Antenucci proving his worth to Leeds United Calum Archibald September 9, 2015 Leeds United 5 Comments The general consensus at the beginning of the season was that Chris Wood would be the central striker in a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation favoured by Uwe Rosler, and the initial starting line-up suggested that would be the case. After a probing performance in the opener against Burnley, it looked like being a goalless draw, neither side had particularly dominated, until Rosler threw caution to the wind and introduced Mirco Antenucci. He came on like a man possessed, he got hold of the ball and he ran at the Burnley defence (a defence which included 37 year old Michael Duff), and he produced a top drawer finish to send everyone, Uwe included, into delirium. Now that only lasted 3 minutes, but Antenucci had made his point. Last season’s top scorer (okay, it was only 10 goals) had a point to prove, to himself, to the manager and he has a lot of fans to win around after the infamous ‘sicknote six’ episode last season. The new formation left only left room for one striker, and Antenucci is not the lone striker type – he tends to drift in between the centre half and full back, making diagonal runs and quite often being caught offside. I’d suggest we actually need Mirco, as infuriating as he can be. We have a very good young team, a lot of players who are learning and improving, and we have started to perform very well in a system in which everyone has their place – the first half performance and the ability to win a tough match at Derby proves this. But, sometimes, particularly late in games, some direct running and movement in the channels will unlock the door, and he actually does have fantastic technique. The chance late on in which he crossed perfectly for Wood, who’s header really should have found the back of the net, is something that he can create by using guile to beat a man, rather than a sideways pass. Now, sometimes he isn’t on song, at times he can be frustrating, constantly offside and greedy, but he looks like a man with a point to prove so far this season. His early season impact has given Leeds another dynamic, a different option to the lone striker which has left Wood isolated, it allows link up play drags defenders around to create space. Even if Rosler decides to play with a lone striker, having Antenucci on the bench gives him the impetus to switch to an attacking formation. Whether 4-4-2 will become a formation used at home I’m not sure, perhaps it is prudent to use it later in the game against tougher sides, the likes of Derby who have strength in attack need nullifying in the centre of midfield. Tom Adeyemi is key to this, his position lying deep in midfield allows him to attack the opposition playmaker and sweep across the midfield winning the ball, and this works better in a 3 man centre midfield. Against a weaker side, or a side that plays 4 in midfield, playing 2 strikers could be effective, and Antenucci has served up Uwe Rosler’s real first selection headache with his fine early season form.