Leeds United welcomed leaders Leicester City to Elland Road on Saturday following last weekends horror show at Hillsborough. It was a strange build up to a game where part of me was bizarrely confident, I mean last weekends deserved thrashing was surely a one off.
Earlier in the week Brian McDermott announced that Ross McCormack would be taking over the captaincy from Rudolph Austin. The decision centered around Rudy not being able to play his commanding powerful game due to the added responsibility of the role. Ross was originally asked about the captaincy before the season started, so it made sense for our stand out performer of the season so far to have the chance to demonstrate his leadership skills on the pitch.
My obvious fear is the captains curse, one that Leeds are no strangers to. A player who has been finding the net for fun could easily lose this confidence that being captain brings with it. Just look at Alistair Cook in the cricket during this winters tour of Australia. A player who was easily in form after the Summer Tests, saw the teams results suffer which in turn saw his confidence falter. A whitewash saw him question his ability as a captain and now he is keen to rebuild his one day form without the extra pressures that captaincy brings.
In a nutshell I’m frantically hoping that this extra responsibility doesn’t throw Ross off track on what has been quite simply his best season so far at Elland Road. Anyway enough of my worries let’s get back to the Leicester game.
Back in front of the Sky Cameras for the second game in a row, Brian McDermott made a sweeping change to the starting eleven in a bid to shake things up. In came Brown, Lees and Varney in place of Zaliukas, Pugh and the suspended Smith. Both the new signings were in place for their first game at Elland Road, hoping to make an impact after last weeks slow start.
The game started at a frantic pace and Ross was unfortunate to see his glancing header strike the post. Leicester replied and hit our post in the next attack but Leeds were denied by ex player Kasper Schmeichal as Ross found himself one on one with the Danish stopper. Ross tried to chip the out rushing keeper only to see it clawed away. The rebound was cleared away off the line as Lees looked to try and bury the header that looped up to him.
It was clear to see from the first half that Leeds were putting in a performance and that the team were keen to repay Brian McDermott’s faith in them. It was a slightly disappointed feeling not to be ahead at half time, one feeling that was a million miles away last weekend. Brown was buzzing and a couple of hefty late challenges on him could easily have seen a red card. Good old Brown picked himself up each time and carried on.
As the game headed into the later stages it was apparent that one chance was going to seal this battle. Leicester up until now hadn’t tested Paddy Kenny and it was slightly ironic that their first chance would see David Nugent roll the ball in from close range past Kenny. It was extremely harsh on Leeds who had tried their best to win the game against the leaders of the Championship.
Leicester certainly stole the win, passed go and collected £200. I was certainly feeling different emotions from last week and it was great to see a cameo appearance from El Hadj Diouf. Leeds certainly asked a lot of questions of Leicester and they showed why they are the leaders by clinically finishing off their one clear chance.
Leeds stopped the rot and can be extremely proud of their efforts. As I write this the takeover is close to being finalized and Leeds are supposed to be close to signing a third unnamed player. Rumors seem to be naming Leroy Lita from Premiership Swansea. At 29 he is a proven scorer at Championship Level so he would be a good addition.
Let’s hope the visit of Ipswich next will see us get the points as well as another positive performance.