In part one we reviewed the York, Guiseley and Manchester United pre-season games, now we look at the games against Tadcaster Albion, Western Sydney Wanderers and Cagliari Calcio…
Tadcaster Albion 1, Leeds United 5
Goals: Edmondson 10, 64, 75, Clarke 20, Gotts 45
Tadcaster were not a great side but the game was a refreshing change from the days earlier match. Ben White impressed again and looks to be a very good footballer, he is clearly challenging for a starting place against Bristol City. Ryan Edmondson continued last seasons goal scoring form for the U23s with a hat-trick, he will be knocking on the door of the first team next season for sure. The match could also indicate that Bailey Peacock-Farrell may not have a future at the club trialist Max Johnstone featuring in net instead, this comes after being substituted at half time against Guiseley. Jack Clarke also made a return to form which is an encouraging sign for the new season. It's worth noting Kamil Miazek has looked decent when given the oportunity and is the one who was on the plane to Australia as Kiko Casilla's deputy.
Leeds Team: Trialist, Gotts, White, Davis, Alioski (Struijk 61), Jenkins, Klich, Temenuzhkov, Clarke, Costa (Mujica 61), Edmondson
Western Sydney Wanderers 1, Leeds United 2
Goals: Bogusz 9, Hernandez 95
There were a lot of positives to take from the game against Sydney. The team looked strong and fit and the attacking play and movement was fantastic, we just lacked in the finishing department again. Leeds had 63% of the possession with 27 shots, only 7 of which were on target, echoes of last season again. (Stats from @LUFCDATA) Harrison created a lot of chances from dangerous crosses again, Bogusz put in an impressive display in the middle and took his goal well and Hernandez proved his class again with the winner. On the negative side Roofe, who had looked excellent, picked up a knock and Douglas is still not back to his best. Patrick Bamford continued his lean spell up front, fans will be divided about whether he could lead the line next season but I have the feeling if he could grab a couple of goals his confidence would return.
Leeds Team: Casilla, Douglas, Cooper, Berardi, Dallas, Phillips, Bogusz (Oduor 82), Hernandez, Harrison, Roofe (Stevens 53), Bamford
Cagliari Calcio 1, Leeds United 1
Goals: Hernandez 49 pen
An enjoyable game, and that's what football is about, isn't it? Leeds looked competitive and were the better team in the second half. We were much more fluent once Pablo was playing in his natural attacking role. You have to love Phillip's commitment and together with Klich & Berardi looked on top form. White had a good game, Lief Davies was confident and the early signs from Helder Costa look very promising. Bamford is still goal shy, which is a worry, especially with Roofe missing. In normal circumstances he would have taken on the chance that he created for Pablo, he just needs one to come off and he will be up and running. Overall his game was very good. Bogusz continued to impress this pre-season proving yet again that he will be fighting for first team minutes this season. Kiko Casilla made some good saves which may put some fans nerves to rest.
Leeds Team: Casilla, Davis, Cooper, White, Berardi, Phillips, Klich (Stevens 64), Forshaw, Costa (Clarke 61), Hernandez, Bamford
Aside from the games listed Leeds United XIs played a couple of behind doors friendlies with a team featuring Costa, White and Alioski losing 4-2 to Saudi team Al-Ittihad and beating Spanish side Girona 3-2 (Goals from (Oduor , Harrison and Alioksi) with a team featuring Dallas, Douglas, Harrison and Alioski amongst a majority of U23 players.
It is difficult how to judge a pre-season campaign, games are generally a test ground and chance for players to get up to match fitness rather than an actual demonstration of how the team will line-up come the first game of the season. It would be fair to day that our expected first XI have not featured together in any of the pre-season games. All in all the team look every bit as fit and sharp you would expect a Marcelo Bielsa side to be, and a year into the project the attacking football and movement is every bit as good as last season. Our key weaknesses identified by fans last season and compounded by Jansson leaving remain though, not taking our chances and a lack of pace and strength in depth at the back.
The major take away from pre-season so far has been the performances of the younger players. The U23s shone last season and the performances from some of the youngsters in pre-season has impressed greatly. They will certainly provide more than adequate cover for the first team and many would be hoping to get their chance with the first team. Casey, Struijk and Hosannah in defence, McCalmont, Stevens and Bogusz in midfield and Ryan Edmondson continuing his goal scoring form up front will all be players to keen an eye on this season.