AFTER seeing Leeds United stay top of the Championship with a 3-2 victory against Ipswich Town, Lee Sobot looks at a few talking points from the clash at Elland Road.
What will prove United’s best pairing at the back?
Leeds were by and large taken over the line to victory by their front men on Saturday with United’s normally rock solid defence breached twice by Ipswich who also squandered other further opportunities.
Conor Shaughnessy partnered fit again captain Liam Cooper at centre back with Pontus Jansson not risked after picking up a suspected hamstring injury in the previous weekend’s loss at Millwall.
Everton loanee Matthew Pennington also returned to the fray after his long lay off with an ankle injury but only as an unused substitute.
But head coach Thomas Christiansen now seems likely to ring the changes for Tuesday night’s trip to third-placed Cardiff City in which Jansson is likely to return to partner Cooper at the heart of the defence.
That, at present, clearly looks like United’s strongest partnership at the back though the return of Pennington gives Christiansen further food for thought.
After impressing in between the sticks during Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup clash at Burnley, it could also be argued that Andy Lonergan could feasibly challenge Felix Wiedwald for the no 1 jersey as Wiedwald looked shaky at times against Ipswich.
But the ever impressive Luke Ayling remains a shoe-in to start at right back.
Should Gaetano Berardi be handed a starting berth?
Berardi is another player to have recently returned from injury having dislocated his shoulder in the opening weekend win at Bolton Wanderers.
The selfless full back stressed on Friday that he was happy to sit on the bench and be kept out of the team by Vurnon Anita if it helped the team as a whole.
But one crucial goalline clearance side, Anita failed to really shine on Saturday and the Dutchman was substituted for Berardi on the hour mark.
Berardi, as ever, was his usual reliable self and while Anita is a very talented and versatile player, the decision as to who is first choice left back must be a close call.
Can Ronaldo Vieira get back in the side?
The strength in depth at Christiansen’s disposal was highlighted by the fact that Vieira, Pawel Cibicki, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Hadi Sacko all failed to make the bench on Saturday despite seemingly all being available and fit.
Teenage midfield gem Vieira remains the most notable absentee when not making the Whites 18 after making such a huge impression in his first full season since turning pro at Leeds.
Christiansen instead opted to select summer recruit Mateusz Klich as his central midfield option on the bench.
Klich, though, was not called for and with Eunan O’Kane and Kalvin Philiips continuing to impress and monopolise the central midfield roles, Vieira and Klich for that matter have a tough task ahead to get into the side.
That, though, remains a welcome headache for United’s head coach.
Will Pierre-Michel Lasogga start against Cardiff?
On loan Hamburg striker Lasogga continues to impress in the no 9 role with the 25-year-old German producing another clinical finish for United’s opener after Shaughnessy’s superb through ball.
The striker has also shown admirable dedication to the cause by starting every game for Leeds since his arrival, despite his girlfriend, who is still back in Germany, expecting the couple’s first child.
But Lasogga’s girlfriend finally gave birth to the couple’s baby daughter on Friday night and the striker flew back to Germany after Saturday’s clash against Ipswich to be with his new extended family.
That naturally raised the question over whether or not Lasogga would feature against Cardiff on Tuesday - just four days after becoming a young dad.
But the German is set to speak to the media at Thorp Arch on Monday and join Christiansen for the pre-match Cardiff press conference which would definitely suggest that dedicated forward is in line to play against Cardiff.
Cue the rock the baby celebration if he scores.