Leeds Utd Port Vale
Possession 67% 33%
Shots 23 5
On Target 10 2
Corners 6 1
Fouls 12 14
Leeds United 4 Port Vale 1
Well, how good was that to watch? In recent years any cup game against lower league sides has been a struggle when we’ve put out a 2nd XI as we quite simply have never had the strength in depth to field more than one decent side… and not enough for even one more often than not he wrote, thinking about Sutton United!
We all felt that this squad was different although maybe we didn’t quite grasp how different! For a 2nd XI side to dominate a league two side like this is cause for great optimism – 67% possession, 23 shots and 10 on target - although it looks like presenting Thomas Christiansen with an almighty headache as he tries to select his best XI for each game. The Championship is a long hard slog though and we will need all the resource we can muster in the coming months – maybe one problem we ran in to last April and May was a lack of class in the players on the fringes of the team. Tonight showed I think that we now do have that. The biggest headache of all will be keeping everyone happy and involved and believing they are playing a part – a nice long cup run or two will help that of course!
The man everyone is now talking about and naming their dogs and children after is our hat-trick hero and star of the night, Samu Saiz Alonso; many saw his talent when he got just a few minutes at the end of the Oxford game after he had kept his light under a bushel pretty much in pre-season, but tonight he was almost unstoppable. He is the Young Pretender to the Old Master that is Pablo Hernandez – getting the balance right of playing those two is already maybe the key to our season. But there were others who showed they have much to offer us too; Anita again looked decent as did Stuart Dallas who we know can do a job. Liam Bridcutt looked sharp when he came on too and Ekuban took his goal chance well. Others are maybe not shining quite brightly enough yet – Klich, Vieira and the conundrum that goes by the name of Hadi Sacko fall in that category for me.
So, on we go Saturday and the visit of Preston; getting that selection right is key, and it will take bravery on the part of TC and belief in his ability to call it right from all of us.