Brentford 3 Leeds United 1
I didn’t like the team selection when I saw it earlier today; I liked the fact that the urge to play Roofe on the wing had been resisted but I wasn’t sure about changing the rest of the side that held their own against Derby for much of the game the other night. I felt the experiment of using Stuart Dallas at left back gave us much more than Berardi offers and should have been given a longer run to assess it. I also thought the midfield did well enough to deserve another go without Kalvin Phillips but TC brought them both back in at the earliest opportunity tgether with Liam Cooper.
The side held their own just about in the first half but a calamitous error from the usually reliable Andy Lonergan came at just the wrong time for us; as they say, when a team is struggling for results nothing tends to go right. A defensive lapse and a mistimed tackle then offered the home side the chance to double the lead but for once Lady Luck looked upon us with her favour, or was it pity?, and they spurned the chance.
Leeds needed to be more positive in the second half and it was good to see Christiansen recognise that and make some changes at the interval – we often complain that we leave it too late. The changes looked right too; bringing back Kemar Roofe but slotting him into his preferred central striking role in place of the once again ineffective Lasogga and bringing on Hernandez to add more inventive ideas at the expense of the less creative Eunan O’Kane. You could argue that it worked too, although the equaliser, when it came, owed more to the Bees’ keeper suffering as Lonergan did (was it really the glare of the floodlights that caught them both out?) and presenting Alioski with an early Christmas gift. But even so, Leeds once again did look far more of a collective unit once Pablo began to weave his magic.
And then comes the big question; why oh why did Christiansen believe that bringing on the immobile and thus far not very impressive Jay-Roy Grot for Alioski and moving Roofe back to the wing was a good idea? I’m no coach but with the team looking balanced and effective and with only ten minutes to go why risk that change? Whether it played any part in the fact that we then contrived to concede two late goals we will never know but I have a hunch we’d have been a better organised side without that last change. Whatever, it was another huge blow to concede two late goals and it was the fourth consecutive game in which we’ve shipped goals in the last ten minutes; if nothing else it says our game management is not good enough.
For once we can say thank goodness for the international break, not only to rest our frayed and tattered nerves but also to give Christiansen time to ponder about our recent defeats and try to understand what works for this side of ours and what doesn’t. For me though it doesn’t take a genius to realise that if we play Roofe, he must only play in the middle; there is no place for Jay Roy Grot at his current level in a Championship game; and that Stuart Dallas is a useful player to have on the pitch in almost any position. Other than that I’m struggling to know what else Christiansen can come up with to improve us other than may be to get that sports psychologist involved and to work on match management. If we are in the final ten minutes and we have a point or three, then bloody well make sure we hang on to them!
Enjoy the break everyone, I have a feeling there are still some twists and turns to encounter this season, for good or bad!
Brentford Leeds Utd
Possession 49% 51%
Shots 18 13
On Target 6 7
Corners 5 2
Fouls 8 14