AFTER witnessing another late penalty cost Leeds United dear, Lee Sobot looks at five issues highlighted by Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers.
1, A new star is born
It would be over-egging the pudding to go raving about 19-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s debut in goal as by and large the teenager had very little to do that was out of the ordinary, so ineffective were QPR. But the young custodian showed firm, safe hands with every attempt on goal and the young man had no chance with Tjaronn Chery’s top-class and top-corner penalty. Peacock-Farrell also showed a cool and calm attitude to making his debut at Elland Road and was notably assured in dealing with a couple of potentially dangerous back-passes. Elland Road did not get the chance to see the former Middlesbrough youngster’s shot-stopping ability but make no mistake that is there in droves. After all, Whites head coach Steve Evans said some months ago that Peacock-Farrell is destined for the Premier League. That is now the immediate worry as the young ‘keeper’s current Whites deal expires in the summer. Contract talks are ongoing and it is hoped the latest Leeds revelation signs a new deal to provide competition and not just back-up to Marco Silvestri and Ross Turnbull.
2, Giuseppe Bellusci is costing the team points
It’s all very well saying that Bellusci actually played reasonably well aside from conceding his late penalty but sadly that is a very big aside.
The centre-back did have a fairly steady came apart from his late clumsy tackle but it’s not like Bellusci made goal-saving tackles in return. In short, the fact is that Bellusci alone has cost Leeds three points in four days, possibly five if you believe United would have gone on to beat ten-man Rotherham. There was also some hair-raising defending at the start of the game when both Bellusci and Gaetano Berardi failed to deal with an early QPR delivery from the right and it would be some call for Steve Evans to still play Bellusci against Burnley. You suspect he might though.
3, Chris Wood can be clinical
Wood definitely has his doubters at Leeds but fair play to him for sticking away the only decent opportunity he had. The 24-year-old was feeding on scraps apart from Luke Murphy’s delicious 70th-minute cross and made the most of that delivery with a decent sliding finish for his first goal since December - but remember the striker has missed most games since then. Wood also did well to hold up plenty of long punts and the New Zealand international ought to be in for a decent end to the season. That’s now nine for the campaign for Wood which makes him joint-top scorer with Mirco Antenucci. With seven games left, there’s no reason why Wood shouldn’t be aiming to get to 15 which would be a fair return given his injury troubles.
4, Fans continue to vote with their feet
Visibly, Elland Road looked incredibly quiet for Tuesday night’s clash and there were a few raised eyebrows when the attendance of ‘17,388’ was announced. It looked a lot less. But it probably was less as every club automatically counts the number of season ticket holders, regardless of whether they turn up or not. Leeds have around 12,000 season ticket holders and plenty of them looked to have stayed at home. What’s not in doubt as that as a whole, plenty of Whites fans have had enough of this pointless season and of Massimo Cellino’s regime in general.
5, Lewis Cook still needs work on his attacking game
Class-act Cook again showed some lovely touches and passes against QPR. As ever, his work-rate and commitment was brilliant and the ability of the teenager is not in doubt whatsoever. But it is choosing the right option when motoring forward that is preventing Cook from reaching the next level as an all-round midfielder. There were two occasions on Tuesday when the 19-year-old led a flowing Whites counter-attack that could and should have led to a goal had the midfielder produced the right type of pass. Cook is still learning and that will come and the sooner the better from Leeds’ point of view. Then again, as a goal-scoring/creating all-round midfielder, the York-born footballer would then be in even higher demand.