Guiseley 1 Leeds United 5
(Leeds: Dallas 1, 27 Antonsson 33, Erwin 58,89)
(Guiseley: A Trialist 29)
Cast your minds back to this time last year; another game at Guiseley, during Garry Monk’s pre-season. A lethargic and error strewn Leeds side were three goals down inside the first 25 minutes to their non-league Yorkshire hosts. In fact, throughout pre-season and into the first half dozen games Monk’s side struggled; it struggled defensively until Pontus and Kyle Bartley formed their partnership.
Once again I’ll preface this by acknowledging this was only game 2 and only a nutter would read too much into the performance and we have no idea whether Guiseley are actually any good either… BUT I have to say the way Leeds tore into the game in the early minutes was a joy to see and really encouraging; giving the impression that we still have that togetherness that was so evident last season, at least until the final weeks, and that TC has got them motivated. It may only have been game 2 in a long pre-season but boy it looked like they all wanted it! There was plenty of quality amongst all the effort too – witness two sublime right foot curlers into the top right corner from Stuart Dallas that put us 2 – 0 up inside the half hour this time.
OK, we then let one of the Guiseley trialists spoil our summer afternoon party somewhat as Luke Ayling was beaten on the left leaving the trialist to fire across Green into the top corner, but, heck, it is early days!
More quality, this time the sort we regularly see from Pablo Hernandez, weaving his way to the byline before setting up Antonsson, much as he did at Thorp Arch in the week to set up the Lee Erwin goal there rounded of the first half
In fact the only unsatisfactory element of the first half was that Pepe Bellusci was playing. Not that he wasn’t playing well; I don’t think he put a foot wrong really. But the distaste and distrust of the man is so ingrained in the minds of so many Leeds fans that it is impossible to even consider the possibility that he could ever be accepted back in the fold. I hate to hear a player being abused during a game, indeed, I can’t remember any other player ever suffering quite to the degree Bellusci is; it just isn’t right, not for me anyway. For me, if he’s on the pitch in our shirt, he’s part of the team, whether or not we believe he’s deserving of the privilege. I don’t want to hear our own fans, my fellow fans, verbally attacking any player. It is clear to me though, that Bellusci’s conduct in the past will never be forgiven by some and for that reason I believe the sooner the club removes him the better for everyone concerned. For what it’s worth, I actually don’t think he’s good enough to merit a place anyway – he’s too erratic, too impulsive and too unstable to be a reliable central defender and we’ve witnessed too many glaring errors in the past. So, fingers crossed the whole thing can be brought to a conclusion by the club coaches deciding he’s not for them and we can get on with the job of supporting the team… all of em!
The side we put out for the second half didn’t quite bring the same intensity to the game that the first half XI did although there were little cameo performances on occasions from the likes of Bridcutt, Sacko, Ronnie Vieira and the Duracell bunny that is Gaetano Berardi. Leeds added a couple more goals from Lee Erwin who is certainly starting to show he may well have the goal poachers’ instincts we sometimes lacked last season.
The worry for me still remains though that the only centre-back we have who looks the complete deal is Pontus Jansson… and he can’t play at Bolton! There is talk that more faces are on the way so please let at least one of them be another commanding cb!
The side we had last season was, on the whole, competitive. We've lost Kyle Bartley, seemingly, and Charlie Taylor of course so we need to fill those gaps. But if we can, and then if the likes of Klich and Anita prove to be as good as we hope they are then things do look bright and don't forget all the youngsters will have an extra year under their belts too. I can't wait to see if this all adds up to an even more competitive season this time around.