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With Leeds United going down the league table with indecent haste, fingers are getting point on manager Thomas Christiansen and whether he is up to the task of arresting the team’s decline.
As has so often happened with the Whites during a decade-and-a-half of tortuously navigating the lower leagues, early-season optimism has faded to give way to dark clouds.
The Championship side’s defeat at Brentford on Saturday was their sixth in seven league matches, and their seventh from eight across all competitions, to leave them 10th in the table and just four points above 17th.
Prior to the Brentford game, Leed’s chairman Andrea Radrizanni rendered under-fire boss his support in a start contrast to the trigger-happy policy of his erratic former manager Massimo Cellino.
However, the players must also take some share of the blame for a poor run in with only the brilliant Samuel Saiz has maintained high standards.
The Spaniard maestro’s teammates have been nervous, error-prone and unable to deliver the goods when the need has been the greatest.
Christiansen has made some big changes this season, with Pontus Jansson and Felix Wiedwald paying the price for poor form, but now he must go one step further if he is to remain the manager of the club.
Football Weeks had identified three players he must remove from the starting XI for the Championship clash against Middlesbrough immediately after the international break.
Summer signing Andy Lonergan showed a few solid performances after replacing Wiedwald in goal but he not the answer to Leed’s goalkeeper problem. The limited 32-year-old at times looks nervous as a kitten with the ball at his fee and his shot-stopping is not good enough to compensate. In truth, Lonergan is not th perfect option for a promotion-chasing side. It should not be forgotten that Leeds kept six clean sheets in a row with Wiedwald between the sticks and he looks a better option than the former Wolves man. Musical chairs in the keeper role is never a good thing, but the German should be restored to the starting XI.
Luke Ayling has been an ever-present for Leeds this season, starting all 16 of their Championship matches. But no player summarize the decline over the last six weeks more than the 26-year-old and it is high time that the right-back paid for his poor performance. Luke Ayling has got fans wondering what it is that’s wrong with the Mr Consistent who has transformed into Mr Erratic in such a short space of time. Series of questions has been raised among fans, in such that some are pondering whether the generosity of Andrea Radrizzani to Ayling was too god. In conclusion, Ayling needs a time on the bench, and should be replaced by Vurnon Anita against Middlesbrough.
The signing of Ezgjan Alioski was widely regarded as a major coup when Leeds hijacked him from the Swiss league in the summer. The 25-year-old looked like a lively figure on the right flank in his first month and we were all hoping that finally, we have player who could consistently create chances and score goals. However, Alioki has failed to live up that. His statistics are not impressive, even Hadi Sacko-esque, with 14 league appearance starts has scored just two goals two assists. Alioki needs to spend some time on the sidelines and definetly has no business starting against Middlesbrough.