Leeds United were unfortunate not to qualify for Championship playoffs last season and Garry Monk’s quitting as the Peacocks boss made things look extremely inauspicious for this historic West Yorkshire outfit ahead of the 2017-18 campaign. Thomas Christiansen, the former APOEL boss, was an unanticipated appointment as Monk’s successor and the departure of hitman Chris Wood was thought to be a massive blow in their chase for a Premier League return.
Surprisingly, Leeds had a blistering inception of the new campaign and were top of the league tally until gameweek 9. Christiansen’s men had only one defeat in first 9 league outings and became promotion favourites defying odds. But a sudden meltdown has now ruined their good work as the Whites have slipped down to the 10 spot of the league table. They have suffered six defeats in last seven league games which left Christiansen completely clueless ahead of the ongoing international break. Some of their results have been extremely disappointing and the squad is unusually shallow and lacking quality, creativity as well as purpose compared to their Championship counterparts.
“All these situations will be hard, more pressure. If we lose next game then more pressure than today. This is the business of football. We all know how it is.”
Stated the Leeds boss following their 3-1 defeat to Brentford prior to the international break. Club owner Andrea Radrizzani backed him for the job despite a defeat against Derby County but the gaffer is now uncertain about his future and although he will be in charge for Leeds’ home outing against Monk’s Middlesbrough, a defeat to his predecessor might draw an end to his short-lived realm at Championship football. The Peacocks’ have a tough ride ahead as they will travel next to Molineux Stadium to hunt the Wolves who are currently top of the league table and have been ruthless against their opponents.
Pressure is piling on the 44-year-old Dane who needs to turn things around when the season will resume next weekend. The likes of Kalvin Phillips, Samuel Saiz, Kemar Roofe, Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Ezgjan Alioski had moments of excellence but failed to perform consistently and step up in later weeks.
Lasogga, particularly, was thought to be a like-for-like replacement for Chris Wood in front of goal but the former Germany youth international has not been good enough so far despite a sensational debut whereas veteran Pablo Hernandez has failed to orchestrate the game in their final third. Christiansen has not succeeded to implement a ‘Plan B’ and his tactical moves, substitutions, formation, and game-plan have been pretty formulaic that has now been decoded by rival managers.
The defence has let him down time and again. Andy Lonergan, Luke Ayling, Matthew Pennington, Pontus Jansson – the backline has been erroneous and cost them big on crucial occasions. The boss needs to sort out his defensive woes and the midfield requires creativity and discipline as well. The historic English club’s return to top-tier will hit a massive setback if they fail to achieve it next year and the current state is extremely uncertain considering their recent run.
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