I’ve really got to stop with these Davide Somma puns. Awful. I wasn’t think of them on the way home; honest. Oh and while we’re on him, he’s South African, not French and how are we pronouncing his name? ‘Davide’ (Dav-id/Dav-eed)? Or just ‘David’ (Dayvid)..?
So, the good bits – we’re no longer in a competition which no one few really cares about.
Somma scorcher scores again.
Shane Higgs showed he is a more than capable challenger to the number one shirt.
Alex Bruce got a run out.
Max Gradel returned.
Neil Kilkenny’s first half dominance.
The very good referee.
The bad bits – Neill Collins.
Shooting oneself in the foot.
2nd half performance from Fede Bessone.
2nd half performance from Leeds.
To expand on the above, well it’s the League Cup; another not very profitable distraction. That will never do. Although just over 16,000 on a Tuesday night isn’t bad.
Now, I know everyone’s a critic, everyone thinks they can do a better job than the manager – as Arsene Wenger once quipped, “Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home..” but some of the ‘fans’ at Elland Road tonight.. I’m not in the business of slagging off fellow Leeds fans but make an effort people! It’s a) not difficult to find your seat b) Leeds are shit/OMG that was amazing comments every two seconds.. How about you take a balanced view when you’ve been to watch more than one match this season. Oh and to the bloke behind me, Paulo Sousa is the Leicester manager and no, he did not used to manage Cardiff. I’m no expert but come on.
Our goal was a bit special, Higgs’ showed he’s not there to make up the numbers (although he may well end up playing second fiddle to Kasper Schmeichel most of this season) and his pinpoint cross found Kilkenny who played a quick ball through to the onrushing Gradel whose lovely first-time cross was glanced home by Somma.
Leeds were dominant first half, Kilkenny and Howson ruling the midfield, starting all the moves and playing some incisive through balls but as the second half wore on, Leicester looked more likely to stick the ball in the net; despite their lack of possession.
Higgs pulled off a couple saves right out of the top drawer and he dominated in the air, effortlessly plucking the ball from the night sky on many occasion. Most of Leicester’s attacks came down the left as Fede Bessone who had an impressive first half, suddenly seemed to struggle immensely. As Leicester just about kept themselves in the match as Leeds missed chance after chance, sub Andy King had turned the game. Kilkenny and Howson no longer dominated and Leicester’s midfielders had a free run at a nervy defence; it was like the red sea, as the home defence parted.
Leeds were made to pay as the increasingly frustrating Bradley Johnson attempted, somewhat foolishly, to bring down a high ball on the edge of the box. Lionel Messi he is not; he was robbed of possession and Leicester scored. Costly error number one.
Costly error number two came pretty late on as Collins somehow managed to make a simple touch into the most difficult thing; he seemed to be thinking how to control it even after it had hit his arm. Clear handball, penalty. And scored. I’m not suggesting Collins be dropped on tonight’s showing; it was that bad a performance but his constant, aimless hoofing is very frustrating to watch. One can’t imagine how Luciano Becchio would like to really ‘thank him’.
It’s a harsh lesson for the players but it’s not the first time errors of our own making have directly contributed to conceding. Look at Millwall; Bessone still hasn’t learnt about clearing his lines near the corner flag as he contrived to make the same mistake again tonight. Most of Leicester’s attacks came down the left and as Johnson moved into the centre, Bessone really struggled for position and was caught napping despite Howson’s attempts at assisting him.
Bruce looked comfortable; he’s not exactly imposing, I mean I’d rather square up to him than Richard Naylor if you’ll excuse the analogy. He’s not that tall either and appeared almost timid at first but he quickly grew in confidence, marshalling the back line and catching Leicester’s strikers offside many a time. His positioning as well conveys more confidence; as Collins stepped up, he stands off in the sweeper position to clear up. He’s not afraid to move into midfield either; although not overly surprising given he can play there.
Gradel was hot and cold, he looked rusty (not overly surprising) at first but started to get into it as he buzzed around, making a nuisance of himself and his confidence grew. He turned hot again, dancing away from feeble Leicester challenges, taking on fullbacks and most of the team. One thing, he could do to realise he can’t always do it all by himself. His grace as he made a mockery of the away team didn’t go down too well though, as he received a few reminders that if all else fails, clattering usually works.
Becchio was quiet tonight, possibly down to lack of minutes played with Somma but he struggled in the air but still chased and harried; thought he would’ve got a break tonight but it’s understandable the gaffer wants to get them playing together as much as possible. Oh isn’t his name ‘Luciano’ – as in ‘Loosh-iano’ as oppose to ‘Looch-iano’..? Yes, this is how much I care about the League Cup.
Grayson obviously would’ve wanted a victory against his former club but the competition is hardly a priority. It served as an opportunity to revert back to a very basic 4-4-2 and to clock up some deserved minutes – Higgs, Somma etc.
We have looked vulnerable in midfield this season, the 4-4-2 tonight was very basic, easy to stick to and operate; which worked in the first half. With Leeds on the back foot, Leicester took the opportunity to cut through the middle and with the midfield four out of the picture completely, they had a free run at goal. It’s good to experiment but with the players involved tonight, it won’t do us many favours this season on this showing. There was a lack of width as Gradel loves to wander and Johnson serves only as a target for the keeper out on the left. Still, there’s undoubtedly plenty Grayson will have taken from the changes.
I must admit, I just can’t ‘get into’ the League Cup, I had the same issue with the JPT last season; it’d be nice to progress but frankly if we lose I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
The nutshell: It’s all about the league. (But a plum FA Cup tie would be nice)