plenty of shouting at his defence, but more often than not, this is after the ball has hit the back of the net rather than in the build-up.

A comedy of errors

Aside from the defence, the “Premier League referee” did little to impress. The penalty Max Gradel got was never a penalty in a million years, and the ref wasn’t in a good enough position to make that call.

I’m not suggesting the ref levelled things out by sending Bradley Johnson off, but that was one of the softest red card decisions I’ve seen outside the Prem. This was a Yorkshire derby – things are bound to get a little rough and ready.

The strange thing was, that as far as these things go, both teams behaved pretty well. If anything, Barnsley were the rougher of the two sides yet it was Leeds that ended up at a disadvantage.

Overall, I suspect Barnsley feel a little unlucky after reviewing the penalty decision, but these things happen and it’s rare one goes in Leeds’ favour. Moreover, Barnsley rode their luck a bit too and were lucky not to be further behind at half-time as The Whites increased their shots bouncing back off the woodwork record.

3-3 was probably a fair reflection of the game given the defensive errors made by Leeds. This should have been killed off by half-time, but the farcical defending meant that even with a bigger margin, we’d still have been vulnerable to a comeback.

TSS man of the match

If I was taking both sides into consideration, then this would be given to Kieran Trippier who was influential in every Barnsley attack and goal. For Leeds however, I’d have to say Max Gradel. He too has a lot of work to do on the defensive side of his game (defend as a team, attack as a team) but the brace speaks for itself.

Picture by MAMF. View more from Leeds v Barnsley here.

63 Responses

  1. mark

    We can’t defend like that.
    The two full backs were marking our own centre halves.
    They have to start sticking to the wingers. We had enough bodies in the middle (3 central midfielders at home FFS) to cope with anything that was direct and through the central area of the pitch. I don’t know if they have been told by the manager/coaches to play narrow, it works at lower levels were teams can’t shift the ball over the pitch as quick but at this level you can’t get caught out of position. Once the winger gets behind the full back you are in trouble.
    Snoddy and Max do it enough so it’s noyt as if it’s something new to us.

  2. Thomas Hill

    It was painful to watch, some many basic errors. We looked tired and the team were constantly at each other. Need to buck our ideas up if we want anything from Swansea who will destroy us if we play like that.

    • mark

      Totally agree, Bechhio looked out on his feet and snoddy too.
      You can’t expect Becchio to play week in week out up front by himself and perform. he needs help. I can understand playing 1 up front for tough games away from home were you are hitting teams on the break but at home you have to go at least 442.

      • TSS

        Can’t believe we didn’t go 4-4-2. We just look massively disorganised in the 4-5-1 system when defending. V Coventry (playing 4-4-2) was the only time this season the defence has looked solid.

      • mark

        Like you say when we play 5 across the middle nobody knows who they are picking up and they look totally confused. Snoddy and max are obviously under pressure to support Bechhio as soon as they can so they race forward every time we get the ball. You can’t expect them to give the same commitment to defending as well, they just burn themselves out. Play two up front and it take the pressure off them to attack as much and also it stops the ball coming straight back at us. How many times has Bechhio now flicked the ball on to nobody.

  3. captaincrash

    McCartney was exposed last night on a few occasions. The wall for the free kick split, Kasper had a right to expect them to stand, harsh to blame him I feel as he had insisted they shifted left ahead of the kick to allow him to protect his right side.

    Our MoM has to be Max, nobody else really impressed (Howson was busy)but midfield was overrun really.

    Loanee(s) coming in I assume, Southern from Blackpool?

  4. Dubwhite

    Gutted by this result. I checked the live league table when we were 2/1 up it looked really encouraging but yet again the defensive lapses come back to haunt us. If we could stop shipping stupid goals we’d be walking away with this league. We hit the post a few times against Norwich too, these draws are really costing us.

  5. chris from wakey

    Come May when we miss out on the play offs we will really regret all the two points missed from drawn games. a few tweaks to our tactics BUT a strong back four would have put us in the number one slot by now. I just have a sneaky feeling that for all the words of support from the chairman about new players the un-heard follow up is “must be cheap”. It’s a crying shame that a better investment – even in January 2011 – in the defence would have seen us battling for automatic promotion and not for a play off position. If we can’t get our act together for mid week games and local derby games what chance do we have in a play off final? Third time lucky ? I’ve more chance of biting my own a**e.

  6. Chris

    Were you at the game? Beautifully struck free kick ? The wall parted as the half hit ball went through at less than shoulder height. Mighty Max needs to work on the defensive side of the game? He works harder than any body, both ways. Snoddy went to sleep for the second goal – the full back is his responsibility. We need centre halves who can head the ball and not get knocked about – oh for Kisnorbo!!

    • TSS

      Max – I’m not questioning his work-rate, I’m questioning his ability to tackle. He’s just not a defensive-minded player, both in terms of the tackles he puts in and his positioning. I’ve never considered him lazy, or anything less than hard-working though.

      As for their free-kick. It might not have been nice to watch for us, but the young lad hit it well enough. Yes, the wall should have stopped it, but he found that gap and hit it well enough to leave Kasper stranded. If we’d scored it in the same way, you’d have no arguments.

      Frustrating night, I know, but you have to try and see it from both sides, and as far as Barnsley are concerned, that will have been a wonder-strike.

      • Andrew Farrar

        You say

        “Yes, the wall should have stopped it, but he found that gap and hit it well enough to leave Kasper stranded.”

        When he hit it the wall was there, no gap! The wall parted like the waves after he hit it and make no wonder Kasper hoofed the ball into the stand in disgust. Kasper was not to blame in my eyes.

        As for signing Gonzalez, I still can’t fathom that one out, but maybe your right as in other areas last night Kasper was not dominant. When they sent a through ball he went, stopped, went again, stopped and then threw his get out of jail card in and got away with it.

        I fear the worse on Saturday!

      • TSS

        Kasper – That’s my growing concern, that there seems to be so little understanding with the defence with 2/3’s of the season played.

        There still doesn’t seem to be a leader in there. Maybe it’s unfair to expect Kasper to be that leader, but someone has to step up and he’s the most regular player.

    • TSS

      To be fair, having only just seen the highlights, he did strike it well but the parting of the wall was pretty bad. Couldn’t really tell whether the gap was already there mind, but have amended nevertheless.

  7. Thomas Hill

    Against Norwich and Barnsley I thought McCartney was shocking. He looks lazy and can’t even pass a ball. Then he produces moments of magic like he did against QPR.
    4-4-2 allows us to give Becchio less of the work load. Somma was the wrong man to bring on because all we did was hoof it, and that man is terrible in the air. I was surprised he didn’t use Ross McCormack someone with some pace to give something different.

    • mark

      Don’t forget Bristol as well. They targeted McCartney and every time they looked like scoring it came down that side.
      Somma was the right man to bring on, how can you argue with his scoring record aginst McCormack. Maybe he would have done better with Paynter winning the ball in the air and on the ground then feeding him rather than Watt.

      • Thomas Hill

        Ye his goal scoring record is fantastic, but if we play him, then it has to be his feet otherwise he is wasted. If we put on Paynter and Somma it took another midfielder out of the equation and we would have been all over the place, even more than we was.

  8. Bubionwhite

    So, so disappointing … again. A further 4 points dropped at consecutive home games doesn’t make for a top two finish.

    Good points already mae about the team looking tired, particularly Becchio. If we continue to play 4-5-1 SG should rotate his options more to give him a break … could be left on the bench in case he’s needed second half.

    Interesting comment you make about Kasper TSS … perhaps SG knew a little more than we think when he signed Gonzalez.

    • TSS

      Been thinking the same. Seems strange that a Premier League reserve keeper would come to play for the reserves in the Championship. Must be worth a try at this point?

      • Thomas Hill

        Hasn’t Mancini said this morning he has no choice to call him back as Given is out for season? A lot of fans complaining about Kasper and his error but surely if his wall would have stayed solid he would have been fine?

  9. henryv

    Hells Bells!
    We now need to score 4 goals to win a game, so things are getting worse.
    Funnily enough I have felt unhappy with Kasper for a while now. As we do not have a big defender he needs to dominate the box from set pieces.
    As he has been getting rave reviews I felt i must be wrong
    but I have seen better keepers in our division.
    If there is a good thing that has come from this it is that Simon will have to bring at least 2 players in now, before we slide.
    While we are going well, it is the best time to bring them in. Not when we are struggling.
    Let’s have no more “I think our squad is strong enough”
    nonsense on here!
    We have let in 52 goals so far!!
    QPR have let in 20!!

    • TSS

      But the squad is strong enough – how else would we be in the position we are with only one loss in 20 games?

      I’ve never said additional players wouldn’t help, I just never thought we needed people as desperately as the rest of you (a point proven by so few defeats).

      The style of play remains the “problem”, not the personnel. However, if we can bring players in that suit the style of play better then that’s good enough for me.

    • Moojoo Mike

      Frightening, isn’t it? We need 4 at home to win.
      Listening on LUTV, I just had this terrible belief (?) they’d get an equaliser…after such an inspired comeback. The back line, including “hero” Casper is beyond awful. They simply don’t believe in themselves these days…for the full 90 mins.
      Instead of going into the loan market for some other centre back on £3-5 k a week, shouldn’t we be urgently searching for a specialised defensive coach on probably less than that a month. (No, not Lucas- he’s unproven.) But there must be an unsung (or famous) and available former defender who knows how it all works,(Martin Keown?) capable of teaching and passing the basic organisation on to our current bunch of willing (and decently skilled) defenders who seem to be all at sea at the moment? It all starts with the defence…MOT

  10. henryv

    Just looking at the league table Sheffield United are second from the bottom and have let 53 goals in.
    Only one more than us!!

  11. RickHx

    The free kick was absolutely awful and Kasper was stranded because of it. The wall is there to do a job, and to blame Kasper for that is pathetic. The keeper and the defence are getting plenty of stick, but the second goal was down to Snodgrass not following his man, and the third goal came from Watts poor attempt at a tackle and Kilkenny and Gradel breaking the wall. Add to that Johnsons sending off!! I’m not particularly trying to defend the defence, as McCartney had one of the worst games I have ever seen from a full back, but for me the real mistake was not resting some of the players. It was a home game in between massive games against Norwich and Swansea, and we could all see Becchio and Snodders really put it in against Norwich. Why didn’t we use some of the squad who are desperate to impress and rest some players for Saturday

  12. henryv

    The defensive side of the squad is not strong enough.
    They leak goals like a sieve.
    We have 2 loanee fullbacks and we lack a big defender to head the ball out.
    How many clearances has Luciano had to make from set pieces?
    The pressure on the forwards to keep scoring goals will take its toll.
    Barnsley (not Barcelona) have scored nine goals in two games against us.
    We have done really well to be where we are, but now is the time to go for it.

    • TSS

      The thing is, you defend as a team and attack as a team. No one complains about the full-backs when they’re providing the crosses we score from at the other end and offering invaluable support to the wingers.

      On paper, Leeds’ defence is one of the best in the division, so you can’t blame individuals. How many more players who were perfectly good before joining Leeds do we have to destroy the career of before we accept the system doesn’t work defensively?

  13. captaincrash

    Kasper was not in any way to blame for their 3rd last night. Before the kick was taken he was yelling for the wall to shift left which it did and he gave the thumbs up. He then moved to his right to protect that side.

    He has to rely on the wall. The ball went thru the wall at shoulder height. Poor, poor, poor.

    For me he is without doubt amongst our 5 stand out players this season and I would not swap him for any other keeper in this league.

  14. Ron

    I think it’s unfair to go after Kasper. Outside of Snoddy, he’s probably the next player picked for the Championship team of the season. We have unfortunately adopted a West Ham style of play, which is great for TV, but nothing else. For mine it is inexcusable to have tired players up front when you have a bench like ours which is 80% forwards. Sam and Watt have been great for us this year when given the chance and Becchio should have had a rest by now. Grayson knew we had a very full schedule over Christmas and beyond and should have rotated. Forget all this crap about it being a ‘long season’, Saturday is a must-win game against Swansea, as much for points as our self-belief.

  15. henryv

    TSS” On paper, Leeds’ defence is one of the best in the division, so you can’t blame individuals. How many more players who were perfectly good before joining Leeds do we have to destroy the career of before we accept the system doesn’t work defensively?”

    So just so I understand you TSS. You are saying that it is the Manager/ & coaching staff and tactics that are to blame?
    The players are more than capable playing in the right system, whatever that is?
    Which players have ‘we’ destroyed?
    It is true that we have had many disappointing signings but none were world beaters to start with.
    I too wonder what goes on at the training ground after displays like last night.

    • TSS

      It’s not dissimilar to the England manager’s job. Take Richard Naylor as an example;

      He comes in on loan, instantly impresses and the fans call for him to be signed permanently.

      He joins Leeds, continues to do well right up until January 2010. At which point, the entire team starts to fail, but because we need to single someone out and make them a scapegoat, Nayl’s takes the brunt of the criticism (I’m not saying it was necessarily undeserved, but others were equally as poor)

      Overnight almost, Naylor goes from being our new found hero (Leeds lad, sings MOT in the shower, solid defender) to an absolute laughing stock used to explain every defeat or below-par performance.

      This season the problem is, and always has been, the system. You can’t commit everyone bar the two centre-backs forward and expect to keep clean sheets. You’re going to get caught out time and time again. We commit all these players forward, then in a frantic rush to get back we seem to get mixed up, panicked and disorganised.

      • Colin

        TSS – The only thing that happened to Naylor is that he lost his pace. He got an injury and that together with age, meant he had less pace than he did when we signed him.

        Beckford got so many of his goals not through great skill, but because he had pace to beat all the old has been defenders in the 3rd division.

        I’m sure Naylor’s defensive brain still works fine, but his legs have gone and that’s what you get when you sign a 31 year old defender – one good season and then their legs have gone.

      • TSS

        I’m not disputing that, but we can all think of defenders that have been absolutely ridiculed after joining Leeds then tossed out on the scrap-heap. Strange how they’re good before we sign them…

  16. Sveifors

    Our defencive problems goes way back, when Kisnorbo got injured we had these problems.

    After every game it is the same talk and the only reason it has not been taken seriosly is because our goal scoring rate. This is not something we pin down on one single player, this is a team problem.

    The clean sheet against Bristol City was pure luck. They had a lot of free headers and woodwark shots. To beleieve after that game that our problems was over is to hide the head in the sand.

    If you look at highlights on LUTV, you can take almost every game and you will see horrific defence too freekicks and corners. Ballwatching and two or three players go after the same ball leaving open space in the box.
    I have often wondered what on earth they are doing on the training field. On corners we are absolute awful.

    I think one ofthe problem is our weak midfield. Howson can only play good in 4-5-1, and Kilkenny, Johnson Howson are too weak in defensive work.

    You can not in modern football leave it all to the defence alone and all the others can go forward.

    • Gryff

      What are we doing on the training field? I remember a while back there was a post about our backroom staff…

      There’s Glynn Snodin who apart from playing for Leeds for a few years, has managed (drumroll) Charlton Reserves!
      Probably a good coach in Ian Miller, but also Neil Redfearn whose playing highlights include Oldham, Barnsley & Halifax, and whose coaching experience consists of stints at Halifax, Northwich Victoria, Scarborough & York.

      In short, we’re not teaching our players anything because we’re only able to afford Grayson, Snoddin, Miller before filling the numbers with dross that struggles to hold down a job in Blue Square Premier & North teams! ;)

  17. Altrinchamandrew

    Spot on comments about our defence. Really need to tighten up if we,re to get out out of this league.
    This season is vital: if we ont go up cannot see Gradel, Snodgrass and Becchio here next season.
    Draws no longer any good; time to sort out the TEAM defending if we’re to be playing in the Premiership next season . Have to finish 2nd: we are consistently unsuccessful in playoffs!!!!!
    Run in starts now!

  18. Nasty Jim

    Think if we are gonna go up then it will be done via the playoffs..we are due a playoff final win..plus SG has been there and already done it..too inconsistent in the league to go up auto..as last night proved!


  19. Paul South Wales

    Totally agree that we should have rested players last night ready for Swansea Saturday. If we play like that, they’ll tear us a new ass hole! Paynter and Sam should’ve been given a go last night, Becchio has worked himself silly recently playing on his own, and we have this big squad, but use the same players week in, week out! What’s the point, we did this last year and nearly missed out, WHY?

  20. Jim Barnett

    Look on the bright side lads…remember the season where we only scored 28 goals?! Let’s keep some perspective just in case we forget…we are in 6th place, 3 points clear of 7th with 12 games left in our FIRST season back in the Championship! Yes, we made errors last night, but let’s not start blaming individuals…it’s a team effort. And the team’s done pretty damn good so far…obviously it’ll be a huge disappointment if we don’t get into the top 6…but that’ll only be testament to the fantastic effort that the lads have put in this season. MOT

  21. bazza

    we are not organised in defence we are unable to defend set plays every free kick and corner puts us under pressure and we look very nervous all season we have needed a centre half a left back and a midfield play maker kilkenny spends more time telling everybody else what to do but doesnt practice what he preaches mr bates should have spent in the tansfer window on these three position


    One of our main problems is that all our midfielders are attack minded and lack the defensive ability we need to protect the back four when we are not in possession.
    No successful team rely on their back four alone. Look at QPR and the difference that Derry makes to their team. We don’t need the most talented midfielder but simply someone who can stop the opposition.
    I would try Bruce in the Johnson position and give Bromby another chance at centre back.

    • Gryff

      Agree with you there, a pity that Grayson doesn’t seem to.

      A lot of our troubles recently have come from overly-comitted wingers allowing them to overlap wide, or our 3 in the middle allowing a couple of organised centres to walk through them.

  23. Gryff

    The comments do seem to highlight a couple of drawbacks with our style of play:
    1. The ultra-attacking wingers/inside-forwards do not (and are not asked to?) do their jobs defensively and so leave us vulnerable to any team willing to risk it all with an attacking style (which coincindentally seems to be the ones with nothing to lose – Barnsley, PNE, etc.)
    2. The 3 central midfielders, having gone through their respective academies, only know how to play 2 in the middle. They try to do their own jobs, but even when they do the defence is often left confused.
    3. Playing the same XI with maybe 1-2 changes each week is fine and dandy until you’re half a year into the season. We lack the German month-long break in December. Perhaps it’s time to play Nunez, Watt, etc. for full games even if they’re not as good?
    4. We’re relying on Bradley Johnson, whose idiotic way of giving away dangerous free-kicks, getting sent-off, or scoring an own goal from the tightest of angles must have cost us at least 6 points this season (and that’s just his howlers). Imagine a world where he was level-headed, intelligent, and looked for passes rather than peppering the stands!

    As most Leeds fans have found out during our time down here, the leagues are different from the Premiership. Our novel way of not diving is constantly remarked upon in the big matches, while our adequate tackling is often described as ‘crunching’. I don’t think a Premiership referee is really a good thing in the lower leagues…

  24. Colin

    Gryff – I have to completely disagree.

    Leeds don’t dive? – not true. You even brush against Becchio and he’s down like he’s been shot.

    Bradley Johnson giving away idiotic free kicks? Remember David Batty? Face it, if the defence is shit (and they are) and Johnson is the last midfielder left with a player coming towards him, you make the tackle, because you have to. That’s his job. He’s been told to do that.

    2 in the middle, 3 in central midfield, wingers, wing backs, etc etc. Yawn. That is no excuse for our defence. Leeds have a flat back 4. Sure, the defence help out occasionally and push forward, but that isn’t the problem.

    There’s no excuse for Leeds to be unable to deal with set pieces. They aren’t confident – they don’t know what to do or where to be. Leeds’ defence hasn’t suddenly become poor, they’ve been bad all season as proved by the number of goals we’ve conceded throughout the season.

    I don’t blame the players, although the defenders we have are poor – getting old, lacking pace etc.

    I’ve no problem if Craig Bellamy beats the defence with a mazy dribble and a bit of true skill, but when Leeds have 3 put past them by a quite frankly shit Barnsley attack, then there’s problems.

    This is the responsibility of the coaching staff. Look at them and tell me who knows anything about how to defend?

    I do not think that Kasper is to blame, as some posters have mentioned. He’s played with top quality players and if he kicks the ball into the stands in frustration after yet another conceded goal, it’s because he knows his defence should have done better.

    There’s no-one in the Leeds coaching team who can tell them how to defend. Simple as.

    Leeds have conceded easy goals all season. That’s one of 2 things. Either the 4 defenders we currently have (brought in by SG this season) are truly awful, and in which case SG should get crucified, or, they are actually okay, but not being told how to defend, in which case SG has to take the rap and sort it out and either hold his hands up or bring in a defensive coach.

    • TSS

      Is Simon Grayson not part of the coaching squad? Where was it he played again…

      Who are these over the hill defenders by the way? Lichaq (22), O’Brien (31), Bruce (26) and McCartney (29) started the last game. The oldest (OB) should be in his prime about now.

      • Colin

        TSS – Grayson has to take responsibility and it starts by admitting that HE has to work with the defence and change this.

        I said the players lack pace, and they do.

        As for getting old, i didn’t mean age wise, i meant more getting past their sell buy date. I don’t think that any of them will get better. Lichaq is the exception – he’s an unknown and I can’t attack him.

        O Brien was in his pomp at Newcastle and he left them in 2005. That was his chance. He didn’t prove himself. He’s been on the slide since 2005 and slid into the Championship. He’s going one way – downhill.

        Bruce was an inspiring youth talent and failed to get games at many teams until Ipswich took him on and then eventually wanted rid of him. We took this miserable bastard on.

        McCartney, part of Sunderland and West Ham, neither of which did well while he was there. Now can’t get a gig at Sunderland, and dropped a division. He’s on his way down the leagues. Journeyman.

        Connolly (who would be playing if he wasn’t injured) – I actually like him. A lot. That said, his pedigree is poor – Plymouth and Derby.

        There’s a trend here – either defenders who have failed to make it at the top level or who have and are now dropping down the leagues and ended up at Leeds. All of them have already had their chance outside Leeds and failed and won’t get any better.

        Now compare that to the better players of the team:

        Schmeichel, Howson, Johnson, Snodgrass, Gradel, Becchio, Somma.

        The trend? All of them are players who played at a lower level and Leeds have developed and progressed and made them better players. All of them are outfield attacking players (except Schmeichel who hasn’t developed – he’s as good as the day we bought him).

        And don’t forget Beckford and Delph.

        We develop and improve attacking players. We don’t have a clue when it comes to defence – either buying or developing.

  25. Gryff

    @Colin I said on the big ocassions. Beckford was roundly praised in our matches against Liverpool (if I recall correctly?) and Tottenham because he didn’t dive. We were then compared to Arsenal favourably with the Walcott fiasco this season.

    It’s the job of a defensive midfielder to pick the right moments to commit a foul, and to only commit a yellow-card foul once per match maximum. There are plenty of defensive (or defensive minded) midfielders (Alex Song, Essien, Sissoko, Eustace, Russell, Savage, Derry) who capably thwart build-up play through the middle without giving away free-kicks near the edge of the box every match. BJ lacks the experience and the intelligence to tell when he should be fouling and when he shouldn’t be.

    Also, 3 in the centre makes a huge difference to the defence as it changes the whole dynamic of a little thing called marking. Heard of it? It’s about getting the bad guys before they get the ball. If there are 3 in the centre, and the 3 don’t always mark up as they should, this leaves a stray man that the defence has to deal with on top of those they’re already assigned to. Similarly, if the 3 in the middle supposedly free up the wide men, then the opposition wing-backs have to be marked by the 3 in the middle if they run forward, potentially leaving the defence with 1 midfielder in front of them rather than 2. It changes the whole dynamic of the game. Simply saying ‘yawn’ and ignoring such responsibilities is like randomly hurling your chess pieces forward, thinking one move at a time, it will only ever lead to carnage for your side.

    I agree with you on set pieces. But set pieces are something undertaken by the whole team and not just by the defence. It’s misguided to blame conceding goals on corners on the defence when there should be (and usually are) 8 white shirts in that box! The problem likely lies with poor coaching, I agree (see reply to someone else further up the comments).

    Personally, I think Bruce & O’Brien are both Premiership standard, easily. Then we look at McCartney & Lichaj. As I think TSS said earlier, how come all our defenders (probably about 10 in the past 4 years) do well at other clubs at the level we’re at or higher, and then are all of a sudden not good enough when at Leeds?

    • Colin

      Fair enough, but you can’t blame the midfield and then also ask why our defenders have done it at other clubs but not at Leeds?

      So who’s to blame? The midfield or defence? Do you seriously want Howson or Kilkenny or Gradel or Snodgrass to try and help the defence? That’s a problem, because they can’t. You can’t tell Gradel or Snodgrass to change their game and hold back and help the defence. If you do, then the goals dry up.

      If you think that Bruce or O’Brien are PL quality and will ever play for a PL team again then you’re mistaken. Absolutely no chance. Zero. If they could, they wouldn’t be at Leeds. Come on, they’re hardly doing it at Championship level.

  26. henryv

    How do you get rid of that football that appears when you log in?!!

    I cannot blame Simon, or his staff fir the individual errors that have cost us this season.
    Own goals, mis-kicks, slack marking, silly, pointless free kicks in dangerous areas.
    Letting the ball bounce instead of heading it.
    Professional, seasoned professional players should be able to sort themselves out from free kicks, corners and open play?
    The Chairman and manager promised us at least two players, better than what we have. We are still waiting.
    We have got rid of what we thought was the dead wood. About 12 of them, one way or another with no one coming in. McCartney was already part of the squad for a few months and the other full back was is cover for Connelly.
    The players we have brought in have been mainly freebees, and you get what you pay for.
    I don’t blame Kasper, but wonder how good he is?
    If we subtract the goals conceded through individual error, not tactics, we would be top of the league.

  27. Gryff

    @Colin my idea was precisely that that is what I should do! :)

    The point I was trying to make was that the defence isn’t made up of old men who can’t kick a ball, it’s actually reasonably good. The form of each player before coming to Leeds highlights this. So we’ve got to look at how they come to fail at Leeds which is almost certainly tactical.

    On to who’s to blame? Personally I’d say that Grayson is trying to have his cake and eat it. The whole point in playing a 4-5-1/4-3-3 of the kind we have is that our wingers are effectively wide strikers. That means we have to play a conventional 4-3-3 central midfield. Sometimes that’ll be one defensive midfielder and two in support of the attack, but it’s equally likely to be two defensive central midfielders with one freed up to play off the striker.

    We’re playing, instead, with one defensive centre, one playing off the striker, and one who sort of floats about a bit (often Kilkenny!). Which from my perspective leaves a massive hole in the centre more often than not.

    That said, it’s ALWAYS an attacking formation. The only realistic way it can be defensively responsible is if the wide men step back into the conventional wing-role, and the attacking central midfielders step back into a conventional central role. Then it’s ALWAYS defensive.

    So i’d say none of the lads are specifically to blame, but it’s the midfield that’s leaving us looking like Emmental, because they’re asked to do the wrong things!

    … Then again it doesn’t help we only have BJ & Jonny Howson who are even vaguely defensively capable in the centre.

  28. Matt BB

    we need to agree on how we are going to play in my opinion. Kilkenny is back and has walked back into a side that wasnt leaking goals.

    His presence means we lose either Watt, Sam or a more attacking central midfielder – Howson ends up being pulled between the two roles as kilkenny has a free role, and finds himself all over the pitch.

    Even with Johnson and Howson as our only genuine midfielders the defence knows what to expect, and therefore their job.

    With Kilkenny brought in that changes, no one seems to know their role. 1 stays back two play to the strikers?

    One issue I have with Kilkenny is he is an appalling communicator, the number of times i have seen him shouting at his team mates is unacceptable. He isnt the Captain, and he shouldnt need to shout, he needs to make himself visibly the player to play to, or show his intentions by playing as the manager has told him to.


    Watt is light weight [certainly cant accused fat boy Kilkenny of that ] midfield lacks an organising ball winner all season and Howson is certainly no captain. posts saying that Grayson not got a clue when signing defenders. but his record with forwards is terrible ! [ Volkes, Dickinson,Painter, Mc Cormack etc.]

  30. Mark

    Moan moan moan moan! Whats wrong with everyone???!! ‘Graysons crap, the players are crap’, blah blah blah! Either get on prozac, or have a reality check! The manager is doing a fantastic job, and we have some really good players – end of! So we drew at home to Barnsley. so we lost some games! Shock horror! Get behind the team and stop sounding like a bunch of armchair prawn sandwich eating 14 year olds who think ‘life isnt fair’. And I still reckon we are going up!

  31. henryv

    The prozac seems to working for you Mark!
    Unfortunately, if you stop taking them you will see that we have a fine manager and a team that needs reinforcing while we still have a chance at promotion.
    The manager & chairman see the need so, hopefully, we will get a boost of a couple of good Premiership players.
    By the way, life is NOT fair, and I hope we are going up.
    Life does not care about us or anybody else, but that is OK.
    We are right behind the boys!!!

  32. Mark

    The pride of seeing leeds do us proud is all the prozac i need. Its just all the negativity doesnt help anyone. Its like those people get on Beckfords, or Johnson’s back….and who boo when we are losing at half time even. Ive seen some real crap for leeds over the years, and believe me, this isnt anything at all as bad as some on here describe. I want the manager, and the team to do well, because i believe in both [ok, ken bates i have severe reservations over]. Grayson knows his stuff. Lets wait and see.

  33. Gryff

    @Mark it is possible to think the club’s doing well and still discuss its shortcomings!

    I’d say you sound more like a 14-year-old than most of the others here, in that you’ve not learnt of a thing called ‘debate’ yet ;)


    agree that Grayson is the man for the job. but think he will even be surprised at how poor we are defensively and probably decided sometime ago that the best policy of defence for us with the players we have is to get on the front foot. anything is a bonus this season but fans will expect promotion next season and the worry is that Bates doesnt have the money to take us to the next level. so SG will have to perform more miracles next season and get us up on the cheap ! no debate for me SG is the best manager we have had for many a season.

  35. Mark

    Ohhhhhh. I didnt realise debate meant listing a whole different lot of complaints! Silly me. Still time for relegation do you think guys? Whose head needs to roll first after saturday? Can we finish above Preston do you think?

  36. Adrian Akers

    For me a lot of this comes down to discipline. The amount of goals this Leeds side can score is all well and good. But we need to learn how to protect a lead as well. It’s no good thinking we can then just go and get another goal if we concede. The number of goals we have scored in games this season, that we have then either lost or drawn is not acceptable. 3 goals should be enough to win games in this division, especially at home.

    Yes the back four (and different combinations of) have been a worry all season. And to be honest, this is an area that Grayson needs to look at close season.

    But we have to have a little bit of a look at the midfield also. Our midfield want to drive and run at the players. They are always looking to get the goal and get forward – not that they all have blistering pace. I’d like to see them control the middle of the park a little better. See out longer spells of just knocking the ball around, controlling the game. It might not be the most “exciting” way to play, but then isn’t getting to the Premier League going to be pretty exciting in itself. A comedy of errors it may well have been, but nobody will be laughing if we don’t reach the play offs this season, and to be honest 5 straight wins would have you pushing on up for automatic promotion.


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