Becchio and Somma

Two wins in two away games finally proved Simon Grayson’s 4-5-1 formation was the way forward, but for top goalscorer Davide Somma it meant he would be on bench duty as Larry favoured Becchio in the lone front man position.

Before Leeds turned things round at Scunthorpe, Grayson had played both Somma and Becchio up front for Cardiff’s visit to Elland Road. Both players were ineffective as Cardiff destroyed Leeds United 4-0, but Somma in-particular had an absolute mare.

For Somma, the game was in total contrast to his recent displays but Grayson ruthlessly axed him for the next game at Scunthorpe in favour of Becchio who had also failed to impress v Cardiff. I can only imagine Somma’s frustration when he was told 6 goals in 8 appearances (some of which were from the bench) wasn’t enough to move him ahead of 1 goal in 3 Becchio.

The decision would have been justified had Becchio gone on to score vital goals in the following games, but instead, Leeds had to rely on the midfield who have scored all 7 goals since Somma was dropped.

“…B-b-but Becchio holds the ball up”

That brings us to the most ridiculous argument I’ve ever heard for a lone striker – “but Becchio holds the ball up.” I ask you, has there ever been a more negative tactic in the history of football than standing still ’til someone can come and do your job for you?

Every time Becchio has played the lone striker role I’ve expressed my concerns, because he goes completely missing in these games. He managed a grand total of one shot in two games and was a spare part for the majority of these fixtures. Without someone alongside him, the ability to stand still with the ball at his feet is pointless.

The next argument I hear is that he chases everything, and I can’t argue with that. But how often does he actually win the ball in an advanced position? On the odd occasion he does win the ball, it usually results in a free-kick to the opposition. The reason better strikers don’t chase everything is because they read the game better. They don’t waste energy on lost causes, but pick their moments carefully and attack to devastating effect.

So, in summary the reason we play Becchio alone up front is because;

1) He holds the ball up (Stands still and waits for someone who can take people on)

2) He chases everything (The old Leeds favourite “but he tries” – always a guaranteed crowd pleaser)

3) He’s a different kind of player to Somma (Presumably a combination of trying, chasing lost causes and standing still)

Meanwhile, on the greener side of the fence…

So that brings us to Somma, a player who has been scoring for fun so far this season. As I understand it, the argument for Becchio playing ahead of Somma is that Somma doesn’t hold the ball up as well and isn’t as strong as Becchio – nor does he run around like a headless chicken.

I’ve seen absolutely no evidence to support any of these claims. Somma is incredibly strong and has excellent ball control. He’s shown he can hold the ball up just as well as Becchio on several occasions, but unlike Becchio he isn’t a one trick pony and often chooses to run at players and score goals too – an unusual tactic for a striker I know, but it grows on you in time.

I can’t help but think a lot of these arguments are based on love for Becchio, which is understandable because the lad has worked his socks off for the club over the last couple of years. But there’s no room for sentiment in football. Somma is the better striker and that’s all that matters. At best, Becchio is third choice this season.

And as people continue to challenge Becchio’s position in the side, the argument against Somma becomes even more ridiculous with people claiming the South African is lazy – not only untrue, but also reminiscent of the smear campaign aimed at Jermaine Beckford last season.

Unlike Becchio, Somma doesn’t chase lost causes, but unlike Beckford, he does pressure the opposition defence and does get back to support our defence (unless Becchio’s gone instead).

I do worry that Somma is already becoming the new Beckford. The fans are already starting to invent faults to criticise him with, and if Grayson continues to play strikers with a weaker record, he will quickly become disillusioned with life at Elland Road.

57 Responses

  1. Mat

    I disagree wholeheartedly. Becchio is better in the air, and when you are playing 5 across the midfield with the likes of Howson, Snodgrass and Gradel your front man is there to bring them into the game. Becchio does this better than Somma.

    Yes, Somma will likely get more goals in the same amount of time than Becchio, but the end result is what is important, not the amount of goals next to a single player’s name.

    It’s hard on Somma because he’s done brilliantly to step up like he has this season. It’s only against weaker teams that we’ll have the ‘luxury’ of two up top.

  2. Bill Fox

    Can my post on the previous (‘Snodgrass inspires…’) thread on this subject be cut and pasted? Haha. I remain in the pro-Luciano camp if there is to be a lone striker system played.Paynter probably the option.

  3. Clarkeonenil

    Becchio 120 games for Leeds United, 42 league goals, never once accused of not trying, scored best vollied goal seen since Kewell at Upton Park. Somma 14 games 8 starts….Get a grip TSS this is not a comparision its the bleating nonsense of a generation that thinks footy and LUFc started after 1992.

    We have won both away games because Grayson (for once) has decided on a system and Becchio is part of that system. Only the infantile would be bleating on about changing personal after those two wins but then again only the infantile were asking to drop Howson 2 weeks ago and only the infantile have it in for Killa. What do Killa, Howson and Becchio have in common (along with next victim to the boo-boys who can’t stand quality Snodgrass), they have the top 3 appearences record for LUFC in the present squad.

    Somma might be a decent striker, in the same way Faye might be a short-term legand but neither have them have proved owt yet while Becchio has proved it IN SPADES and deserves some bleeding apprication, even from the WACCOE generation!

    • TSS

      To be fair MG, I’ve always been Howson’s biggest fan and seemed to be on my own at one point fighting his corner.

      But your argument makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and is contradictory to your own rants in the past against Beckford. Even when Beckford was scoring the winning goals every week you had issues with him and felt he should be left on the bench so the higher ground you’re trying to take is shaky at best.

      Are you saying that whenever we’re winning we should stand still and not look to improve? I was at both Scunthorpe and Coventry and Becchio was a spare part at both games. The alleged advantages of playing him as a lone striker were non-existent.

      As for consistency, the only consistent thing about Becchio is some fans inability to find faults in his performance. No matter how weak he is some weeks, it’s unthinkable that anyone should question him. Even when he does give away 30 fouls in dangerous positions and miss half a dozen shots from six yards.

      • Wakeyfin

        “I was at both Scunthorpe and Coventry and Becchio was a spare part at both games.”

        Scunthorpe…didn’t he nod the ball down from the throw in for Howson to pass to Gradel for the first goal? He then provided the pass for Howson to get his third. Hardly a spare part.

  4. chris from wakey

    What you say about Bechio / Somma makes a lot of sense but Grayson has form for sticking with who he knows and to some extent Somma is unproven hence Bechio gets first shout.

    Somma doesn’t strike me as lazy – ie like Beckford – but in a few games he has, apparently, gone missing whereas Bechio is very much a crowd pleaser with his non-stop effort.

    It’s a tough shout to leave Bechio on the bench and play Somma and that’s down to Sir Larry.

  5. TSS

    Hi Mat, firstly I wouldn’t say Somma is weak in the air either but I want to focus on the amount of goals part of your argument. You agree that Somma will always score more goals but say but say the end result is what is important – we don’t get an end result without goals scored. Not a desirable one anyway.

    • TheReaper08

      @TSS But by and large goals are being scored. Whatever you say the current system with Becchio as the spearhead is working and is solving one of the biggest problems we have had for some time, a distinct lack of goals from midfield.

  6. Mike

    The lead article is spot on.
    MG! How the hell is Somma able to prove anything sitting on the bench?
    We are going to lose him due to Larry’s ineptness as a man manager.

  7. cossie(LUFC)

    Interesting arguement. I have always liked Becchio for many of the reasons posted above and was at Coventry on Saturday. Now I think Becchio was marked by the outstanding player on the pitch on Saturday, someone who made our centre halves look Conference quality, Ben Turner. I have no idea who he is but he won everything in the air, scored and to cap it off cleared Becchio’s one decent effort of the line. Becchio is the man in possesion at the moment and while we are winning that is only right. Paynter and Somma I guess must fight for the right to replace him. Somma gives grayson the option to switch to 442 during the game I guess.
    On another note I want to see nunez play a bit more, he might be a decent player at this level

  8. Dje


    Good point about having Somma on the bench to offer the switch to 4-4-2 if needs be. Sadly, or rather galdly, we haven’t been chasing the game for the last two matches – so there was no need to switch to 4-4-2 and bring Somma into it. I serioously doubt our little mini good run, especially away, will last out for too many matches more. So Somma is likely to figure more in away matches.

    At home, if we go 4-4-2 then I’d expect him to start up alongside Becchio/Paynter. Having said that, with seven goals in two games, on the back of abysmal home performances, I think Grayson will stick rather than twist his formation / starting XI.

    I just don’t think on the back of the last 180 minutes we have played, Grayson will even remotely concern himself about Becchio not scoring in the last two games. He’ll just be delighted with six points, seven goals, and a range of them coming from crosses, headers, penalties, shots from the edge of the box etc.

  9. Phil C

    This looks like typical case of “he’s scored more goals so he must be the one to start” and you’ve even pointed out that in our last 2 games with the 451 formation we’ve scored 7 goals, all of which from midfield, resulting in 2 wins. Now forgive me if im wrong, but if playing Becchio means the TEAM scores more goals than if we played Somma then is that not justification enough? I don’t care about seeing one of our strikers getting top scorer, i care about the team doing well. 2 wins in 2 suggests we stick with Larrys decisions and stop trying to find faults in his methods!

  10. Woody

    Playing as a lone striker isn’t (only) about scoring goals. It’s important that you can get among the opposition defenders, harras, battle and hold onto the ball long enough for the midfielders to join in the attack. It’s hard work and requires great dscipline and endeavour to maintain it over an entire match. Bechio fills this role perfectly. While Somma is a talented goal-scorer he’s also guilty of show-boating at times. He tried a clever flick around a defender against Cardiff, was promptly dispossed and Cardiff moved upfield and scored. That’s why Grayson took him off, he was livid about it. Somma should start when Grayson plays two up front, but I wouldn’t want Somma to play in the lone striker’s role.

  11. henry vincent lewis

    You are like a ‘pig with a potato’ over Lucciano.
    I think Somma could score more goals in a season, but not leading the line.
    Becchio’s play is superior and ‘holding the ball up, and laying it off to a colleague’ is paramount in a lone striker.
    Only you and Aidy Boothroyd cannot see this.
    Becchio will make more goals for Jonny because he will always pass to a teammate in a better position.
    I bet the other forward players would prefer Becchio ’cause he can take the weight!
    As I said previously, Billy Paynter could be a better target man than Somma.
    Also you cannot look at goals scored over just a few matches. Look at Jonny. If he keeps it up he should end up with 65 for the season. He won’t of course.
    I am not anti Somma. I hope he gets his chance because he has the makings of a good striker.
    I thought it would be Becchio & Sooma, and once we sort out our midfield it could happen.
    As chrisfromwakey says – it is up to Simon.

  12. Mat

    TSS, Phil C. has echoed the sentiment I meant to portray in my first response to your article. If the team are scoring more goals with Becchio than without him, he doesn’t need to score so many. It is when the team aren’t getting in and around him and he’s not getting the support from the midfield that we need more of a threat from the front man. That would indicate a larger problem though.

    He does still pose a threat to defences, just a different type of threat.

  13. Chicago White

    Why are we attempting to drive a wedge between the fans and even potentially more damaging two players. Both have a future at Leeds but sometimes the formation requires sacrifice, side before self remember that. We should be celebrating two good wins and focusing on making ER a fortress and hopefully clean sheets not internicine squabbles about players and player selection. MOT.

    • timm

      @Chicago White. Thank you Chicago White! Where the hell has all this one or the other argument come from? Somma’s looked great so far, except in the Cardiff game. Becchio suits a 4-5-1 more than Somma, which is why he’s retained his place. A strikers ability to hold the ball up until the ‘5’ catch up with play is a real asset, & to suggest otherwise is ludicrous! (Alan Shearer anyone?!). I’m not saying Becchio’s the better player, the 2 can’t be compared. Grayson will pick his 11 based on the opposition, & i’m sure Somma will feature. One player we should all be wondering about is Ross McCormick, i’d imagine he probably ranks 4th behind Paynter just now?

  14. md

    If Somma doesn’t get a realistic opportunity to establish himself expect him to leave at season end ala Beckford for free.

    He can’t afford to spend too much time warming the sub’s bench if he is ambitious and genuinely wants to further his career.

  15. Mike

    What a difference a win against scunny and a barely scraped win against coventry makes…………….
    I can see a Hull banana skin coming.

  16. Richard

    Somma is a great striker, but he plays on the shoulder of the last defender. I f he held back a bit, which is needed for a lone striker to, HOLD THE BALL UP and bring others into play, as it can be hard to take on 4 defenders on your own!!! But Somma has the makings of a great player, but i’m not sure he has the capabilities to be a lone striker at the moment, but has the potential to. Becchio, however, is a fantastic player, and is worthy of his place in the side. You don’t have to score, you just have to play your part, especially as a lone striker, plus there is now Howson who will get goals due to his freedom to roam!!

  17. Ross

    I find your view quite surprising TSS as often it seems we share similar opinions on players, and I cannot side with your holding the ball up is an excuse for an attribute of a striker, did you say this purley to stir argument? As a previous poster said holding the ball up allows other plays to get forward and links the play so the team can attack. It is almost like your suggesting a good striker should play like an 11 year old in a game of knock out wembley get the ball try and beat as many as he can and score??!!!

    I am not a becchio fan and I do like Somma a lot but that does not mean I would switch them as the obvious comparison of strentghts and weaknesses has only one conlcusion for the lone striker role becchio (or Paynter qwhen fit), watch how many headers davide somma wins…. next time he plays.

  18. Stuart L

    Pop onto the BBC website and listen to Boothroyd’s comments. One of the players he picks out that causaed Coventry so much trouble in the first half was Becchio.
    Now we may all know more than professional football managers in our dreams and on the internet, but for their manager to pick him out especially implies that perhaps, just perhaps, he has assets which are invisible to the author of this piece.

  19. Canadian Leeds

    Maybe either one of them is equally capable and the real fact is to do with their contracts. Maybe Simon doesn’t want to showcase Somma to the rest of football or increase his contract negotiation power before the January window.
    Since playing either one is about equal, I think the first of either Becchio or Somma to sign an extension should be the one being played.
    No point giving the experience to a player we will lose for nothing at the end of the year!

  20. Shez

    TSS – it’s a SQUAD game – and I totally disagree with your comments on Becchio. He works his arse off for the team and created space and chances for Beckford last year. He also scared the hell out of Man Utd, Spurs and Liverpool in those cup games. Somma has only just come to the first team SQUAD and may consider himself to more that little unlucky to be dropped based purely on his scoring record. But we’ve won the last two games and so Larry is right to stick to the guys who are doing the business. Defending starts from the front, through to the midfield and after leaking goals for fun Larry was right to sure up the midfield and drop a striker. Maybe Larry felt Becchio is better at 2leading the line” than Somma based on the tactics employed. Why can’t you accept that?! Beccio and Somma are like chalk and cheese, they are like a combination of Viduka for me, which when put together is pretty formiddable, but we can’t always play with them together given our recent performances. Beccio has scored plenty anyway and still been dropped this season in other games where I thought he was unlucky to be dropped, jsut like Somma, so I don’t know why Somma is exempt from being dropped!

  21. Dan

    I have to say, I am really suprised that following 2 very good away wins, this conversation is even happening. On one hand, Grayson is getting stick for changing the team too much, now he getting it for not changing it….why would we change an attack, which has scored 7 in 2? Cant argue againt Becchio’s work for the team, keep it up!

  22. TheReaper08

    @TSS And I thought I was capable of sparking debate and controversy. well done old sport.

    By the way your wrong about Becchio ;)

  23. Stuart L

    And although it’s only one piece of evidence Somma showed that perhaps he doesn’t have the necessary skills when losing the ball so easily before Cardiff’s second goal. You simply can’t afford a striker fannying around and being dispossessed like a child in that area (ten yards beyond the centre circle, back to goal).

    It is indeed a very strange ‘debate’ to be having. having re-read your post above the ‘headless chicken’ comment is utter garbage. If I want to read that sort on ill informed biggotted stuff there are message board full of it.

  24. EYLeeds

    Becchio seems to be the more obvious choice for a lone striker as he fits the bill based on his usual style of play. That doesn’t mean that Somma can’t do it, just Becchio has been given first chance.
    Somma’s game is more about playing on the shoulder of the last defender but has an amazingly good touch and I have little doubt could fill the lone striker role if required.
    Personally I think Paynter will struggle to get a game, and his scoring record is nothing flash apart from the last 2 seasons in league one.
    Somma could prove to be a gem of a find, but in my opinion he is still unproven and should be patient. He ain’t going to get a contract with a Premiership club, so if he is ambitious he will sign a contract extension because Leeds are the biggest club in the Championship.
    Besides, why are we assuming that he is unhappy with his current situation?
    I wish we had the luxury of having a problem fitting in all the good defenders – our defence is going to be our achilles heel unfortunately.

  25. saltburnwhite

    Beccio has earned his place in the team , his goal to game ratio is exellent but he does so much more than score , somma should study becchio and what he does and then maybe he will deserve to play ahead of him once he has proved hes not a few goal wonder ……..kandol scored a load of goals at the start of wiseys season in league one but you wouldnt call him a great player would you!???
    Give becchio the credit he deserves and watch the highlights!
    GOAL 1
    Becchio won a header from the throw in to glance it down to howson who played it into gradel-goal
    GOAL 2
    Becchio won the throw in, cross came in and becchio stood 8 yards out with both central defenders marking him , and the runner that was with howson left him to run towards becchio …leaving acres of space for howson to score
    GOAL 3
    Johnson tackled scunny player on halfway , leeds on the counter , played a through ball through to the only runner becchio on the left , gets to byline , pulls it back for howson , cleared away , falls to gradel who crosses for howson who ghosted in at the back post to head home , again howsons space was created by scunny cd being to preoccupied with becchio
    GOAL 4
    Ball cleared forward to halfway line where becchio spins his man and dribbles down the left to the edge of the area where he plays howson in for his hatrick!
    Coventry FIRST GOAL
    Becchio actually wins the ball from the goal kick and starts thr attack , again becchio occupying players in the box for howson to score.

    Goal two
    Snodgrass magic …no need for anybody to help, however bacchio was occupying 3 defenders all going back towards their goal watching becchio leaving space for snoddy
    Goal 3 gradel wins penalty from goal kick

  26. Paul Cranswick

    Good problem to have. Not only do we have Becchio and Somma, there is also Paynter getting ready to put pressure for places. Grella, Elliott and McCormack clearly dont fit the bill in the 4-2-1-2-1 formation Grayson is playing. Personally I would like to see him give Bromby a try in the holding role in midfield.
    Alternative XI
    No places for Naylor, Bessone, Brown, Johnson, Hughes, Robinson, McCormack and Paynter (Why do we need so many players?)

  27. Rish

    Didn’t Somma start as a lone striker vs. Leceister in the League Cup and have a pretty bad game? Guess Simon hasn’t forgotten.

    I’d rate Paynter as the best lone striker we could utilize – basically all the attributes of Becchio (strong, imposing, high workrate, good in air, creative hold up play) but all enhanced and with better finishing and a much better first touch. Of course, needs to get fully fit first to be effective. He and Somma would be a similar pairing to he and Austin last season as well, and they were prolific!

  28. Robert Hewitt

    Look, the problem with Somma is that he has made a few wrong decisions in games. I remember the Lincoln manager saying(when he was on loan) that when Somma is in front of goal he expects him to score,which is right. He also stressed that his decision making needs to improve and he is far from the finished article. Remember Lincoln are a league 2 side. I have to agree with Chris Sutton to an extent and wrong decision making will cost dearly in the second tier of football.
    Striker for Striker then Somma wins by far and once he can improve his overall game then he will no doubt take Becchio’s role but at the moment we are scoring goals and Becchio does bring others into play to score.

    The OP has wrote this with tunnel vision i’m afraid!!

  29. kev

    Becchio ahead of Somma any day,Luciano has become a leeds legend Somma is a better otion with 20 minute left to bring on !

  30. john mallett (wisbech white)

    Cant believe we are having this debate becchio or somma. Somma class act what planet are you’s from, he scored a good goal at barnsley maybe but has everybody forgotten doncaster 3 good chances he never looked like converting denied us the victory we should have had. only a fantastic clearance stopped becchio saturday getting the goal his performance deserved

  31. Dje

    …Anyway. Personally I was encouraged to see a good partnership starting to develop between Connolly and Snodgrass. Connolly’s crosses could still be improved upon, but the early season horror shows down the wings seem to be recent history now. Touch wood.

    As somebody else mentioned elsewhere on TSS, McCarthey is doing fine work up and down the left too.

  32. Jim Barnett

    TSS, to answer your question: no, we aren’t watching the same team.

    Long live Lucianno!!

  33. Chris

    Couldn’t disagree more with your views on Becchio.
    I rate Somma, a natural finisher { which is why I backed him at 33 to 1 in the championship scorer stakes }
    But if we are playing 1 up front then it has to be Becchio {don’t know about Paynter – case unproven }.
    You seem to think he’s a pretty limited carthorse.
    Carthorses don’t score goals like the one he did against the smoggies !
    Becchio was up against their best player on Saturday and he still made an effective contribution. Wise up.

  34. Mike

    Didn’t Somma start as a lone striker vs. Leceister in the League Cup and have a pretty bad game? Guess Simon hasn’t forgotten.
    Simon never forgets, he is vindictive, cross him once and your bolloxed.
    @jim burnett
    what team were you watching then?

  35. Colin

    “Becchio v Somma: Are we all watching the same team?”

    We’re all missing the point – the point is Becchio, Somma, Paynter, McCormack are all quality strikers.

    Lots of goals coming from midfield so does it really matter who we have up front?
    No, not really.
    If Howson is on fire (and he is) and Snodders is coming back to become the Snodders we all know (and he is) and Gradel continues to be an annoying wasp of a player who creates mayhem (and he is), then I’ll be honest – I couldn’t care less who starts up front for Leeds.

    And as for Becchio vs Somma – forget that argument, they’re the ones on expiring contracts. Paynter and McCormack are on the long term contracts and that’s for a reason. If you want to work out who will be fighting for the top striker role long term – forget Becchio and Somma, it’s Paynter vs McCormack.

    Paynter and McCormack are on more money than Becchio and Somma. Paynter and McCormack aren’t at Leeds to do the gardening at Thorp Arch while we arse about discussing whether we play Becchio or Somma. They’re here to fight and take their place.

    And you know what? They will.

  36. Colin

    And I notice that the current advert on this page is trying to get us to try and win a signed copy of Cheryl Cole’s new book!!

    I do hope someone on this site wins it. And then please send it to me and I’ll burn it and record it on my phone and post it on this site.

    Cheryl why are you being interviewed and crying on the tit Piers Morgan show? Is it because you want to tell your geordie life story? Oh hold on a minute, you do have a new shit album and a shit book out don’t you?

    Bloody hell @TSS what’s it come to? It’s like watching ITV.

    And don’t forget it’s Cheryl with an S, not Cheryl with a C.
    What am I? Am I Colin or Solin?

    Cheryl Cole. FFS.

  37. Gryff

    “The reason better strikers don’t chase everything is because they read the game better. They don’t waste energy on lost causes, but pick their moments carefully and attack to devastating effect.”

    This was precisely what the professionals have lauded Beckford for.

    Becchio might as well have not existed in the 3 hours since the match in which he had two fantastic shots from far out. He’s certainly not a poacher in my view, I think he lacks the skill, physical attributes, and most importantly the instict to hunt effectively inside the box. He’s great in my view as a second striker to chase down everything, annoy the defence and get the occasional tap-in coming from almost a midfield position.

    In contrast, since Jonny Howson has been unleashed on the opposition defences he’s scored four goals. Each match he is showing a great first touch (something Becchio and at times Somma lack), a great passing skill (again something Becchio & Somma lack in my view) and he gets into positions in the box that confuses the defence and allows virtual tap-ins – like the one vs Coventry – and this is again something Becchio lacks.

    I’m not arguing for Howson as a striker, but rather trying to highlight the failings of our current strikers – both of them. Scoring goals as a team doesn’t necessarily reflect the forwards, especially when there’s only one selected! Many of our goals have come from the midfield this season as @TSS has mentioned.

    But i’m not sure of using Somma as a banner-boy because of Becchio’s failings. He’s showed flashes of brilliance but like Beckford he’s had games where he’s been hopeless. Certainly Somma should be played when he scores goals, but let’s not overly rely on him in response to overly relying on Becchio!

    @Clarkonenil arguing that two victories should mean 0 changes in personnel is ridiculous. Especially when one of the victories was against a team who are famously worse at their park than Leeds are at Elland Road! It’s remarkable how quickly the groans of Grayson failing with both 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 has turned into a ‘2 wins = no changes’ argument. The only big changes from Grayson has been Howson playing further forward and O’Brien coming into the team. Neither of those have been particularly influenced by what Becchio has been doing. Quoting his appearances over Somma’s is utterly farcical as well given that most of Becchio’s appearances for us have been in the English 3rd division, against Somma’s significantly better (yet less lengthy) tally in the English 2nd division.

    Possibly the only thing worse than that is quoting an ‘appearance record’ for skill. Snodgrass is a fantastic player when on form, yet against Kettering (A) and Exeter (A) to name but two, he has been absolutely abysmal. Similarly Howson has been on fire against Scunthorpe and Coventry, yet he was hopeless vs. Derby County and looked like a schoolboy against Cardiff. Kilkenny – well the least said ‘ soonest mended. I think Snodgrass and Howson are great players, but to blindly dismiss any criticism of them as ‘boo-boys’ is irrational and indeed infantile. After all, Grayson’s managed many games for Leeds, does this mean that your criticism of him is ‘boo-boy’-ism?

  38. AcresLeeds

    I like reading your articles TSS but, your way off beam here and I would have to question whether you really watch games and know what you are talking about ?

  39. Joey

    back to back wins 2 games 7 goals and yet there’s complaining about the attack, concentrate on the defence more than our attack, we score enough goals BECAUSE Becchio plays and sets people up and brings everyone into the game.

  40. chelpa

    Well done TSS i see you kept everyone happy with another one of your comments! lol your gonna get get loads of stick for that one!

  41. Max.

    I wasn’t a fan of Becchio last season and had assumed he’d get nowhere in the Championship, but I’ve been very impressed by him thus far. He still has his limitations but within them, he’s upped his game.

    Somma’s inclination when he gets the ball is to run at the defence. He’s more skilful than Beckford; it’s not clear yet whether his finishing skills are quite as good, but they’re better than Becchio’s. The way he plays, though, he’s going to get dispossessed in a high percentage of situations in 4-5-1, with the competition running straight onto our midfield. Becchio holds it up and knocks it back to midfield far better.

    Neither is ideal, you’d like to try and combine the two. I also don’t think Becchio would work half as well if we didn’t have Howson – Kilkenny’s a similar player but seems somewhat goal-shy. It’s also noticeable the system seems to break down at the point where Faye goes off.

    Over the season the team will settle. Hopefully we’ll get permanent fixes in central midfield and central defence and we can play 2 strikers. The attack, as a unit, has been mostly doing its job this season – on goals scored we’d be joint 5th right now – and that is with 2 of four strikers (exempting Grella) operating.

    It’s the defence and defensive midfield which need fixing.

  42. Petter-Andre (Norway)

    Wild guess here, but I think Mat was referring to the total amounts of goals for the squad, and not for any one particular player. It doesn’t matter if Becchio scores 30 or Schmeichel scores 30. What matters is the amount of goals for Leeds United Football Club at the end of the season. If this formation and this tactic is the one most likely to provide us those goals, I’m more than happy!

  43. TSS

    Ahh, you know you’ve done well when people feel the need to use capital letters continuously to catch your attention.

    I stand by my views on Becchio. In the last two games he’s been poor, and had Coventry equalised at the weekend, more people would be pointing fingers for the goal he missed and lack of shots he’s had.

    It’s not just the lack of shots though. He did nothing in either game. Aside from an assist against Scunny he really was a spare part. I think a lot of people, most notably MG from CON are defending him on past evidence rather than his usefulness in the these two games, because anyone that saw those two fixtures would know they didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    For me, it’s the standard case of ‘he tries’ over actual skill and quality, which is exactly why we lost Cantona and kept the weaker strikers. Even back then there were people picking flaws with the Frenchman, and suggesting Chapman was better because ‘he tried’ and Cantona was unproven (Chapman didn’t have a bad goal return either in fairness, but his career was pretty much over). It really is never-ending with Leeds fans. So many really don’t care about quality and would much rather have a team of men running around like headless chickens. It’s ridiculous.

    More amusing still is the quick, short passing style of play Leeds fans want to see with all these scrappy, headless chicken chasing players on the pitch and everyone that has any quality held in the reserves because they’re unproven!

    Just look at Alan Smith in the Champion League days – he was clearly a level below pretty much everyone else on the pitch, but to the fans, he was our most important player because he tried. It didn’t matter that his goal return was shoddy, that his finishing was weak and that he was almost totally void of skill because he ran around a lot and dived in at people.

  44. Mike

    Total goals scores is only half the story as witnessed by our present state, we also have to concede less.

  45. henry vincent lewis

    Oh hell!
    I thought this thread had been put to bed but no TSS.
    OK. You must have a personal dislike of Lucciano and/or Argentina?

    We could do what you have done to every single player in our squad.
    Too slow.
    Too short.
    Poor pass completion rate.
    No good in the air.
    No good on the ground.
    Not picking up runners in midfield.
    Getting overrun in midfield.
    Corners not getting past the first defender.
    Free kicks ditto.
    Listening to the manager then doing the opposite.
    Getting caught out of position.
    Not enough talking on the pitch.
    Not designating a penalty taker.
    Midfield not supporting the front men.
    Frontmen not supporting the defence.
    Frontmen losing the ball too quickly.
    Frontmen hanging onto the ball too long (that’s for you TSS).
    etc. etc.

    Smithy did pretty well in the Champions League!

    Did your mother keep taking you to watch ‘Evita’ when you were a child TSS? Things like that can shape your attitude in later life!

    • TSS


      No, it was Baz Lurhmann’s version of Romeo & Juliet. I could hear Shakespeare turning in his grave.

      Never did I say Smith didn’t play well, or that he wasn’t a good player. But he wasn’t good enough to play in that team and sustained his place because he was a local lad who tried hard. Had people looked at that squad objectively, Smith was one of our weakest players and we should have been looking to replace him but much like Becchio he’s immune from criticism (or he was anyway)

  46. henry vincent lewis

    Hi Mike.
    I got up in a great mood!!!
    Match day!!!
    I think TSS has been assimilated by the Borg!!

  47. Max.

    Smith was good enough to play in that team, as secondary striker. He was an England international and could play in a variety of positions anyway. I always thought he’d be better in midfield, which is where he ended up. He was doing a similar job to Becchio now (though he was far more talented).

    It’s not that he was a local lad – there are other local lads where I never understood how they made the team, going a long way back. Simon Walton would be a more recent one. I do think fans prefer to see players come up through the academy, local or not; maybe that’s a factor. But I have the same regard for the astutely acquired youngsters (Snodgrass now; Bremner, Gray and Lorimer then) as for the talented locals (Howson, Smith, Terry Cooper).

    But Smith was always a talented player.

    Really pleased to see Somma get a contract btw.


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