Guiseley 3 (Clayton 3, Thompson 29, Trialist A 73)
Leeds United 4 (Klich 39, Clarke 49, Edmondson 53, 71)
We certainly can’t say we haven’t been entertained this pre-season! Even the weather played its part last night as we saw the dark skies over Guiseley lit up with forks of lightening and heard the deep rumble of thunder before we then got soaked to the skin with a downpour of biblical proportions! It seemed to cause the players to just delay their appearance a few minutes while the storm passed over leaving the poor cheerleaders forming a guard of honour for them to cop the full force of the Almighty!
Once again it had been leaked by the club that the players we’d see would be, by and large, the second string XI that we saw only 48 hours earlier in Oxford, confirming once again that none of these players had yet done enough to cause Bielsa to consider changing his clearly preferred XI that we will see start on Sunday against Las Palma and then no doubt in the first real test against Stoke City. Seven of these players will though be on the bench when the Potters appear at Elland Road.
So, although the game last night proved to be another 4 – 3 thriller to rival the game we watched at the Kassam, I am sure most of us were using it to work out who we’d be seeing at Elland Road a week on Sunday.
The game itself followed a now familiar pattern that we must ensure the 1st team avoids once the regular season begins: we started slowly yet again. It does appear though that we are so fit relative to the teams we’ve played that each time we get better the longer the game goes on – we’ve seen this trait with both the 1st XI and the second string group that played last night. Hence we found ourselves 2 – 0 down inside the half hour mark but then proceeded to start to play and came out comfortable winners in the end despite a late Guiseley goal.
Of the players on show at Nethermoor, Mateusz Klich looked closest to forcing his way into Bielsa’s plans for Stoke. He has revelled in the more forward role he seems to have been given (apart from at York when he and Ronnie Vieira played at centre-back!). Klich capped his display with a well struck goal too. Of the rest Jamal Blackman looked good at times albeit he started shakily and Lewis Baker always seems full of running. Several of the young players have done themselves proud in these pre-season games including Ryan Edmondson who clearly has an eye for goal; Jamie Shackleton who seems to love his football and again is up and down the pitch like a Duracell powered bunny. Jack Clarke continues to develop and has that rare ability to go past a defender and Tyler Roberts impressed in the short time he was on the pitch. He was withdrawn after half an hour. Ronnie Vieira looked exactly what he is, far more experienced than most of those around him, strong and again full of running, but it is hard to see who he would displace with Kalvin Phillips clearly the favourite in front of the back four at the moment. Tom Pearce hasn’t stood out to the same extent considering his form with the 1st team at the back end of last season.
So, if I was to guess the team to play on the next two Sundays, and assuming we either get no new players in or Bielsa considers any that do come in are not ready to throw straight in, then this is how I see it. It also assumes everyone is fit of course and that includes Pontus Jansson, I’d guess he’ll play this Sunday and Bielsa will assess him from that… I don’t want to even think about starting against Stoke without him!
Ayling Jansson Cooper Dallas
Alioski Saiz Forshaw Hernandez
Subs: Blackman, De Bock, Berardi, Klich, Vieira, Baker, Roberts.