Leeds United pursued a transfer policy that initially pleased fans over last summer, making numerous signings that brought in many bodies to the club.
However, as the campaign has worn on, the club have employed almost a revolving door midfield with no pairing really getting the chance to bed in as a partnership. Mind, that’s pretty much an indictment of the approach shown by Leeds United across all areas in what has been something of a rough-hewn, jig-saw of a season.
It is something that has been picked up on by fans, with many pointing out the largely ineffective application and efforts of those that have filled the midfield spots this season. At some point in the season, everyone seems to have been blamed with only recent arrival Adam Forshaw escaping the depth of criticism awarded to others.
Leeds United journalist Phil Hay, who writes for the Yorkshire Evening Post replied to the following comment (below) on Twitter.
We haven’t really played with a cm as we normally a 4-2-3-1,3 forward thinking players behind 1 striker with 2 dm infront of defence
— #del wright (@delwright21) April 6, 2018
These two fans were commenting on the fact that Leeds United don’t seem to possess a midfielder, amongst the multitude that they have on the books, that can be described as a truly ‘central midfielder’ or ‘central playmaker’. Yes, the Whites do have that capability in Spaniards Samu Saiz and Pablo Hernandez further up the field, but not in the central engine room.
Hay’s contribution to the conversation was both telling and, simultaneously, cutting in the shortness of shrift that it delivered. Replying to the comment by Leeds United fan @delwright21, Hay said the following:
I made this point in yesterday’s column. The midfielders at Leeds are all the same. All want to sit and lie deep. To help someone like Vieira improve and to create some variety, you need a Tom Cairney – someone who attacks the box
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 6, 2018
Hay’s words will find a solid resonance with Leeds United fans, many who will be quick to point out the homogeneity in the playing attributes of the plethora of midfield players at Leeds United’s disposal.
Perhaps the most telling of Hay’s criticisms are the linked barbs of “Leeds are all the same” and that the current crop of midfielders “all want to sit and lie deep.” When that happens, as fans have witnessed on too many occasions, they Whites rely on width and pace from the likes of Ezgjan Alioski and guile from Pablo Hernandez.
The trouble with that ploy is simple – most opponents know this as well. That’s likely one of the reasons that many opponents have been able to stifle Leeds United’s ‘threat’ from the middle of the park.