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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Leeds Utd v Port Vale. League Cup 1st Round 9th Aug 2017.

I'm not sure I can get used to the new football club that Leeds United have become. Suddenly we're signing good players on good contracts and good young players on similar contracts. If we're not careful it will start to look as if we're putting together a long term plan for the club something that hasn't happened for years. Excellent work Mr Radrizzani. So with the news of Berardi's new contract and the arrival of Borthwick-Jackson to bolster the defence fresh in my thoughts I made the dash from work to Elland Road full of optimism for the League Cup clash with Port Vale.

The sun was dazzling as I took my seat in the East stand to digest a team with 9 changes from Saturday. Borthwick-Jackson, Ayling, Shaughnessy and Anita made up the back four with Klich and Vieira holding midfield and Dallas and Sacko out wide. Ekuban replaced Wood up top. Still a strong line up against a Port Vale side with ex Leeds players Tonge and Pugh in and managed by Michael Brown. 15,000 fans had made it for the game with a healthy, boisterous away support among them.

Leeds were into top gear from the off pinging the ball about with ease as the early attacks featured the left flank where Dallas and Borthwick-Jackson soon linking up as if they'd played together all their lives. It was no surprise when Leeds took the lead on 12 minutes. Dallas beat his man and hit a teasing cross to the back post that came off the bar back into the box. The little pocket battleship, Saiz, calmly controlled the ball and smashed the ball into the net with contempt. 1.0 Leeds. Mint. Leeds then went into cruise control with Saiz orchestrating a Spanish masterclass of sublime moves that had Port Vale chasing shadows ably supported by Vieira, Klich, Dallas and the overlapping full backs. Leeds were purring and were oozing class. Just when I was beginning to think this was going to be a landslide for the home side Michael Tonge popped up to punish some woeful defending to equalise for the League 2 side. 1.1. Mmmmmm.

The goal knocked Leeds off their stride and Michael Brown's side "robust" approach started to send danger signals to the hard core home fans in the stands. Surely we can't throw this away after totally dominating the game up to now? Half time came with the scores still level. A chance for TC to regroup his side. Leeds started the second period with a bit more urgency and started to gain control again but with Sacko playing with what seems a lack of confidence some of the momentum was lost. Time for substitutions. Bridcutt replaced Klich and Alioski came on for Sacko. Within minutes the whole tone of the game changed. While Sacko looked as sharp as a blunt butter knife Alioski looked as sharp as a gleaming rapier. Elland Road came alive. Now the ball was zipping between players as the Leeds attacking machine tore the Vale resistance to shreds. At the centre of all the magic was the Spaniard Saiz. He helped himself to two goals in a minute after glorious, sweeping play opened up the Vale defence to give Leeds a 3.1 lead. The speed at which Leeds broke and passed the ball between players was quite frankly obscene. I was in football heaven and there was still 25 minutes to go.

Alioski was having a ball down the right flank as he tormented the poor Vale full back time and time again. By now Saiz was untouchable despite Port Vale's crude attempts to stop him playing. This was football we have yearned for for years and I know it was only Port Vale but it almost brought a tear to my eye! Ekuban got the 4th goal after another dazzling move from Alioski and Saiz. Port Vale were still trying to kick anything that moved.............. a bit like Michael Brown would do! When Alioski teased Gunning he just kicked him earning a 2nd yellow and an early bath. Leeds saw out the game in style to run out easy winners 4.1.

Saiz was simply stunning. His touch, movement and vision was a pleasure to watch. Vieira, Dallas, Anita, Borthwick-Jackson, Shaughnessy were outstanding whilst Alioski was a revelation when he came on. Ekuban looked nervous initially but came more into the game in the 2nd half and took his goal really well. Sacko is just not at the races. TC's selection for Saturday will be difficult.

So 7 goals in 2 games and 5 of them from midfielders has opened the eyes of Leeds fans. TC's style is pleasing to the eye going forward and although still shaky at the back with Jansson back on Saturday things are looking rosy for the mighty whites. Special mention for young Shaughnessy. He had a really solid game at the back. Good times are coming back to Elland Road and it feels great.

Preston North End on Saturday.....................

Can't wait.



Unknown said...

Hi, Bro, no urinal philosophers At half time? Great Victory! MOT!

Andrew Butterwick said...

Well spotted. Different stand not so many philosophers!

Dave said...

The good times are back MOT!

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