Leeds United suffered a massive blow when they went down to Sheffield United at home. That has opened the race for the direct playoff spots as Sheffield United lead the Whites by one point and occupy the second spot. Both teams would dread finishing in the third spot as that would mean that they need to go through the vigours of a playoff battle.
Therefore the defeat against the Blades had a lot of significance and amidst all this, Pontus Jansson is set to be out for three weeks at least. The defender is not going to join Sweden for international duty, and he is set to miss the upcoming fixture against Millwall.
However, in hindsight, Leeds United fans would be glad about the timing of this injury as they aren’t playing until the 30th of this month and the Swedish defender could be back in contention to start against Birmingham City next month. Gaetano Berardi is currently again available after his long term injury layoff, and he is likely to replace the 28-year-old in the heart of the defence.
Berardi was the first choice centre back when Leeds United started the season, and the former Sampdoria defender shared a good partnership with Liam Cooper. Jansson has done well more often than not. However, there are occasions when he has this rush of blood or moment of rashness which leads to him taking the wrong decision.
Therefore having a more experienced defender at this point of the season isn’t going to be a bad ploy. If Berardi goes on to impress against Millwall, then maybe we might see Bielsa reverting back to the defensive pair of Cooper and him.
The 30-year-old is traditionally a right back but Bielsa preferred him as a centre back because of his ball-carrying abilities and Berardi often used to read the situation well. Jansson on the other hand sometimes looks shaky with the ball at his feet, and so Berardi is more than an able replacement.
To achieve something meaningful, various players need to step up at a different time of the season. It’s time for the Swiss player to make himself counted during the fag end of the campaign and the best part is that he would have more than ten days to prepare for the upcoming game. So the change is not being made in haste, and we think that losing Jansson shouldn’t be that big a blow for the Whites given the timing of the injury and the man who is going to cover for him.
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