No quarter given – the season so far Graham Smeaton October 11, 2014 Leeds United, Stats 40 Comments Well, 11 games in and when the 22 mins and 30 seconds shows on the clock against Rotherham on Saturday 17th October and we’ll officially be a quarter of the way into the 2014/15 Championship season; that means that there will be 75% more of Cellino’s ‘Rivoluzione Gloriosa‘ to go before the season ends. After a dodgy start in the opening throes of the Hock-a-days, Neil Redfearn brought respectability and points in a 4 match unbeaten run leading to a return of 10 points from a possible 12; coming up to the end of the first week of the international break Leeds sit in 14th place with 15 points. Comparison of start of Championship seasons 2013/14 and 2014/15 Hockaday’s 4 match league reign only brought a return of 0.75 PPG which was actually lower than the PPG total that Yeovil (0.80 PPG) were relegated with last season. Neil Redefearn’s brief hold of the Championship reins brought about a 2.50 PPG return and this 4 game spurt put Leeds as the top ‘form’ side in the league between the 28th of August and the 21st September. The Darko Milanic era has returned a score of 0.50 PPG but it is early doors yet. We aren’t Watford; we don’t need 4 managers in the first 2 months of the season. So what has the season told us so far…? Marco Silvestri is class Marco Silvestri – we’ve signed a class shot stopper in this guy. As a quick snapshot of his statistics, Marco Silvestri is the #4 ranked goalkeeper overall in the Championship when looking at the category of ‘saves’ (31) and #3 ranked considering ‘diving saves’ (20). On a per game basis, Silvestri concedes 1.18 goals, makes 2.38 saves per goal conceded and makes 2.82 saves overall per game. Giuseppe Bellusci is a frustrated centre forward Giuseppe Bellusci is Leeds’ joint top scorer this season, currently on 2 goals; neither of these goals has had an element of luck or ‘fluke’ about them. The first was a 30 yard screaming free kick and the second a cushioned, side-footed passed effort through a sea of legs into the bottom corner of the goal. Added to his goals was his rampaging run upfield against Huddersfield and the sublime lob of Alex Smithies which came back from the bar leaving Mirko Antenucci to smash in the rebound. He does, however, have a hot-headed tendency and he has collected 5 cards (3 for bad tackles and 2 for ‘chat’) so far in 11 games; 1 straight red and 4 yellows – leaving him 1 away from a ban. He has made 11 tackles so far this season (1.4 per game) and has only been dribbled past the one time. Furthermore, it appears that Bellusci has given the centre of defence a little more consistency. Giving his game shirt to the disabled fan he hit with a ball during the warm up warmed the hearts of many and showed there was a softer side to the many nicknamed ‘The Warrior’. Tommaso Bianchi is a one-man tackling machine The football website WhoScored?com has Tommaso Bianchi ranked #1 for number of tackles made (45 in total, 4.5 per game); this includes monumental efforts vs Huddersfield (7 tackles) and Sheffield Wednesday (14 tackles) – against Sheffield Wednesday this was more remarkable as they only made 21 tackles as a team. WhoScored also have Bianchi as the #5 ranked player for overall average passes per game (62.7 passes – 86.1% accuracy), #3 ranked player for ‘away from home’ average passes per game (66 passes – 87.1% accuracy) and #3 ranked player (10 or more games) for ‘accurate short passes’ per game (51 passes) Souleymane Doukara appears to be an immovable object Soulemayne Doukara and Rodolph Austin look like they were chiselled from the same block of teak; the majority of the time neither can be shifted from the ball. Doukara has had 10 shots (5 outside the box, 5 inside the box) and, for a forward, a high number of short passes per 90 minutes (23) and with impressive pass accuracy (75%). The ‘appears to be an immovable object’ is deceptive as he does get dispossessed just over 3 times per game (3.3 times) and he displays 2 unsuccessful touches (where he loses possession) per game. Mirko Antennuci is quick, very quick The title is true but he does get caught offside a lot (1.5 times per game); in his defence he does have good facial hair. Mirko Antenucci’s pace is undeniable, he is not your archetypical ‘English striker’, he does get caught offside a lot but he also gets off a lot of shots (18 – 13 inside area and 5 outside the area) with 50% shot accuracy. This is a welcoming aspect to his game and came at a time when the only way Leeds could buy shots was in a bar. Stephen Warnock is our most consistent defender but Cellino doesn’t like him Rumour goes that Warnock missed a tackle in a game and that Cellino called the dugout insisting that he, Warnock, be instantly substituted. Thing is, rumours are like farts – both smell and mainly consist of hot air. Stephen Warnock then celebrated his only goal this season against Bolton by imitating a call on a mobile, allegedly a direct reference to Cellino’s call – MC was not happy. Warnock has appeared in 9 games this season and has 21 tackles (2.3 per game), 33 interceptions (3.7 per game), 32 clearances (3.6 per game) – however Leeds’ Mr Consistent has been resigned to the bench for the last two games as a result of his spat with Don Cellino. Rodolph Austin isn’t as bad as a lot paint him to be Ridiculed for allegedly wayward passes and sky-high shots by some Leeds fans, Rudy Austin has emerged showing that he isn’t that bad to be fair. In a poor midfield last season, Austin still emerged topping some defensive categories in the Championship – however this could be due to the fact that last season Leeds’ midfield was swamped and over-run. Austin is currently the second highest tackler on the Leeds team (29 – 2.9 per game) after Tommaso Bianchi but he is also showing improvement with his passing accuracy (82%) and he has created 7 chances this season (1 assist and 6 key passes for shooting chances). Yes, he’ll still hit some balls up into the higher reaches of the stand, yes some of his passes will need a Sat Nav to find the ball but he’s not as bad as some people reckon. Well, it’s been an eventful opening to the 2014/15 season, what with the Hockaday appointment etc, and it could get even more tasty with the Football League and Mr Shaun ‘I really didn’t know that Captain Birdseye Bates owned Leeds United all the time’ Harvey threatening to haul El Don Cellino before their gathered bretheren on charges of not being a “fit and proper person”. If that’s the logic they apply, there’ll be a queue behind him then. That’s another can of worms for later in the year though… antiquesdave I have to agree with the headline about Austin. I think he is much maligned and if he was a new player we had just signed this season everyone would be raving about him. Onfield I think the futures bright. MOT Thommohawk Rudy Austin is still the same player, obviously, but the key difference is that this year he isn’t the sole holder in the midfield AND the team is set up much closer so it’s easier for him to pass the ball around. And he isn’t playing every single game. Whereas in years previous he was the one responsible to shore up the midfield and we played something of a wing system and so the distance he was expected to pass was a lot further – that and we had zero creativity in midfield so most balls were either through the eye of a needle or hoofed. Either way giving possession back. henrymouni Rudy has had a good season and his shooting has improved. His main problem is consistency. If he is firing, the whole team is lifted, along with the crowd. His face doesn’t give anything away,and he is a real powerhouse on his day. He seems better with a ‘free’ roll. Tare Marco is top Dog and Giuseppe is needed beside JP. Our Captain is needed despite of some opposition from the Whites fan ranks. JP has his battling and British grit in his play and playiing with steady 7/10 level. some blips maybe but overall …. Tare Irving08 Agree on JP for Championship. Would you say that he is an automatic though ? Conceived-a-White No! Please, please try Cooper. Tare Reality bites back, Tare oldschoolbaby If we can circumnavigate “yachtgate” ( why does a man moving from Miami to Yorkshire need to pay Italian authorities import duty ? ) we are moving forward. Consequently, we need to start assessing players by their PL potential. Silvestri, especially if he can bulk up a bit, makes the grade Bianchi is swift of thought and swift of pass ( weight of pass is a bit of an issue but that`s a gift from the Gods ). I feel he would step up again when playing with better players. I suspect Bellusci, although I love him, would get found out, in a David Luiz lite sort of way, in the PL. Pearce won`t make it so Cooper and Del Fabro need opportunities. Warnock will not step up again, Taylor needs chances. I can`t decide about Antenucci. I keep thinking he must have another Achilles heel I haven`t detected yet, otherwise a big club would have taken a punt on him. Doukara doesn`t relish the aerial game. Not being an all rounder may well hold him back. Dear Rody is a blunderbuss in a PL full of lasers. In the “free role” I think he puts others off their game. He didn`t do Murphy any favours, although how many favours he deserved is another matter. Mowatt, Cook, Montenegro, Adryan and Dawson need developing / assessing, Austin should be sidelined Graham Love the succinctness of your analysis. I agree about Austin and PL – but in this league we need a no-nonsense blunderbuss when things need to get done. Fully agree that we need to see Adryan to get him up to speed and also Montenegro to see what he brings to the table attacking wise. oldschoolbaby If you`re engaged in close quarter combat a blunderbuss is more than welcome. We`re not involved in close quarter combat though, it`s more than that. Bianchi becomes ineffective when moved wide, he needs to be in the middle. He has to take priority over Austin. I forgot about Benedicdic, who very much deserves some game time judging from his cameo appearance Berardi who, remarkably, is as savage when impassive as when riled, can take over all “no-nonsense” responsibilities from the bench. In fact, I would take him to the PL in that role. matt86 Austin shows signs of class as we have all seen but his consistency is poor and lets him down..those of you who watched the wendies game saw both sides…a screamer of a shot unlucky not to be smashed into the top corner – brilliance and some premier league quality tackles. He had about 4 passes that were madness giving it straight to their midfield and created genuine goal opportunities for the opposition. At this level and against a better team we would have been punished and put to bed. Bellusci although not the fastest reads the game so well and his interceptions are top classand if he can calm down a bit he could be awesome..Silvestri is class..beradi is very suspect and bianchi is class..doukara is a powerhouse and once settled down will have interest from the Pl no doubt..things are looking up and austin should be used as an impact player only not a starter for me..MOT Ron I don’t think Leeds fans have a problem with Austin as despite his inconsistency, you can see he wants to win and fight for the shirt. I think the problem most fans have with playing Austin is that it comes with a cost of us playing too direct and steers us away from addressing the glaring problem of having no width in attack. Every single commentator I have heard this season has highlighted the lack of width in our play and yet Cellino and co. have not addressed it at all. Put it this way – we used to have players like Gradel and Snodgrass on the flanks and now we are threatening to use Steve Morison out wide. WTF? With any luck after this break we see Montenegro and Adryan thrown into the mix for that X factor we are lacking at times. Tyler75 Agree about the width but with the system we play this has to come from the full backs – hence Beradi instead of Warnock (and hopefully Taylor when he’s fit). Now Byram’s back, we should be able to get more width into our game. darrell I still think that Aidy White could work in the current team (attacking fullback) spellz It is funny how people are always criticizing Austins consistency, everybody can have off days I do not see people berating other members of the team for having an off day, Rudy has passion and fights for the shirt every match and always gets stuck in he is not the most creative of players so he should be put in the holding role where his human wall ability and rhino charges suit him best, he is one of our best players period, if people cannot see that then specsavers comes to mind. oldschoolbaby I`m no expert but I think most people go to Specsavers to address myopia. I accept your Austin points. I`m rather fond of him. But there is more than enough legitimate criticism of him in the Championship to suggest he won`t make the, rather large, jump to the PL It`s still not entirely clear but we may have a number of players who can keep their heads above water at the next level. Even with my glasses on I can`t see much justification for their development being inhibited in favour of a “rhino charge”. spellz “I`m no expert but I think most people go to Specsavers to address myopia” Fair enough, light metaphorical humor, lets not upset the politically correct brigade If we was to be promoted, at this point I would not be able to pick out from the team who is premiership quality as they are all fairly new we do have some promising youth in the ranks as well though, one thing I do know about Austin is he gives his all and I do believe he is one of the best players at the club, if played defensively would be a big plus point for a promotion push, providing he starts each game of course. oldschoolbaby O.K, but it depends on how you assess the relative merits of Austin and Bianchi. My opinion is that Bianchi is light years ahead already and may not yet have fully settled yet. He has to anchor midfield. Silvestri, Bellusci, Bianchi and Antenucci seem to be forming the spine of the team. To address the creativity and pace issues Adryan, Dawson and Montenegro are demanding some game time. Where can you accommodate Austin ? Giving your all is hugely commendable but if it were the main criteria I could play. That WOULD NOT further the cause at all. Graham I agree Bianchi is far and away ahead of Austin – he possesses guile which Austin really doesn’t have and is currently tackling like a demon. If you look at plots where he makes successful tackles he slides across and tackles both the left and right channels. So, yes, as Chareose says (above), perhaps there is space for him as an impact sub but when Adryan gets his chance then surely it will be at the expense of Austin as the middle four will likely be Bianchi, Mowatt, Sloth and likely Cook. I still stand by that he’s not as bad as a lot make out. Irving08 Oooh don’t like your midfield. Graham Grrrr meant to say Adryan instead of, largely, Cook. I can see Mowatt getting more games and, hopefully, Sloth will improve and BIanchi seems pretty much cemented in his midfield role. Either way, be nice to see Adryan at least get some first team game time – even coming off the bench. I’m not one of these to get carried away on the crest of his ‘bossing’ of certain aspects of the U21 games… spellz I understand where you are coming from, you do make fair points, maybe Bianchi is light years ahead we are still yet to find out but they are two different players, I would consider playing Bianchi higher up the park as he has that creative knack that Austin has not got but the brute force of Austin and his commitment to the cause is inspiring on the pitch that is why I would play him just in front of the back line if your playing alongside someone like Austin who has the will to commit himself the way he does, it spurs the players on and the opposition attack will always have a nightmare passing the human wall. Chareose Spot on old school……I concur….if we are in a period of “transition” then surely we should focus on blooding our kids rather than entertaining “solid pros” like Morrison, Hunt and Austin………..we are better off making space in the squad for the kids and clearly defining how we are set up for the future Austin is a handy impact sub……. lets give the likes of Dawson his deserved chance Irving08 Personally I think Austin is best viewed through vari-focals. Joking aside, he does not have the skill, balance, discipline or positional sense to play a holding role, the lack of which also disqualifies him from an offensive role in any team that is serious about progressing far. He is chaos incarnate ! As a breakout man, when the game’s gone a bit flat, and a tension reliever at any time, he has his uses. He spreads chaos; he puts a smile on our faces. Overall his his wholeheartendess and lack of side (cf Warnock) makes him a lovable fellow. But we have to let go of him. In Bianchi, Cook, Mowatt, Dawson, Sloth and – possibly – Adryan, we appear to have a collection of footballers that could take us quite far. Something is missing, I think we all feel that, for me it is a player like Ian Snodin, who had Austin-type qualities with the football skills and brain to go with it, a dynamic, toughish sort of player who can complement the likes of Dawson, Mowatt or Cook, playing in front of Bianchi. spellz I disagree wholeheartedly about Austin as I really think DM role (holding) is an ideal position for him skill is not a factor as his beast like qualities are more suitable for the role, his discipline can be coached and worked on just to put a muzzler sometimes on his ferocious bite and learn how to stay more composed the only questionable attribute perhaps is his positioning but once again if being the person to hold down the role full time can be coached to do just that. Bianchi, Cook, Mowatt, Dawson, Sloth and Adryan definitely are promising, Cook for his age is definitely a very exciting prospect but age is a factor for me he still needs to develop, Bianchi looks good atm I am sure there is more to come, I think Mowatt has had a good season so far and will get better Sloth I think is going to improve each game too but needs to start I think he is one of our most creative midfielders and has to play we definitely need to see Adryan play a competitive championship match soon, the wait is getting all too much. Irving08 Is Austin really ferocious ? And isn’t 27 a bit old to be coached in something as basic as positioning ? Still, good advocacy. spellz Maybe so but yes Irving I feel the need to speak up for him as I do actually like him as a player and feel he holds the qualities which all good Leeds players in the past have had, a tenacity and desire to win the ball. henrymouni Rudy is the only player we have who can cause panic when on the charge. He is not one for passing round in circles. He does some excellent passes, and some awful passes.Not on his own there. I would let him play where he likes during a game, without any real responsibility. Plug the gaps, and swift counter attacks, and work on his decision making. He scares opposition players when he is in the mood. “Are you talking to me?” !!!! spellz I agree Henri, although I have been barking on about him in a holding role where I do firmly believe he would be more useful than most, I seem to have forgotten his attacking prowess when he is in the mood, scary face huh! oldschoolbaby I`m going to have trouble persuading you. All the “water carriers” of note – Dunga, Deschamps, Makelele, Mascherano have been quietly efficient. To my mind Bianchi`s strong point is that he distributes the ball quickly, thereby changing the point of attack. When he does this repeatedly he isn’t closed down that smartly allowing him space to run into. Again that changes the point of attack. It`s a good base from which to build and really tests the opponents defensive formation. That`s before we factor in his tackling. He does have an issue of overhitting a pass which is a bigger problem if he plays further up the pitch There are suggestions Milanic likes to play 2 defensive midfielders. I don`t see the point. It`s Bianchi or Austin. Bianchi has my vote Graham Bianchi mine too – offers more than Austin, But Austin offers more than Murphy – it’s like a game of Top Trumps oldschoolbaby Faint praise damns you, Graham. Always has. Always will. I can`t see any way back for Murphy. If you apply the PL test he is a non starter. I do think, though, that he has a bit more to show at Championship level. I think he may enjoy a little renaissance at another club. That still leaves Austin out of the 1st XI Graham He is limited in his capabilities, but he surely deserves a bench place above the likes of Murphy et al. Sloth’s been a disappointment to me to be fair but maybe that’s more a case of needing to bed in as they say. As a holding mid which apparently, according to some sources, Milanic likes to apply two of at times then I fear that Bianchi has one of those pretty much nailed as his all round game is better than Austin’s game is. My point is that some Leeds fans in certain social media groups have this “shittier than thou” vitriol towards Rudy which is a bit unfair. I’m certain that he couldn’t do a job for us if we do get promoted but there must be a role he can play at this present level. Adryan is the one I want to see even half firing, he looked sharpish in the U21 game but you’d expect that from a 4th place U17 World Cup player in 2011 and winner of the U17 SudAmericano championship. Irving08 The problem with a so-called half-firing’ player (how would you know ?) is that he brings with him his frustrations. Graham I can only base it on the clips from the U21 game plus the game against Doncaster. He looks good and I meant “half firing” as in I’d be happy to just see him playing within his capabilities first rather than like a lot of Leeds fans I know expecting a Messi clone to lead us to the Promised Land. Irving08 I guess I just don’t see the point of his being here when we have enough equally promising midfielders of our own. Chareose Irving, personally I think Dawson could be the player we are missing……… he was exceptional the other night and ive been a little disappointed with our attacking midfeilders this season……. Yes we are an improved team but 1 shot on target in 200 odd minutes tells its own story………. Adryan and Montenegro both look they can add to the team in the long term but for me Dawson is definitely ready oldschoolbaby Nice to see you back in town, Chareose I think you are preaching to the converted here. I`m waiting for the episode of Jeremy Kyle that proves 08 is Dawson`s biological father !!! Irving08 Redders might have something to say about that OS. Good to see another old romantic returning to the site. Irving08 You are as per OS and yes welcome back.