FRESH from the long journey to the south west for Tuesday night’s Championship clash at Bristol City, Lee Sobot looks at a few key talking points from the 1-0 loss at Ashton Gate.
Who is going to score goals for Leeds when Chris Wood draws a blank?
Leeds quite clearly should have bagged at least a share of the spoils from Tuesday’s visit to Ashton Gate with Hadi Sacko in particular missing a series of decent chances. Wood also squandered decent opportunities and Leeds have a worrying lack of players who seem to be capable of regularly finding the net when their Kiwi international draws a blank. Sacko should be credited for regularly getting himself into decent positions but the Frenchman has to start to bulging the net or wasted games like Tuesday’s affair will become more frequent. But Leeds cannot be relying solely on Sacko as back up to Wood and the lack of goals overall is a definite problem. Wood has nine for the current season with Marcus Antonsson second in the goal-scoring charts with two. If Antonsson and Wood are both to play then United will have to abandon the 4-2-3-1 formation that clearly suits the current crop of players best. Sacko, Pablo Hernandez, Kalvin Phillips, Kyle Bartley and Tyler Denton all have one each. Fourteen goals from 12 games in league cup which is obviously problematic. Stuart Dallas, who has admittedly been playing well of late, has none, and he, Hernandez and Sacko in particular need to start bulging the net more.
How long will Pontus Jansson be out for and how damaging will any potential absence be?
United’s fans were left that awful sinking feeling when Jansson limped off holding his hamstring at the end of the first half and Leeds conceded for the first time in 252 minutes of league football within 14 minutes of being without their six-foot-five Swedish centre-back. That says it all. Liam Cooper did okay when he came on for Jansson without looking as domineering and assured and there is no denying that United look considerably stronger at the back when Jansson is on the field. His integration into the team since arriving on loan from Torino has been integral to United’s recent improved form. Whites head coach Garry Monk said after Tuesday’s game that he did not think Jansson’s injury was serious and that he was taken off more as a precaution. But it has to be said that it didn’t look good and Jansson also sounded pretty concerned when taking to social media after the match.
How long is Liam Bridcutt going to missing for?
Captain Liam Bridcutt’s foot injury was considered to be nothing major after he was withdrawn following 49 minutes of the Championship clash with Blackburn Rovers on September 13. Monk described the problem as an “impact injury” and said the midfielder missed the subsequent clashes against Cardiff and Blackburn again in the EFL Cup due to swelling. The actual pain of the injury was the reason for Bridcutt them missing the 1-0 win over Ipswich Town with Bridcutt thought to have been on the brink of returning to the Leeds side for the trip to Bristol City. But United’s captain has now been sent for a scan in London with United awaiting news of the results on Wednesday. The club and its fans will await news of that with bated breath with Bridcutt’s absence becoming a worry. United obviously have plenty of options in centre-midfield with Kalvin Phillips and Ronaldo Vieira clearly both very talented and with Phillips having a blinder against Ipswich on Saturday. But both players are young and inconsistent with Phillips failing to really excel in Bristol. Vieira - who picked up a knock in the EFL Cup win against Blackburn - was not even on the bench, with Matt Grimes the option instead. Leeds need Bridcutt back as soon as possible and there is no telling of when that might be. At right back, the upcoming availability of Gaetano Berardi will also be a welcome addition and the Swiss international could well replace Luke Ayling. But Berardi seems very unlikely to play until after the international break and it would be a big surprise to see him involved for Saturday’s home clash with Barnsley.
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