Leeds lost 1-0 to Watford on Saturday to exit the FA Cup in the fifth round. Here are five things we learned from that game.
Scott Wootton needs to be taken out of the firing line
It is not Wootton’s fault, but he has found himself drawing ire from Leeds fans over the last few months, a situation not improved by his own goal on Saturday. Wootton is not an attacking right-back. He likely never will be. Unfortunately, he has been asked to be one all season long, and it is no surprise to continually see him come up short. Lewie Coyle is a younger option in that position, and with Leeds having little to play for, he should be given an extended chance in the first team.
Giuseppe Bellusci has recast himself as a key player
At one point this season, it seemed as though Bellusci’s time at Elland Road was up. When reports emerged that Serie A sides in Italy were interested in spending millions of pounds on him, they were met with laughter rather than fear. That situation has changed entirely now. Something has clicked in the defender’s game, and he now looks calm and assured at the back. He is Leeds’s best defender, and, barring Charlie Taylor, the one they would be most scared of losing in the summer.
Leeds’ season is absolutely over
The play-off push was always more of a shove, which left the FA Cup as the only competition in which Leeds might have hoped of achieving something this season. That was always more of a pipe dream than anything, but the 1-0 loss at Vicarage Road put an end to dreams of Wembley and reminded everyone of Leeds’ nightmare circumstance in the league. They once again find themselves in the familiar surrounds of lower mid-table.
Jordan Botaka is incredibly far from first team ready
Botaka was a shock inclusion on the bench and a shock substitution when Leeds were chasing the game. His contribution was minimal, but even more damaging was the manner in which Evans openly dismissed his level of performance after the game. To say Botaka is far away from the first team would be like suggesting Mars is a bit of a journey from Earth. A more sensible club would lend the developing player to another side, but in reality Leeds are going to end Botaka’s English football hopes before they even get going.
Liam Bridcutt and Toumani Diagouraga offer hope in midfield
The only really impressive aspect of Leeds’ game was the way Bridcutt and Diagouraga marshalled the midfield. Even up against Mario Suarez, a La Liga winner, and the eternally expensive Etienne Capoue, they did not seem overwhelmed. If Leeds are actually going to look for a much demanded promotion to the Premier League, Bridcutt and Diagouraga is not a bad platform from which to start. Unfortunately, Bridcutt is only on loan.