THERE’S been a lot of focus on Bailey Peacock-Farrell of late and the first thing we must say is that it was a superb penalty save that he made in the 1-0 win against Reading from a technical point of view.
And the reaction of his team-mates and everyone shows what kind of regard he is held in by the people that matter the most – the fans and the players.
It was the perfect reaction from Bailey after his manager admitted that he would have lost his place to Jamal Blackman before Jamal broke his leg so it was quite public in that sense.
But it was a terrific save that he made and he was obviously very warmly received as he walked off the pitch which I thought was a nice touch.
Unfortunately, as well as Peacock-Farrell’s brilliance we also saw the dive of Gjanni Alioski which was ridiculous and that was quite rightly sorted out by the referee.
I know people can be grossly offended by diving but it’s like when you talk about spitting in that there are varying degrees of how much something can shock and grate at people.
And the more times you look at Alioski’s dive the more ridiculous it looks.
It actually reminded me for a split second of the Brentford penalty in that challenges can be made to look a certain way if players are quick enough and smart enough. Marcelo essentially defended Alioski and it’s good when a manager is backing a player to the hilt.
But the ridiculous thing with Alioski is that if he had waited one second more, the challenge would have come in anyway and Leeds probably would have had a penalty.
Some people would call what Alioski was trying to do clever, and some would call it devious but had he just left it a fraction of a second later then he probably would have had a natural penalty rather than a yellow card for diving.
The timing was wrong and he was wrong and he would have got more credit for staying on his feet – and maybe a penalty out of it as well.
If you are going to try and get a penalty like that then try and make it a tad more believable next time so that you don’t look like an idiot.
The other side of it is that he has been a consistent performer for Leeds this season and this does leave a temporary sour note. But it’s not like he has gone around trying to break someone’s leg or hacking people down.
He invites contact, he carries the ball very well and in other countries around Europe, the way that he was looking for a penalty would have been lauded as quick thinking and clever but we just don’t accept it over here.
Today’s Yorkshire derby at Sheffield United is next for Leeds and that will be their toughest test of the season if the Blades play as well as they can do.
The potential of what this game could produce if both teams play the football that we have seen from them – from Leeds this season and from Sheffield United over the course of the last three seasons – is very, very good.
You get the feeling it will be two energetic sides, Leeds looking to dominate the ball but with Sheffield United looking to get forward in numbers as they do and it’s a glorious thing to watch when you see a Leeds full-back crossing for another full-back to score.
You get it even more with Sheffield United. You get the full-back crossing for the opposite centre-half to score so it’s a fascinating match up of styles.
There was a wonderful preview piece we did in the lead up to the game where we looked at when Bielsa was manager of Argentina and he had just won coach of the year.
Conversely, Chris Wilder was manager at Alfreton Town and that just goes to show the wonderful job that Chris has done and the way that they play.
But even though the two of them come from totally different backgrounds and totally different footballing experiences, you can tell that there will be a real common respect there for the job that each other has done.
Marcelo’s is obviously over a longer period of time but when that Sheffield United team plays like it can, you can’t help but sit back and say ‘that looks brilliant.’
There’s an exhilaration to the way that they play which when it is done right and when they are on top form dovetails nicely with what Leeds have done because of the machine that Marcelo has turned them into.
You can look at his way of elevating players that have been treading water and then what Chris has done with a team that has come up through the leagues with players that have been cobbled together from different levels of football. As an achievement so far, that is rightly being lauded.
Championship on Sky Sports today: Sheffield United v Leeds United - Sky Sports Main Event, noon; Middlesbrough v Aston Villa – Sky Sports Main Event, 5.15pm.