It was routine business for Leeds United in their Elland Road opener vs Port Vale in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup action.
A close game at the half, where both sides went in level at 1-1, was blown apart around the hour mark when Samu Saiz scored his 2nd and 3rd of the night – the Spaniard finishing with a hat-trick on his début.
For a ‘second string’ squad playing in a cup game, Leeds’ performance was something else. It was a performance that bristled with energy and threat. It was a performance backed not only by Saiz’s three goals but also the upturn in the sides fortunes when Saiz’s fellow new boy Ezgjan Alioski came on – the Macedonian’s lung-bursting run setting up the fourth goal of the match for Caleb Ekuban.
Ekuban was another of the ‘second string’ who caught the eye over the 90 minutes, as did players like last season’s club captain Liam Bridcutt coming off the bench. Stuart Dallas also laid down a reminder of his potential with a more than solid display during his time on the field.
The supposedly ‘makeshift’ defence was also able to pass muster, negating a supposed weakness that fans were worried about. New loan signing from Manchester United, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson impressed on his début.
Overall, what could be considered as Leeds United’s midweek cup squad didn’t do too bad in dispensing of Port Vale via a 4-1 victory at Elland Road. The performance of the players put out on Wednesday night would definitely have given head coach Thomas Christiansen some selection headaches ahead of the visit of Preston North End on Saturday.
Potential Leeds United line up vs Preston
Starting XI: (GK), Ayling (RB), Jansson (CB), Cooper (CB), Borthwick-Jackson (LB), O’Kane (CM), Phillips (CM), Roofe (LW), Saiz (AM), Alioski (RW).
Subs: Peacock-Farrell, O’Shaughnessy, Anita, Bridcutt, Sacko, Hernandez, Ekuban
Whites fans comment on players and potential line-up ahead of Preston game
With a day still to go, Whites fans have been busy putting forward their ideas about who should/shouldn’t make the cut for Saturday’s visit of Preston to what will be a packed Elland Road.
— JanssonsMagicHat (@PontusHernandez) August 10, 2017
I'd start Pablo at Preston then Saiz at Fulham #lufc
— Ryan Pinnick (@RPlufc93) August 10, 2017
There’s a definitive lean towards starting one Spaniard over another in the first couple of tweets. That seems to be the main preoccupation of fans, how to wedge in Samu Saiz after his hat-trick heroics against Port Vale. And it seems a strand of thought that continues.
I think TC’s comments about Saiz needing to work harder off the ball may mean Pablo plays vs Preston. Play both? #lufc
— . (@deancore) August 10, 2017
However there are fans (below) who are looking beyond the Pablo/Samu conundrum when it comes to Saturday’s visit of Preston to Elland Road.
I know Phillips and O'Kane did brilliantly against Bolton but Klich and Vieira made strong claims to start v Preston after lastnight #lufc
— Brandon Yates (@BrandonYatess) August 10, 2017
Watched the game this morning…
Saiz : unreal
Alioski : game changer
Borthwick-Jackson : looked great
— . (@1NTKNM) August 10, 2017
But still the Saiz appreciation society won’t go away.
Saiz had a worldy last night, but I'd play Hernandez against PNE. He had a good game last Sunday and it would be harsh to drop him. #lufc
— Yorkshire Scoop (@yorkshire_scoop) August 10, 2017
Saturday will tell just how Thomas Christiansen is thinking, but Leeds fans look to be clamouring for a one Saiz fits all policy when it comes to attacking midfield.