Leeds United remain unbeaten in the Championship and would go into the international break at the top of the table. The start has been impressive given the fact that they have already faced quite a few of the playoff contenders in Stoke City, Derby County, Swansea City and Middlesbrough. The run of fixtures would definitely ease out in the future but are the Whites going in with the right personnel in the backline?
Does Bielsa Have The Right Centre-half Pairing?
Marcelo Bielsa started the season with the centre-back pairing of Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi in the absence of Pontus Jansson as he was still not hundred per cent after arriving from the World Cup late. Cooper might be the captain of the side, but there have been questions against him more often than not, and the opinion of the fans on him is divided. Now that Jansson is fit and available and Berardi has done well in the centre back position, should Cooper warrant a place in the starting eleven? We try to answer that.
Question Should Be Who Would Partner Jansson Instead Of Benching The Swedish Defender
The 26-year-old defender has been with the Whites since 2014 and has made over 120 appearances for them. We believe that with the kind of performances Berardi has shown, he should definitely start at the back. The Whites defence before the season began was always about who is going to partner Pontus Jansson so one shouldn’t possibly think of keeping the Swedish international out of the starting lineup now that he is back to full fitness. But that is what Bielsa did against Middlesbrough when he went in with Cooper in the heart of the defence.
Cooper Is Simply Not Good Enough!
The Englishman looked shaky quite a few times and gave away the ball cheaply when the Whites wanted to build from the back. It is clear that he is not the most comfortable when he is on the ball. He also has a tendency to go in for rash challenges and often in his duels with attackers, he concentrates more on the man and not on the ball. In our opinion, he is an accident waiting to happen and there could be games where he might concede a poor penalty or hit a missed pass which can cost the team a goal.
Jansson joined the squad late so he wasn’t part of Bielsa’s full preseason campaign. The defender has struggled with fitness and back issues but now we believe it is time for the manager to draft the Swede international into the team. Jansson is relatively calm and composed on the ball and reads the situations well. Now that he has been part of the squad for some time now, it is time for Bielsa to incorporate him into the first team.
Berardi and Jansson seem to be a more formidable partnership to us at the moment and if things don’t pan out well, then Bielsa can definitely go back to Cooper.