Did Leeds United Do Good Enough Business Before Deadline Day?
06 Sep 2019 06:43 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Leeds United have had a reasonable start to the season, kicked off with an impressive 3-1 win against Bristol City away from home. Lee Johnson was quick to acknowledge that his side was up against one of the teams that should be considered as the outright favourites for promotion should the squad remain fit. However, even though Leeds were dominant throughout, there were still some causes for concern with some areas of the team, ahead of the approaching transfer deadline.
There is no doubting the first eleven was already strong enough to be considered among many of the top-rated betting sites on https://footballjunkie.co.uk, but further improvements would mean that Leeds could be unstoppable in being promoted to the top-flight, as well as winning the league at a canter. So how did the summer recruitment go?
There were big shoes to fill in the Leeds United defence following the surprise departure of Pontus Jansson to Brentford this summer but Ben White has stepped up and looks a class at the back alongside Liam Coper. The best defender at Leeds since Rio Ferdinand? A big claim maybe but the Brighton loanee is backing it up with stats. Defensively White averages 2.5 tackles, 4 interceptions and 3.7 clearances per game leading to three clean sheets for Leeds so far this season. His passing stats make for good reading too with an average of 66 passes per game and a 87.6% pass accuracy rate, a true ball playing centre back and deserving of his recent PFA Championship Player of the month award.
With the departure of Kemar Roofe to Anderlecht, Leeds were left a little light in the attacking position. Patrick Bamford was the star signing for the club last summer, but while his work rate is essential to the team, fans may be hoping for more goals from the former Chelsea man. He scored nine goals in 23 appearances last season and struggled with injury throughout the season. If the club aren't able to bring in another striker, then an injury to Bamford could derail their promotion hopes very quickly. Kun Temenuzhkov and Ryan Edmondson cold make the step up sometime this season but are so far untested in the Championship.
The capture of Arsenal starlet Eddie Nketiah was a bit of a coup of Leeds with many Championship teams after his signature and on the evidence so far it’s been a great signing. Scoring in his League Cup debut against Salford and his Championship debut against Brentford as well as a further goal against Stoke City in the League Cup he is already vying for a first team starting place.
One of the concerns last season was an overreliance on Pablo Hernandez. It's difficult to predict who could get injured over the course of the season, but if Pablo Hernandez does get wounded at any point throughout the season it would be a big issue for Leeds. The Spaniard is undoubtedly the star in this side, and without him, Leeds look like a much weaker team. Hernandez scored and assisted 12 goals last season, and is a player that is the heartbeat of the side. While he played a full season last term, it's difficult to predict the 34-year-old playing every minute of the 2019-20 season.
The signing of Helder Costa brings in that extra quality and versatility which Marcelo Bielsa was looking for, Costa can operate on the wing and through the middle if asked to. Yet to start in the league the Portuguese international has made an impact when he has come on, in particular when linking up with Eddie Nketiah. The addition of Costa wo the squad means that Leeds may not have to be so reliant on Pablo Hernandez this season.
The main area of the pitch giving Leeds fans worries coming into the new season was in the goalkeeping department. Kiko Casilla is a marvellous shot-stopper, but he certainly ensures that Leeds fans can't fully enjoy a match with a narrow lead. His tendency to come rushing out of his goal whenever the ball goes into his box usually ends with him being stranded in no man's land and the goal at the mercy of attacking players. He made a dreadful mistake in last season's semi-final defeat in the playoffs to Derby.
The club also allowed Bailey Peacock-Farrell to depart from Elland Road and join Burnley, which means that Leeds didn’t have as much cover as is needed in the position. To address the issue French goalkeeper Illan Meslier was brought in on deadline day on loan from Lorient. At nearly two meters tall he is certainly a presence between the sticks and has been described as "one of the best young goalkeepers in France" but so far has been untested by Leeds as Kiko Casilla has put in some reassuring performances to far this season.