Forget the length, it’s all about the width! Graham Smeaton September 14, 2014 Leeds United 24 Comments Firstly, it’s not what you think. Or that depends on how your mind works. Ask any Leeds United fan and they will pick a team for you that is different to any other you could ask for and with a range of opinions and points put forward in support. Player A will be “too narrow in his vision”, Player B wont “have a wide enough range of passing in his repertoire” and Player Z “doesn’t track back, go forward or spin around in circles.” For any player in-between there will be some fault or other that renders a part of his game obsolete and edges him towards the footballing scrapheap. But ask any Leeds United fan what the problem is with the current midfield and you’ll get a sharp intake of breath with lips drawn tightly over teeth; you know, a bit like when you can almost feel the money draining out of your back pocket when a mechanic does the same to you at the garage. Most Leeds fans would be in agreement that the current midfield, whilst being an upgrade over the 2013/14 variant lacks in two distinct areas: pace and width. The first half of the Birmingham game would have told you that. The passing was neat, ordered and accurate but, like the stories of a rambling drunk in the pub, they never went anywhere. It reminds me of a clip from The Simpsons where the Springfield crowd get excited about a game of ‘soccer’ and the English-speaking commentator just comments, deadpan, on the action. That just about sums up what was happening during the first half down St Andrew’s way. It was all tippy-tappy, all tika-taka-toe-pokery and it never went anywhere. I’m not a football Luddite, I do realise that opportunities do need to be ‘opened’ and that what we have now is vastly improved from what we had before but, well just but. Incision, cutting and opening up are not just the craft of the surgeon at St James’ in Leeds but they should have been on show at St Andrew’s in Birmingham. It wasn’t. Well not in the first 45 minutes of ‘action’ anyway; definitely not from the gold-shirted Leeds players. I have written elsewhere in more detail about the woeful 45 minutes of ‘action’ and the failings of Leeds’ midfield quartet. In summary, though, it was like a stereotypical Hollywood actress, pretty to look at but nothing much up top. This was characterised by not one pass being played into the Birmingham box by a midfield player in the opening half from inside the Birmingham third of the field; the only one played into the box was by Tommaso Bianchi and that was a long ball played from just inside the Birmingham half. Leeds have a very quick turnaround in order to put right some wrongs with their passing; they travel to Bournemouth on Tuesday night in a game being ‘beamed back’ to Leeds for paid viewing. Many fans are chomping at the bit for Brazilian ‘wonderkid’ Adryan to be unleashed on the South Coast team to see whether he can bring some Samba magic to the side. Others are hoping and praying that there’s an injection of width and pace to the passing. Me, I’m just hoping that there is more of the Birmingham 2nd half passing and performance about Leeds rather than the Birmingham 1st half. Let’s hope that it all falls smoothly into place because nothing opens up defences like a combination of length and width.