New Left Winger Option Could Bring Best Out of Leeds United’s Gjanni Alioski – by Rob Atkinson


Pawel Cibicki – new option up front?

At the moment, and despite the unstinting public support he receives from the Elland Road coaching staff, it’s fair to say that Leeds United’s Gjanni Alioski is clinging onto his first team starting spot by the very tips of his fingers. He’s having the sort of season that might normally be expected to make him cast fearful glances at the January transfer window, wondering whether the club might make an astute purchase to give them options in his left-wing berth.

But the fact is that Alioski might well face a more immediate challenge from a player returning to his parent club from a loan spell abroad, in the shape of Pawel Cibicki. The 24 year old Swede has just finished a stint at Norwegian club Molde, making 13 appearances which have yielded 3 goals, a number of assists and a probable increase in confidence for a player whose ability is unquestionable. There are some who feel, or hope that, like Mateusz Klich before him, Cibicki can return to Leeds and thrive under Bielsa where he failed to hack it under previous management. Alioski is coming increasingly under the critical scrutiny of unimpressed fans, though he continues to be an automatic selection, for the moment anyway. But might this just be for the lack, so far, of any realistic competition?

The development squad at Leeds United has come through this season when the first team has looked a bit threadbare in various positions. But wide up front on the left has remained Alioski’s province, apart from the rare occasions when he’s been required to cover (and has possibly looked more effective) at left back.

Cibicki’s return though, unless the club plans to farm him out again, at least provides another option in Alioski’s first team role. It may take a while for the Swedish U-21 international – who has a vocal advocate for his value and ability in compatriot Pontus Jansson – to get up to speed in terms of fitness and the ability to fit into the Marcelo Bielsa pattern. But if he can be seen to be knocking on the door of the first team at Alioski’s expense, that must surely be good for the club. Cibicki could be a handy option off the bench, particularly as he can play as a striker or a winger, while persuading Alioski that it’s now time to buck his ideas up and produce what we all know he’s capable of.

It’s all about options, strength in depth and permutations – but, surely, a player of such undoubted ability suddenly becoming available, and doubtless with a point or two to prove, must be good news for everyone. Except, just possibly, Gjanni Alioski.

15 responses to “New Left Winger Option Could Bring Best Out of Leeds United’s Gjanni Alioski – by Rob Atkinson

  1. For sure! Even though Alioski is “liked a lot” he could do with a kick up the arse and Cibicki could be the boot to provide that kick! …I’ll miss the match tomorrow due to Christmas duties with grandkids (I’m thinking of changing my religion to one less commercialised!) but (whilst Christmas wishes may still come true) I predict Saiz will score the winning goal.


  2. Alioski, 3 goals, 3 assists and a grafter which is why he is liked by the coaching staff. A goal would do him the world of good and get him back playing as he was at the start of the season. Probably worth remembering he had also played during every international break and could be a bit jaded.


    • I think he’s got what it takes, but for whatever reason, he’s not doing what he can. Quite possibly that reason is not being under enough competitive pressure. Which is why I think another wide left attacker breathing down his neck would add that extra edge to his game.


  3. Don’t know about you Rob but I thought Alioski was more effective on the right wing, cutting in on his favoured foot.


  4. Alan Flint

    The trouble with Cibicki is, he’s so skinny!!!! I like his style but can’t help feeling that one strong gust of wind and he’ll end up in the physio room with the rest of ’em 🙂 good to see Izzy and Bamf getting a run out tonight too.


  5. Cibicki was possibly the least successful signings of last year on my opinion. I had high hopes and other than a couple of good free kicks I though he was lightweight and fairly anonymous.
    I suspect he’s not eligible to play until January and who knows under the tutelage of Bielsa he could make it.
    In the meantime do you think that Saiz could start on the left?


    • I hadn’t thought about that – Cibicki’s eligibility, or where to start Saiz. I tend to think of Samu as being at his best when he’s finding and dropping into pockets of space to receive the ball and dictate play. But what do I know? I’m sure Bielsa has things up his sleeve none of us could dream of.


  6. Life is LUFC

    I thought he should have had more of a chance last season, what I saw I thought he did well. I do not think of him being skinny just lean. However Alioski, yes he is a hard worker and runs his socks off in most games but he does not stop to think which should be an automatic reflex for an experienced player, oh and that stupid grin drives me nuts when he knows he has been caught out. He either puts himself off side or commits stupids fouls in very bad areas. There are times I feel a damn good shake up would do him the world of good and being benched for a few games would do it. There are Clark and Harrison that can cover for now and do a good job of it, Clark has made it quite clear he is more than adequate in that position, yes he’s young but he can still be looked after and he wants to have a place in the first team that is quite clear. Come January if Cibicki has come up to scratch in training and a couple of games with the under 23’s he can come in as more competition. That should give Alioski all the shocks he needs.


    • I agree, mostly. Last time out, I thought young Clarke seemed to run out of steam after a short while, though I understand he’d had a run out with the U-23s the day before.


      • Life is LUFC

        Yes he played the day before but it just shows his determination and stamina he has and the hunger to play first team. Side before self was very evident.


  7. Leif Davis is going to be some player down the left,be it as an overlapping full back or as a winger. Alioski is out of position really and if he’s as ineffective as he’s been most of this season against The Blades then Marcelo is to blame. Don’t anybody get their hopes up about Izzy Brown or Bamford by the way. Brown is very average as is Bamford.


  8. At least we have possible options on the wings and Alioski has been subbed at half time in consecutive matches now so, I expect a shake up soon. The centre of defence is and has been problematic due to injuries for most of the season. Cooper went off today, yet we have three clean sheets since the WBA drubbing.
    Whatever questions are asked of an ever changing back four and keeper keep being answered. The spirit in this squad is phenomenal and may just see us through. I still want to see some additions in January mind. MOT.


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