Worst performance of the season? What does the future hold for Pablo?
14 Dec 2020 09:06 am, by YorkshireSquare
Good Morning. It's Monday 14th December, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
Worst Performance of the season?
There seem to be two ways to combat the thread of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United side. Be organised in defence, absorb the pressure and hit us on the counter-attack lice Leicester. Or go at us man for man, beat the press and close us down like Chelsea. Both Chelsea and Leicester are extremely good sides, competing at the table, with good players and well drilled systems. Losing to them obviously didn’t feel great but there is shame in it.
Coming away from Friday’s defeat to West Ham felt different though. It felt like a game we could have won, even should have won. With their best player Michail Antonio out it was a good opportunity for three points. But we never seemed at the races. Liam Coopers excellent through ball was a rare highlight, after that Mateusz Klich’s poor first penalty set the tone for a frustrating evening.
We were frustrated in midfield, our final ball was poor and defensively we played into their hands. Sloppy free kicks were given away and two goals gifted from set pieces. Was it our worst performance of the season? Should we be concerned?
What does the future hold for Pablo Hernandez?
Pablo Hernandez was instrumental in our promotion, even with only cameo performances he changed games and led us over the line. With injuries again hampering his start to the season it has been a frustrating return to the Premier League for Hernandez but even at 35 he still has a lot to offer. His substitution against Leicester and reaction to it appears to have caused a rift between the Spaniard and Bielsa, not appearing since either though Bielsa’s selection choice or ‘injury’.
Hernandez returned to the bench against West Ham, yet despite Leeds not breaking down the Hammers defence, not creating any clear opportunities he remained on the bench. To me it felt like the kind of game the craft and vision of Hernandex could have played a big part. He felt like the obvious choice to change things from the bench but again we saw Tyler Roberts instead. What does the furute hold for Pablo Hernandez? Does he still have a part to play or is has his relationship with Marcelo Bielsa gone sour?
Time to change the way we defend set pieces?
West Ham are one of the strongest teams from set-pieces in the Premier League, the stats are there for all to see. It should have come as no surprise to Leeds United, you would have thought they would have trained for such situations in the week ahead of the game. But on Friday night it was two set pieces which West Ham scored from. With our man to man marking are we too vulnerable to individual errors? With a lack of height in defence are we always going to be vulnerable.
One option of course is to change the way we defend at set pieces. Should we move to a more zonal system to prevent invidiously errors leading to goals? Should we deploy free men in the area to attack the ball and clear the danger? It feels like something we must change, you can get away with things in the Championship but in the Premier League teams will exploit and punish weaknesses.