Pontus the Impassable Can Be the Leeds United Season Saviour – by Rob Atkinson

Football - EFL Cup - 2nd Round - Luton Town v Leeds United

Pontus Jansson – new United hero

Pontus Sven Gustav Jansson has made the kind of start to his Leeds United career that has you taking out and polishing a few superlatives, safe in the knowledge they’ll be well-used over the course of this season – if the giant Swedish international can maintain the form he’s shown so far. Jansson has brought a hitherto unknown solidity to the United back line these past couple of games, helped in no small part, it must be said, by the efforts of Kyle Bartley alongside him. But today, at Cardiff City, Jansson was the stand-out performer by a country mile, with headed clearances, last-ditch tackles, interceptions – you name it, Pontus accomplished it with consummate skill, utter commitment and precious little regard for his own safety.

A presence such as Jansson’s in defence will gradually spread confidence throughout the whole team, that growing assurance of any ball heading towards our area being summarily dealt with. It’s the sort of security that can and will reap its rewards further forward – a tighter defence will, ultimately, give the midfield less to worry about behind them, enabling a more positive influence in attack. Pontus Jansson, in a very real sense, is the foundation upon which the rest of Leeds United’s play can be built.

Cardiff started out in resolute fashion after a dismal midweek defeat at Preston. Early on, they looked determined to exorcise that ghost, at the expense of a Leeds side fresh from a narrow victory over lowly Blackburn. But, as the game wore on, and despite various alarms arising out of the odd goalmouth scramble with Rob Green still looking less than settled, it became clear that, wherever Cardiff put the ball in and around Leeds’ defensive third, there would be Jansson to clear it. When he wasn’t clearing it, he was nipping in to steal possession, or sliding in to cut out possible half-chances. He was like a magnet for the ball – and you could see the Cardiff players wondering what they’d have to do to carve out anything approaching a clear cut chance, with this colossus marshaling things for the Whites.

So, as the story continued of Cardiff pressure being rebuffed by determined United resistance, the tide slowly turned. When Leeds were denied a penalty for holding in the area, manager Garry Monk was outraged – but, within a minute, a similar offence was punished with a spot-kick, calmly converted by Chris Wood. And then the pattern resumed of Cardiff banging their collective head hopelessly against the brick wall that is Pontus Jansson. The more they hammered it forward, the more he headed it away, and his proclamation as the latest Leeds legend is surely only a matter of time. Cardiff City, for sure, will be sick of the sight of him. It was difficult to argue with the impression that the Bluebirds could have pecked away at Leeds until the White Cliffs of Dover crumbled into the sea – and still, they wouldn’t have scored. When Pablo Hernandez, once more somewhat peripheral to the action, applied a truly world-class coup de grâce, bending a fine shot in off the far post, it was no more than a merciful release for the home side, put out of their misery at last.

It was that kind of day for Leeds United, one that could have gone against them had they not found a reliable hero to repel all attacks. Pontus Jansson was that man and he was just in that kind of mood where he wasn’t going to be beaten. It was an attitude that, in due course, inspired the whole team to raise their performance levels. Long may that continue, and may our Pontus have many, many more such days in the famous white shirt. He really does seem to be the real deal, with an attitude redolent of Elland Road‘s great days. He also seems to be an engaging sort of guy who “gets” what Leeds United is all about. A swift perusal of his post-match tweets is ample confirmation of that.

A Leeds United hero? It does seem quite possible. We’ll just have to hope that, if and when he pens a permanent deal, it isn’t the ruination of him as it has been for various of his predecessors. But that’s to be needlessly pessimistic. A 2-0 win at Cardiff, giving us back-to-back victories, should be cause for looking on the bright side. And with that in mind, this blog is ready to hail Pontus Jansson as the latest entry in the Leeds United pantheon of legends.  Well played, son – now, keep it up.

13 responses to “Pontus the Impassable Can Be the Leeds United Season Saviour – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Fletch Lives

    Bamba had a good few months year before last but he didnt arrive with the kind of plaudits that Jansson did, not only were Torino fans unhappy to see him go, a number of swedish jeornalists stated that he would become a Leeds hero and was above championship level quality. Hes so far proven that to be true……………im just nervous about cheapalino opting out of signing him for 3.5 million and instead looking for some less expensive

    Sacko and Bartley should both be signed up too.

    Its in central midfeild and attack where we are still a bit lacking……Okane seems tidy but will he be the driving midfeilder we truly need ?

    No 10 is vital if we are playing with 1 striker and despite his goal there are question marks over Hernandez, id like to see Roofe tried there


  2. patrick hogan

    Hopefully he’s a bridge too far for the opposition attack eh Rob? Sorry.


  3. Scally Lad

    Pontus may be a great help to us, but I am more concerned that our two successes this season have come against the bottom two sides in the League. Can we perform like this – whoever’s on the pitch – against the leaders? My hopes are high, but the verdict is still out.


  4. Hate to say it (commentator’s curse) but I reckon the display by our back four today was as promising as any we’ve had in the last twenty years. To not have to watch dithering defending at every set piece was an absolute pleasure. Jansson attacked everything that moved (ball or man) and I loved the feeling of confidence that we’d got finally players who could handle whatever was thrown at them. Can’t understand how Torino let him go.


  5. Janssen was immense, and the rest of the back four deserved credit for a good performance. Even Green (and you know how little l rate him) actually came for two crosses. He came for more but was hopelessly stranded and caused problems which could have led to goals.
    Generally an all round good performance, Sacko had some great touches but a little quieter than in previous game. Vierra for someone with so little experience has great vision, and threaded some superb through balls. My one worry about today’s team was Hernandes, obviously talented but a bit lightweight and easily brushed aside. He scored a very good goal, but squandered a superb opportunity by weakly shooting himself when a 5 yard square ball would have left Wood with an open goal. I fear he may be a luxury we cannot afford. We need 11 players not 10.5


  6. Reality Cheque

    It is very early days Rob, but he has really hit the ground running and is putting his strengths, assurance and experience to very good use to resolve our historically shaky and dithering defence. He is indeed a leader and organiser with the ability to lead by example and breed confidence throughout the defence.

    Early days indeed Rob and sterner tests will undoubtedly arise in this league but he just appears to thrive on the challenge.

    Personally, I am a big fan of any team captain being at the heart of the defence and is brave, strong, vocal, able to organise with a natural ability to read the game and anticipate the opposition’s threats. So watch this space Rob, I think our current captain is a decent make weight, but didn’t Garry initially elect Bamba, (a centre back), before Bridcutt was re-recruited?


  7. Jackie Charlton reborn, that is Pontus Jansson.


  8. We saw his passion when he revved up the Kop, something that has been missing in our team for years.


  9. Johnny Bangkok

    And his nickname shall be Gandalf


  10. I think ( and you’ll hate me for saying it) that he’s one of the reasons cellino was so confidant that we would be a top six side this season… yesterdays game went a long way to calm the nerves of everyone concerned with Leeds United.. now let’s all get 100% behind them.. WE can do this ladies and gents MOT


    • No, I actually agree with that, Mr. O. And despite my conviction that we need Cellino out, the last thing I want is to have to pay the price of Leeds doing badly. So I’m behind the club, 100% – I just want it to have a decent owner.


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