The Swansea City inquest continues TSS February 27, 2011 Leeds United 54 Comments Whether you blame the formation, individual players, fatigue or a combination of all three, what was clear from the hiding we took at Swansea City was that Leeds United need to face a few home truths and quickly regroup. We can take solace in the fact that there is no Tuesday fixture this week – a timeslot where we continuously flatter to deceive – and that the players and management have a full week to address some major issues before Donny Rovers roll into town looking to kick Leeds while we’re down. Where did it all go wrong? The most obvious change for Swansea was the formation. 4-4-2 played right into our opponents hands, allowing them to control the midfield and dominate possession. It’s a bit of a cliché in football, but games are won and lost in midfield and when you’re relying on Neil Kilkenny – a luxury player at best – to step-up and help compensate for the defensive hole left by Johnson’s suspension then you know you’re in for a tough afternoon. Grayson was rightly critical of his players following the game, but must also take a substantial portion of the blame himself. He pointed to a transfer that never came off in time as one reason why we struggled, but this is an area where he can blame no one but himself. Clearly, we’ve been waiting until the emergency loan duration takes us beyond the play-0ff final, but the gamble we took in doing so has cost us seven points in our last three games and meant a play-off position is slowly slipping away. Failure to bring in said player meant that 4-5-1 could either be played with a line-up of attack minded midfielders, or we could revert back to 4-4-2 and try to bypass the midfield entirely. It’s unlikely that the 4-5-1 option would have yielded a different result from the 4-4-2 we went with, but this only serves to highlight a major lack of balance in the team and the extent to which Bradley Johnson is relied upon. Where do we go from here? Despite the loss at Swansea, I would still be tempted to stick with the 4-4-2 for our next game at home to Doncaster. 4-5-1 is a formation that often relies on us counter-attacking our opponents, making it ideal away from home. At Elland Road however, we should be taking the game to the opposition rather than allowing them to come at us. The return of Bradley Johnson should add a bit of muscle to the centre and Jonny Howson would need to play a more balanced role and allow the wingers to do the attacking, but we do have the players to make this formation work successfully. If the highly anticipated loan signing does arrive in time, I’d even be tempted to drop the captain and let Johnson pair up with a (hopefully) strong defensive midfielder who can offer support to the centre-backs. This in turn, should resolve the problems we’re having with our full-backs who continuously get themselves dragged into central positions allowing our opponents acres of space down the wings. McCartney has been dreadful for three games running now, but I don’t believe for one second that he’s a poor full-back, unaware of where he’s supposed to playing. Finally, I would consider giving some key players a much needed rest. Becchio and Snoddy have been well below their best at times lately and both have replacements on the bench capable of doing a job in their absence. Two points from three games with eight goals conceded is disastrous form, but by no means is it fatal. This has to be used as a wake-up call for Leeds United FC. The four games in March are all winnable fixtures, but we need to resolve our defensive frailties once and for all before the play-offs are simply a forgotten pipe dream in a largely insignificant season for The Whites.