Leeds United Must Beware Potential Baggies Banana Skin – by Rob Atkinson


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Marcelo Bielsa – taking nothing for granted

West Bromwich Albion, one of the pre-season Championship promotion favourites, have been distinctly off-colour lately, sinking to seventh in the table after defeat at Hull City became the latest example of points carelessly dropped by a talented squad that should be doing much better. This miserable run of form has put Leeds United‘s own recent blip into sharp perspective; despite injuries and a number of, shall we say, controversial decisions against them, the Whites have contrived to stay top of an extremely competitive league, and will head to The Hawthorns aiming to consolidate that position.

Yes, the misfiring Baggies have had their own injury worries, but manager Darren Moore will not be looking for any excuses ahead of a mouth-watering clash with Yorkshire’s finest. In point of fact, Moore should be able to welcome back a number of key players ahead of Saturday’s evening kick off, including the prolific (at this level) striker Dwight Gayle, who would certainly need a close eye keeping on him by a Leeds defence slightly unbalanced by the injury absences of Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi. Certainly, more problems can be expected from the Albion attack than the meagre threat posed by Wigan last weekend, and United will need to be wary of what is essentially a wounded and therefore dangerous animal in West Brom.

It’s a classic situation of a team bouncing back to the top of the league after a slightly difficult period, going to visit a team on the crest of a slump. So often, the confidence of the higher-placed outfit turns out to be misplaced as the home side is inspired by the challenge and comes sailing out of the doldrums to win. This is the potential banana skin waiting in the path of the Leeds juggernaut, and club, players and fans alike would do well to be extremely wary of the challenge that faces them on Saturday.

Of course, the world’s best coach isn’t likely to be all wide-eyed and unknowing, and will have his men adequately prepared. Even so, and having witnessed a win at Wigan that was a lot less convincing than it should have been, I have a slightly nervous feeling about this one. Really, a side settling well into the Bielsaball concept should be looking to deal with any and all resistance – but we know that, in the real world of dog eat dog Championship football, it frequently doesn’t work out quite so tidily clear-cut. If Leeds can add a clinical edge to their finishing, and retain the ability to dominate possession, create chances and cover back in numbers, then three points at West Brom is distinctly achievable.

Anything less than that level of performance, though, and we could well slip up on that banana skin. Fingers crossed that, with yet another international break looming, Leeds are ready to sign off this segment of the season with a performance that ticks all the necessary boxes. 

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20 responses to “Leeds United Must Beware Potential Baggies Banana Skin – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Life is LUFC

    In the games since the last break I have felt quite frustrated when the Leeds players are in place to score and then miss be it by a mile or a millimetre.
    However given how the games are going with all the teams this season there is still no clear team drawing away at the top being all bunched up and just a few points from each other at the top and eighth place.
    It’s a tough league normally but this year it seems to be even tougher. You win against the best performing team but loose against a team that is not quite performing so well. It’s a bit topsy/turvy.
    This year I am going match by match and not even thinking about where this could end. Each player is doing the best he can, some try too hard and make mistakes in doing so but no one be they players, coach, owner or fan is perfect. Hindsight and all that makes us all think we know best. So I cheer them on to do the best they can and applaud them at the end of each game for doing so.
    The support is the main driver for all. So carry on with positive support you fans and coaching team and players beware of the banana skins . MOT, WAL.

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  2. worried about this one rob, especially Gayle who seems to relish playing against us.. but they are there for the taking at the back and so i hope roofe continues his good form, fingers crossed

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  3. Reality Cheque

    This isn’t merely a banana skin challenge Rob, WBA with all their fit again stars represent a fruit bowl full of talent and potential threats. I suspect that it will boil down to which outfit defends best between two attack minded teams.
    We do have to be much more clinical and convert our chances much more effectively than of late but with Pablo and Roofe now settled back into the team to add to the threat posed by Klich and Alioki we will give their underperforming, shaky defence plenty of worries in the way that our early season form blew away the likes of Stoke, Derby and Norwich.
    Once again we play later than the rest of our most serious rivals, in order to earn our £10k from LUTV’s subsidiary broadcaster, thus providing the added pressure of playing catch up to retain top spot ahead of the final international break of the year.
    Personally, I am much more positive about our prospects having finally accepted that I am not dreaming and that Bielsa HAS INDEED transformed last seasons squad into a very effective, resolute, athletic and confident “team”. Seriously Rob, what is there to doubt or worry about, get down to your reputable bookies asap. ALAW

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  4. Steve Bowles

    Totally agree Rob. Baggies are still my favourites to win the league and Dwight Gale is a particular thorn in our side. So. All that said, if we can keep him quiet we can put a real marker down. Especially as the final international break looms. Come on Leeds. Mot.

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  5. WBA top scorers at home vs LEEDS top scorers away. The betting man in me says high scoring draw(which I would take). Gayle is a proper nuisance and goes to ground quicker than a hounded fox.
    I’m a bit apprehensive as well but Leeds have goals in them also. So let’s send out a positive vibe 3-2 to Leeds, Clarke to nab the winner.
    MOT.

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  6. Rob, we all have jitters ahead of games, even when Leeds is playing well. When we don’t have a full complement of players, your invitation to speculate about a possible ‘banana skin’ slip encourages a focus on our perceived weaknesses: e.g. do we have the defenders to cope with Dwight Gale? This puts Stuart Dallas in the firing line – can a natural winger play a defensive role? I’m pretty sure Marcelo Bielsa has taken these considerations into account in his game plan. Bielsa’s basic tenet, that football is about emotion, will come into play. When supporters express their emotions as worry and dread, and opine about the competence of individual players, negativity wins. Let’s not let it. Let us march on together! You’ll get as many ‘hits’ on your blog by being positive as you will by being negative – probably ( – ;

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    • It’s a matter of fact that the more confident I sound, the more hits I get. But, for me, this blog is at least in part where I get to “worry out loud”. There’s also an element of attempting some reverse psychology with divine providence. I’m superstitious enough to go with whichever approach coincided with our last great result 👍

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  7. This will be a massive test against the leagues top scorers with Dwight Gale back from injury.
    Can’t see Marcelo being remotely complacent or in any way compromising his attacking philosophy so we could be in for a high scoring game and perhaps we can nick a 5 goal thriller by one with a 94th minute penalty.

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  8. I would rephrase the title of this post- its a potential banana skin for west brom. I think we will beat them although I am running out of patience with our little left winger. I don’t know what’s gone wrong there as he has the ability,but a lot of the time we seem to be playing with ten men and giving Alioski a piggy back. A prolific striker is a must too as Roofe to me is a Rod Wallace type of forward who plays better in a two pronged attack. He’ll get goals but not enough. Anyway,its high time we pagga’d someone so let it be west brom tomorrow.

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  9. Spot on Rob. Banana skins aplenty I feel.
    If we can get through the first 20 minutes without giving away a stupid goal, as we are prone to do, then I think we are in with a shout.
    But to me it’s a big ‘if’ with Gayle likely to be playing. Maybe I’m being overly cautious and shouldn’t worry but that defence of ours does seem to have it’s mad moments still.
    But then so does the Baggies so I’ll be happy with a point in this one. Although a cheeky Hernandez back heel for the winner would be nice. Or dare I say a penalty….

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  10. Worrying display rob … We are now exposed down our right hand side, same thing happened the last time Ayling was on long term injury.. holes have appererd and the rest of the championship front runners will now be looking forward to doing a west brom on us

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    • It was a strange game, I thought we did ok for most of it, and in the end it was individual mistakes that exaggerated the score line in the home side’s favour. But West Brom were excellent and deserved to win. I agree Ayling is a big miss, but I believe we have the resources to make do until he’s back, not that we have any other choice. Perhaps young Shackleton might seize his chance?

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  11. I liked the look of Shackleton when he got an assist at Swansea. Getting turned over by a decent team like the baggies who can score for fun doesn’t bother me over much. Leeds have looked shaken at the back a few times this season but I’ll take that as we have so much attacking intent.
    Can’t wait to see the Wayne Rooney testimonial game though. Should be riveting! MOT

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