Gaetano Berardi returns to training as we look ahead to Palace

08 Feb 2021 08:19 am, by YorkshireSquare

Good Morning. It's Monday 8th February, and her are the latest headlines from Elland Road…

Should Leeds beat Palace this time round?

The result at Selhurst Park was perhaps one of the most disappointing of the season. Let’s be honest, Crystal Palace are a limited side! They currently sit two places behind Leeds in thirteenth on the same points but with a worse goal difference and a game in hand. It could have been a different story had the Video Assistant Referee not punished Patrick Bamford for daring to point where he wanted the ball played before lashing it into the back of Vicente Guaita’s goal, but it was not to be.

But Leeds have moved on since that game back in November, Raphinha has become a regular in the side since then and looks more than at home in the Premier League. Palace may have limped home against Newcastle last week after an early scare, but they lost top scorer Wilfried Zaha with a hamstring in the process. Palace are one dimensional without Zaha, they will try to play on the break like they usually do but, without Zaha, they just don't carry the same threat.

Second time round should Leeds really take all three points against Roy Hodgson’s men?

Gaetano Berardi returns to training!

This season has been bad news injury wise when it comes to the defence all season with Liam Cooper, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente all injured at various stages of the season. But there is some good news, Gaetano Berardi will return to training on Monday after seven months out. The 32-year-old Swiss international has been side-lined following knee surgery having torn his cruciate ligament against Derby in the penultimate game of last season back in July.

It was heart-breaking to see Berardi stretchered off the pitch against Derby having extended his contract to see Leeds over the line despite having no assurances over where he would be playing this season. His ‘side before self’ attitude has always endeared him to the fans and the majority were delighted when the club did the right thing and gave him a contract for this season despite knowing he would miss the majority through injury.

But sentiment aside, does Berardi have anything to offer in the Premier League? Coming back from knee surgery is hard enough without having to adjust to a new league with greater demands.

Are Leeds in danger of becoming too reliant on Raphinha?

The Palace game back in November was the first real look we got at Raphael Dias Belloli, he had amassed fifteen minutes in two previous games but at Loftus Road we got a full forty-five minutes of his Brazilian amazingness in it’s full glory. Signed for what seems like a snip at £17 million this summer he is already becoming a fans favourite, a clear level above in class than most of his teammates, usually most other players on the pitch.

He has great vision, his pace his frightening, his skills outrageous and he has an eye for goal too. In recent weeks a lot of the positive things Leeds have done have gone through Raphinha. Pablo Hernandez, once our talisman, seems to be somewhat forgotten now Raphinha is on the scene. There was concern when he hobbled off against Newcastle but he was fit for Everton and was our best player on the pitch, nearly inspiring an unlikely second half comeback.

But are Leeds in danger of becoming too reliant the Brazilian? The prospect of Leeds United with Costa on the wing rather than Raphinha is a lot less daunting.

View all Showing latest five comments of thirteen...

Leeds1000 wrote on 08 Feb 2021 04:27 pm

Should Leeds beat Palace this time round?

We are all bound to say yes aren't we. :) If only PL football was that easy. We all know our vulnerabilities, unfortunately its not rocket science so every other club does aswell. If we give 2 soft goals away again like we did against Everton we won't beat anyone.
We can't fall into the trap of thinking Palace are a 1 man team even if the stats point heavily towards that being the case. It should fire Palace up to prove people wrong. In saying all that, i think i read somewhere they are without 9 first teamers so hopefully (like Southampton too) we are catching them at a good time for us.

Gaetano Berardi returns to training!

Great to hear Bera is back kicking a football. It was a great move by the club to offer him a limited contract to help him build his fitness back up ready to find a new club in the summer.

Are Leeds in danger of becoming too reliant on Raphinha?

He's a matchwinner no doubt. We have lacked that without Pablo's influence this season. Take him out of the side and for me we are significantly weakened in a attacking sense. There are 10 outfield players on the pitch so we would have to find another way if he wasn't available. Its weird, because of all the new signings Rodrigo is the one i don't mind being missing and he's supposed to be the superstar being valued the most. I'm still not sure what his best position is....Are you?

Irish Ian wrote on 08 Feb 2021 04:22 pm

Ron Swanson wrote: Mon Feb 08, 2021 12:55 pm I don't see Berardi being a realistic option in the Premier League, not after nearly a year off, at his age, with his shortcomings.

I'd give him a farewell, allow him to clatter someone like Grealish, leave an impression (literally) and then walk off into the sunset.

Classic :roflmao:

Smudge3920 wrote on 08 Feb 2021 04:07 pm

A team is a sum total of it's players, when all players working, there are no issue's. When an integral/main player goes down, then the rest of the team have to adapt and work somewhat harder to maintain the balance...also have to have faith in each other and work for each other... look at Citeh... if anyone has relied on a player then Liddypool would fit that bill because without VVD they have dropped off dramaticly, I also think Spurs rely on only 2 parts of their team (Kane & Son)... I could not be prouder of the current squad we have, and how they have kept us mid table...IMO we have been worse for injuries than any other team in the prem, and longer. Even with this squad if we had avoided injuries this year, I honestly believe we would be 3 or 4 places higher up the league...

SaraM wrote on 08 Feb 2021 03:59 pm

1964white wrote: Mon Feb 08, 2021 12:21 pm Replace Raphinha with Costa & you'd soon notice the difference Sara.
Hence the words 'effective' and 'team'. Raphinha carries out his role very well, and fulfils much of the need for creativity, but our system never relies on individuals alone.

As you say, take out any of our effective players, and we are weakened, but I wouldn't call that 'over-reliance'. We are better able to adapt than most when talented individuals are out, as we have seen.

Ron Swanson wrote on 08 Feb 2021 12:55 pm

I don't see Berardi being a realistic option in the Premier League, not after nearly a year off, at his age, with his shortcomings.

I'd give him a farewell, allow him to clatter someone like Grealish, leave an impression (literally) and then walk off into the sunset.

Are we over reliant on Raphinha... not really. He's quickly become our best player, you're bound to give him the ball and let him have a go at the opposition.

I'd be disappointed if we weren't capable of turning Palace over tonight. Whilst we don't have a great deal to play for, out of the cup and securely in mid table, I would like us to push as hard as we can to finish as high up the league as we can.

If we are less generous against the top sides, and have a bit of luck, we have a remote chance of getting into Europe - while that dream remains alive... crack on.

I'm sure Bielsa will be demanding as always, there will doubtless be squad places up for grabs for next year... any slackers could find themselves seeking alternative employment elsewhere.