It’s been a week of changing winds at Elland Road, and winds working at speed. Gone is Thomas Christiansen and in is new boss Paul Heckingbottom.
Christiansen paid with his job for a lacklustre set of recent performances with two catastrophic Elland Road losses sealing his fate at the club. Last time out, the Whites were trounced 4-1 by a handy Cardiff side. Before that a battling 10-man Leeds United side pulled back from 2-0 down to briefly lead before running out 4-3 losers.
With pressure mounting on him, and fans calling for his dismissal, something had to give and it was the amiable Dane who did. Now with a new man in charge, attention is switched to the weekend and Leeds’ visit to Sheffield United in what will likely be a humdinger of a game.
Five talking points ahead of Leeds United vs Sheffield United
- New man in boost: First up is whether Paul Heckingbottom’s arrival will be the catalyst to spark Leeds United back into action. Lacklustre is a very kind word to describe the Whites’ performances of late, but Heckingbottom could very well prove to be the tonic and pick-me-up that Leeds United need. As the old saying goes, a new broom sweeps cleanest.
- Jansson is Lazarus – a Biblical return: Stretchered off against Cardiff City on Saturday, risen again a week later to face Sheffield United on Saturday – that’s Pontus Jansson. Leeds fans were fearing the worst when Jansson was carted of, yet now it all seems slightly odd that the big Swede is ready to suit up once again for the Whites. With what is looking more of a Swiss cheese defence with every passing week, a live body is most welcome.
- Low on Lady Luck – on to a loser: There’s always the risk that a low-on-luck side like Leeds United are at the moment could hit the skids more and simply slide deeper. Injuries and rash actions have robbed the Whites of a healthy number of their line-up, leaving an already stretched side looking distinctly threadbare. With luck seemingly deserting them, whether the Whites can cut themselves some slack and up the ante remains one thing to think about.
- Will Lasogga and Roberts spark: Leeds United have been definitely profligate in front of goal, but could the cold clockwork of the stars be about to change. Leeds United from the start of the season were a rampaging joy to behold, could all the changes be about to bring that back? Pierre-Michel Lasogga is castigated by certain sections of the Whites support but he’s up near the top of the goal-scoring charts at Elland Road and has 1.Bundesliga class. Youngster Tyler Roberts was brought in at the tail-end of the transfer window from Premier League West Brom so it will be interesting to see what he will offer to a side down on its luck and down in the dumps.
- 11-vs-10 or 11-vs-11 for a change: Leeds’ indiscipline has seen them play huge tracts of three of the last four Championship games reduced to 10 men with Eunan O’Kane (vs Ipswich), Liam Cooper (vs Millwall) and Gaetano Berardi (vs Cardiff City) all receiving their marching orders. New head coach Paul Heckingbottom has acknowledged this, saying that it must stop. It really has to, against Sheffield United going down to 10-men would again prove fateful and a loss would be another nail in the lid of the play-off hope coffin.