The final straw for Kiko Casilla, time to hand Illan Meslier the gloves

11 Feb 2020 09:40 pm, by YorkshireSquare

It’s fair to say that Kiko Casilla had a lot to live up when he signed from Real Madrid. But last season did not end so well for the Spanish keeper, Leeds fans fingers were bitten down to the bone on several occasions. His tendency to come rushing out of his goal whenever the ball goes into his box left Leeds fans with their hearts in their mouths. The confusion between Liam Cooper and Casilla which saw Jack Marriott equalise for Derby in the play-off semi-final lead to confidence between the defence and keeper being lost and a crazy 45 minutes of football which ultimately saw Leeds United lose their chance of promotion.

This summer there were question marks over his future at Leeds, and at £35k a week was he too much of a gamble for the club? But Casilla made his intention to stay clear and with the departure of Bailey Peacock-Farrell to Burnley his position as the man between the sticks for Leeds United was secured. Casilla did not want to be defined by the Derby game and despite a heart stopping charge from his line against Bristol his performances at the start of the campaign were good. He put in a commanding performance against Wigan making several excellent saves and claims from set pieces, his shot stopping and decision making kept us in several games early on this season.

But it’s all changed, since being charged by the FA with racially abusing Charlton Athletic's Jonathan Leko, a charge he denies, Casilla is a shadow of the player he was earlier in the season. During Leeds United’s poor run of results they have still been dominating possession and creating chances, the two differences are that they are not converting their chances and they are conceding soft goals. A shot at the near post that should have been saved, a corner flying straight in, a miscontrolled back pass. Casilla is letting in goals he should be saving, an often from the oppositions first shot on target in a game.

Play as well as you can going forward, but if you are always having to come back from an early goal it must be demoralising. Leeds were on top yet again in the early exchanges against Brentford but a goal against the run of play, a goal which should never have been rattled them. For a few minutes after then were on the back foot until composure was regained and Cooper grabbed the equaliser. Now is the time for leaders, but Casilla is not showing any leadership. How can the rest of the team play with confidence if there is a liability behind the sticks? My heart is in my mouth watching Casilla, god knows how Ben White and Liam Cooper feel!

With confidence lost in Casilla, Tuesday night has to be the final straw. The time is right to make the change. A change Bielsa has made before when bringing Casilla himself in to replace Bailey Peacock-Farrell at a similar stage last season. Illan Meslier looked assured against Arsenal, it’s time to hand him the gloves. For all of our sakes, but especially Kiko Casilla.

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Irish Ian wrote on 12 Feb 2020 08:21 pm

When Casilla, and Bielsa are gone from Leeds, earning more in a week than average fan earns in a year.
When Bamford is off playing his violin and Phillips is playing in the Champions League.

Where will we be?

And why?

danhirons wrote on 12 Feb 2020 10:41 am

I mean I won't deny he was good towards the start of the season but that's in a team of the month based on stats from a statistics website! Scraping the barrel a bit... But never mind.

I think if he isn't dropped now, he is basically undroppable and it begs the question what was the point in even signing Meslier, we may as well have some cheap 40 year old has been on the bench as cover

weasel wrote on 12 Feb 2020 10:25 am

danhirons wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:16 am Pretty sure he's never been anywhere near championship player of the month so no idea where that's come from! ... 1-10075301

YorkshireSquare wrote on 12 Feb 2020 09:19 am

danhirons wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:16 am Pretty sure he's never been anywhere near championship player of the month so no idea where that's come from!

He was nominated for PFA Fans Player of the Month

danhirons wrote on 12 Feb 2020 09:16 am

weasel wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:56 am A sensible post. I don't know if the potential ban has had any bearing but it is ridiculous that we are 3 months on from it and it hasn't been sorted and there is no excuse for the delay.

When we had our winning run he was in the man of the match running nearly every game and was the EFL player of the month. As a keeper it is the highs and lows, you stick your hand out and when things are going well the ball hits the hand, when things are going bad the ball runs under your foot and straight to an opposition player.

I made the point that his anticipation and reading of the game saved us a potential goal a couple of minutes before we conceded when he was quickly off his line to clear the ball when their striker was going to be clean through. That however is the live of a keeper in that everyone forgets the good things when an error is made. Every outfield player will make the same sort of mistake Kiko made every match, you take your eye off the ball for a second as you look up to see where you are going to pass it and suddenly it has gone under your foot or you miscontrol it. Like I said though it isn't a goalkeeping mistake, just a mistake.
Pretty sure he's never been anywhere near championship player of the month so no idea where that's come from!