Another derby day defeat, another three goals conceded, this time against a team shorn of their top scorer due to suspension. There were some crumbs of comfort: Matt Smith scored again, and could prove to be a handful for Championship defences as the season goes on. Dexter Blackstock came on from the bench for his United debut, and he scored too, which is a great way to start with a new club. We probably should have had a penalty, we scored one of their goals for them – and last but not least, we’ve signed an international central defender who captained Hearts to a Scottish Cup win.
Marius Zaliukas has been without a club since the summer, but played for his country only last week. He was wanted by ‘Arry at QPR and nobody has had anything worse to say about the lad than that he’s got a bit of a temper on him. At 29, he’s in his prime as a defender, and we’ve got him initially till the end of the season. Yay.
It’s looking likely that Marius will have an active role to play at Elland Road sooner rather than later. Our defence didn’t look exactly comfortable at times in the second half against Birmingham, even though we recorded a clean sheet in a 4-0 win. Three at the back, if that’s how we’re to continue, will demand a decent pool of centre backs to allow for inconveniences such as suspensions and injuries. It seems that Messrs Pearce and Lees were culpable in at least two of the three we let in from our chip-on-the-shoulder bearing neighbours down the road, so maybe an injection of international know-how and experience is just what the doctor ordered.
From all accounts, the boy might be a tiny bit aggressive, but again that’s more virtue than vice down Elland Road way. Since the days of Norman the Great – in fact tracing our illustrious club’s history back as far as Wilf Copping – we’ve always appreciated a lad who understands the tactical subtleties of “getting stuck in” and “getting rid”. Marius Zaliukas sounds like he might be just our cup of Yorkshire Tea and it goes without saying that we wish him well.
If we can get the defence sorted out, and if we can convert a few more of the chances that we again created in reasonably great number today, maybe things can still look up in time for this season to mean something. Well, anyway, that’s the positive spin on another disappointing day for Leeds United Football Club and its devoted army of fans.
It’s Yeovil next, and they beat Forest today. Bring it on.