Watford are a surprisingly good side, Grayson insisted in all his pre-match interviews. Don’t under-estimate them, they’re on a good run.

The bottom line is that we have played another relatively poor team and we’ve performed badly against them again. This isn’t a Championship thing: it was the same in League One. And this isn’t an individual thing: from Prutton to Clayton, we’ve been through enough centre mids to know that it’s a tactical thing.

I’m not going to get too deeply into those tactics. I could move little circles around a green screen for an hour, but only the SkySports generation would be interested. Simply put, I reckon we’re playing too defensively and paying too much attention to the opposition.

‘DEFENSIVELY? SIMON “2-0-8” GRAYSON?!’

Yes, defensively. When we lose to these easy teams, it’s almost always with a 4-4-2. The strikers could be Andy Keogh, Michael Ricketts or Jermaine Beckford; if you don’t get the service you can’t score the goals. The wingers, too, rely on short passing from the full-backs and the centre-mids to get going. That’s the trouble, the centre-mids aren’t getting into these games.

At Vicarage road it was Pugh and Clayton. At Griffin Park two years ago (if I remember right) it was Howson and Doyle. The official line then was a “sodden pitch” that “cut up quickly”; the line from Tsar Bates’ Radio on Saturday was a “sloping pitch.” @EmptyUK summed up:  

“Eddie Gray sounds.. hammered. Just listening out for the chink and clang of a hip flask. #lufc #twitterwhites”

But the reality is that we’re facing teams whose only weapon is athleticism and who will look to go route-one given half an opportunity. Our answer isn’t to throw on Bradley Johnson as an attacking midfielder to grab the initiative (especially this season, since he’s gone), it doesn’t seem to even be to play 4-5-1 to allow the two centre-mids to defend against this battering-ram of a team, and an attacking centre-mid of whatever style  to keep them on the back foot. It’s to sit back and invite them on to us.

In that scenario, there’s only one winner and it’s not Leeds. In 2009 Max Gradel replaced the injured Snodgrass on the wing, the prolific Jermaine Beckford struggled for supply. We weren’t a poor side.

It looks ominous. We’re a great young, enthusiastic team when we go forward, but we seem to be constantly worrying about making mistakes. We slip up and there’s another scapegoat: Beckford, Naylor, Johnson; Kisnorbo, Becchio, Howson. We’re changing formation match after match, we’re changing the team around in the most bizarre of fashions. Attacking dynamo Nunez overlooked in favour of a 4-4-2 with Keogh and Becchio together. We’re only a mouthy Scottish munchkin from Villa and a non-entity from Spurs off the same problems we found ourselves in last season.

We’re good enough to play confident football. We’ve played Scum twice since our two relegations. Once we reacted to them, ended up scared to pass within ten feet of a red shirt and lost heavily; Once we set out to play our own game with confident, athletic, physical players and beat them 1-0.

So from now on, damn the torpedoes: let’s obliterate these b*stards and get promoted.

-An original article written by Gryff, mental age 10, in orange Crayola.

  • Captaincrash

    Indeed Gryff, just written a piece re our long running (no pun) lack of pace.

    • Gryff

      @Captaincrash For TSS? Will look forward to that.

      • TSS

        @Gryff@Captaincrash Yeah, it’s been sent to us. Will publish soon as I get chance tomorrow.

  • ChicagoWhite

    A little harsh I think agree about pace but pace doesn’t come cheap & while we have an owner who expects miracles on pennies we will never sign pace unless it off the scrap heap or come via our academy.

    I don’t think Larry is tactically as naive as many make out he just knows he has limited options + it always amazes me that he’s never naive when we win only when we drop points.

    A point at Watford is not bad especially if you look at there home record they are no push over, especially with the enforced changes that Larry had to make, maybe it says more about the value Howson has provided and the fact Clayton has been poor for the last month or more. Pugh wasok but he is not a creative MF player, Clayton has struggled creating Mika is returning from an op, Snods was marked out of the game & denied service I’m willing to give credit to Watford for taking advantage out of our adversity.

    • Irving08

      @ChicagoWhite

      I think you misunderstand the main thrust of our criticism of Grayson. It is not that he is tactically ‘naive'; on the contrary, he is not particularly bad at making tactical adjustments,. Our principal complaint is that he appears to be incapable of deciding upon a strategy and sticking with it. Of course, he is working under the great pressure of feeling he has to get a result (something that is felt less keenly by managers of ‘smaller’ clubs than ours). But that cannot be advanced as an excuse for failing to make best use of the material he has to work with. Sometimes I wonder if Simon even understands the difference between stategy and tactics, but that is an uncharitable thought,….Anyhow, our complaint stands absent convincing proof to the contrary.

    • Gryff

      @ChicagoWhite Fair enough with the Larry bit, but you go through those lads out or struggling at the end and completely ignore Nunez – just like Larry.

      This is the main thing that led me to write that guff up there! We’ve a lad who can fulfil the Howson role (does at international level) and instead we’re putting Pugh in and therefore inviting their centre-mids to come forward – Pugh isn’t going to dictate play as you say.

  • number1inyorkshire

    not enough shots from range for me now and before someone mentions the adam clayton goal against leicester thats my point..

    bobby charlton said “if you don,t shoot you don,t score “for me we don,t score enough from outside the box .

    zero pace absolutely none for me keep mccormack sell becchio for 2/3 million and put a cheeky bid of a mill in to get beckford back ,them 2 up front could do a job i will tell you what beckford never got any credit for his assists .

    we are too defensive thats my point so i agree

    • Dje

      @number1inyorkshire I think you’ll find Becchio never got the credit for his assists for Beckford’s goals.

      Personally I’ve a lot of very fond memories of Beckford in a Leeds’ shirt – getting us promoted in our final game in League 1 (and that’s our final ever game in League 1!) and of course doing over the Scum – but lets not go back, never go back, it is never quite as good second time around.

      There’s room in our team for both McCormack and Becchio as they are different players and bring different attributes. Double the options. Besides, if you think Becchio is shit as a forward, he’s a phenomenal defensive attribute for corners.

      The bigger worry is that we’ll never get anything out of Nunez, and possibly Somma too, and they come to haunt us in the future after we’ve let them go for nowt.

      • number1inyorkshire

        @Dje i have never ever said that becchio is a shit forward on the contrary he is fantastic and you are right him and mccormack are different players but bring stuff to the table .BUT if i was picking the team i would always pick mccormack 1st with becchio second this is as always opinions .

        As for going back if i remember a Mr Keogh and Mr Pugh played for us before and are doing alright for us now and of course there are plenty who would like a certain MR Smith back not me can i add

  • Colin

    I blame Howson. Completely anonymous against Watford.

    • Matthew

      @Colin

      Lol.

      I was going to say that he tends to be anonymous in quite a few games regardless of if he’s playing or not. I blame him being played out of position and not to his strengths prior mind.

  • Paul Allen

    Great Expectations…
    Hey if your better at this management game fill your boots. Managing Leeds is 90% expectation and 10% reality. I bet Grayson would love to just come in every day and coach. Who’d have his job the poison chalice that it is?

  • Dje

    Personally defensive is good, just we haven’t done it for years. Last year QPR went up by keeping clean sheets. I’m not sure if Southampton has the firepower to go all season to get them promoted, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Crystal Palace and their solid defense passes them in the final hurdles of the season, Cardiff and Middlesbrough too.

    As I said the other day, any version of 4-5-1 suits us on the road with our current personal. Add some pace and we could consider balls over the top with an old-fashioned 4-4-2 if the opposition calls for it. What annoys me is that Grayson talks more about keep the movement going at speed – passing the ball about etc – but far less about getting down on deck. I remember last season when we self-destructed at Barnsley, 2-5, a brooding gusty night, and in the post-match review Grayson was complaining that we didn’t boot the ball up to the edge of the box enough. Sure, playing the ball on the deck isn’t much fun in the wind (but then neither is playing football in the wind per se, or watching it) but you have far better control of your destiny that hoofing it up and hoping Becchio takes a tumble and we score from the freekick with the ball weaving into the back of the net as if a penny-floater on Scarborough beach. Simply, we are better than that, just as we were, and are, better than Barnsley.

    That said, 1-1 was an OK result on the road, and we’ll probably look like Barcelona next week.

  • DubaiWhite

    Football is about confidence, confidence in your goalkeeper and confidence in that you can score and hence have a knock on the ball once you are in position, etc. It seems that McCormack lost his and our defence do have lapses and we concede scrappy goals. The same with Snodgrass, he didn’t have the confidence at the start of the season, hence he didn’t create or scored, but he surely do now…

    I also see how many of our players in defence and midfield lacks the confidence in breaking forward and having a run and put pressure on the opponents defence, instead we slow down, pass the ball sideways or backwards until we place a long ball in to the box.

    Instead our opponents are controlling the midfield, ie Watford. Pugh, Clayton and Howson too often fall in to a chasing game instead of us controliing it and consequently we are winning a few and loosing almost as many.

    I reckon Nunez should be given an opportunity to prove himself since he seem to have qualities of a good playmaker. Likewise I am surprised that Forsell is not even on the bench. But there are too many players that are not at their best and we must stregthen the team, top priority a quality midfileder that can dominate the middle of the park.

  • number1inyorkshire

    you don,t understand my post and not ugh uninformed my opinion ..

    i will tell you now and i know it doesn’t mean much with our management team that mccormack is the most thought of at leeds in the striking division by the management and if there was 2bids on the table of the same money , 1 for becchio .and 1 for mccormack in my opinion i know who i would sell nothing to do with personalities etc etc purely football and i bet leeds would sell the same player ,becchio is not up to match fitness because he was injured ,but also because mccormack scored his “LUCKY GOALS to keep him out just interesting that keogh scored NO lucky goals to keep him out too ..

    of the 2 mccormack is more likely to score 20 goals every season .this wasn,t an attack on becchio i like him i was talking football purely .

    according to espn soccer net by the way DJE whilst playing together beckford and becchio had the same number of assists in all competitions that wasnt again an attack on becchio i was saying that becchio was seen as a more rounded player over all than beckford ,when beckford didn,t get much credit for what he did and of course he scored lots more goals and went on to play albeit a short stay in the premier league .

    matthew i have been doing this leeds thing probably i would guess long before you were born now that doesn,t give me more or less an opinion than anyone else .Neither do i smoke and never have anything legal or illegal and if you ask my sons any of them i am not a DUDE

    history will tell us that for his shorts stay at leeds united JERMAINE BECKFORD will one day be a legend .moody self opinionated not motivated at times,but his goals to games ratio at leeds were right up there with the best for us and he had the speed which we are lacking right now

    so in my opinion if we had beckford and mccormack i think we would score more goals .

    Beckford is like keogh but with goals