Often Partisan

The Blue Machine Roars on: Leeds review

Here’s my reflections on the Leeds United game at St Andrews last night:

1) Another game, another win

Well, I didn’t think we’d do it beforehand but we pulled off another win to record our sixth on the spin in all competitions. It’s a good one as well, because Leeds looked a decent outfit to me and I think they’ll be there or thereabouts come the end of season. It wasn’t a sensational performance all around, but I think the defence has proved it’s up to the task in hand and if they continue to play like that it will take something special to properly beat them.

2) Boaz Myhill

One player who must be given credit for his outstanding performance is our Welsh-American keeper Myhill. He made two absolutely top drawer saves from Clayton and McCormack at full stretch; both of which he would have seen the ball late. Although his first few starts with Blues were shaky, his confidence has slowly grown and I think he’s showing he’s actually a very decent keeper. I think his confidence is aiding the back four as well, as the defence seems a lot happier in letting Boaz come and deal with the ball.

3) Marlon King

Despite taking absolute dogs abuse from the Leeds faithful, Marlon has continued to show that on the pitch at least he’s a very good player to have at Blues. It’s not only his strength in muscling defenders off the ball and shielding it, it’s his nous – so often he plays sweet little passes to bring in other players, or makes runs to give options to his team mates playing the ball forwards. He was my personal MOTM for his all round play tonight; it was obvious when he went off he was knackered having given his all and I hope he’s got enough in the tank to come out and give the Brighton defence a working-over.

4) Steven Caldwell

I will admit at the start of the season I wasn’t sure about him, but right now I think I love him. His strength, his reading of the game and his tackling mark him out as being a really good defender for us; his burst forwards in the second half to the edge of the Leeds box was the icing on a superb performance that once again showed Caldwell is easily good enough for this division. With Curtis Davies in fairly imperious form next to him, the Leeds forwards were reduced to taking pot shots from outside the area to test Myhill.

5) Nikola Zigic

The big Zig had a bit of a strange one; at times he looked clumsy and ungainly; as Jeff who sits behind me commented, he runs like an ostrich loping across the desert sand – and yet there were times he played such graceful, beautiful balls that they blew your mind. The little dink over the top for Wood in the second half; the flick back to set Wood up to sting Rachubka’s palms – and the goal all point to a player who is definitely a quality above the rest of the division and yet at times he looked a bit out of sorts. And this isn’t even going into the way he throws himself into challenges. All of that aside, I love him in the team because you can see the opposition defences wondering how they’re going to deal with him – and that’s fine by me.

So there we go. Three more points, another few places in the table and another clean sheet all amount up to a happy evening for me. What’s good is that we did it against a team who actually looked half decent and without really breaking out of second gear. The Blue Machine roars on.

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21 Responses to “The Blue Machine Roars on: Leeds review”

  • DARREN says:

    Surprised there was no mention of Spector who i thought had a good game, especially a very strong second half.

  • alexjhurley says:

    I agree re caldwell. M.o.t.m. for me. The thinking man’s kenny Cunningham ! Worry about the middle of the park though. Fahey continnues to demonstrate he’s average and personally I thought spector was poor. Id like to see ndaw in there. Also burke & beau need a rest. Exect redmond to start on sat. Great result, but a slightly mcl*#%@sh esque performance !

  • old blue nose says:

    Spot on Darren,I too would have made Ziggy motm, and he completed ninety minutes, which is a rarity, the pleasing thing for me with this team is the different attacking options that we now possess, and we appear stronger even late into the games just lately. Diversing from the league, i really hope we get a sellout for next Thursday against Bruges , a win will almost cement our place in the knockout stages ,then maybe,just maybe we will get some recognition from the rest of the country.

  • skareggae72 says:

    Amazing how peoples opinions differ.On “another” site Spector was only given a rating of 6 & King a 6 also.
    Personally i would be for the sale of Zigic(£6m?) Ridgewell(£2.5m?) if Chris was given the FULL £8.5m to spend on players of his choice/swap deal Foster for Myhill and Wood.

  • JohnR says:

    Sorry ska CH has as much chance of getting any transfer funds as Blues have of winning the Premier League. Any money coming in will be used to keep the club out of administration.

    To the game, I don’t share this love for Spector neither him or Fahey are creative, they can’t keep the ball, too many passes go astray and they make our mid field very poor. They are the only weak link in the team. I can’t wait to get Mutch back in.

    As OP says the defence were immense restricting Leeds to long range efforts. Myhill is a different player to the one that started the season. How much of this is down to Dave Watson?

    All in all a reasonably comfortable win without us playing anywhere near our best against one of the better teams in the Championship.

    Let’s hope the January transfer window doesn’t spoil it.

  • stokeblue says:

    I totally agree that the defence were immense against leeds and they look like different players from the start of the season, especially caldwell! The major problem we have in the team is the lack of control we have in the centre of midfield, it’s not strong or creative… FAHEY has had his chances and never proven anything for me, I think spector could be okay but I thought was poor last night however he deserves more time. I think we need Beausejour or Elliot in the centre with Gomis or N’daw to provide stability. Overall I’m more than happy with CH and the team as a whole at the moment and I look forward to every game instead of waiting for another BRUCE/MCLEISH BORE DRAW!

    Does anyone know of any possible loan signings we could be getting in?

  • ZuluArmy says:

    I thought King was average at best last night. He does play some great balls but he backs out of challenges too often and looked dead on his feet. His best performance was the first 45 minutes vs Braga. Compared to Jerome he’s good, but he’s not good enough for the PL which makes a mockery of the deal he’s on. MOTM either Zigic or one of Caldwell or Davies.

    The area that concerns me most is the midfield – we didn’t appear to have one last night. We’ve got no one grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and distribution from the middle is poor. I didn’t get to go to Bruges, but I hear that N’Daw played well. Maybe he’ll provide the bite we need.

  • AuldBertie says:

    Have to agree with the comments about Spector who I thought was distinctly average. Also about Fahey whose constant inclusion in the team continues to baffle me. Whole-heartedly agree with alexjhurley as in my view this was the most McLeish-type performance under CH’s reign. I thought Leeds were very average and definitely there for the taking and we sat off them too much and generally paid them too much respect. However, like most fans, I’d have definitely settled for a 1-0 before a ball was kicked. Roll-on saturday and let’s hope the machine keeps on rolling and winning.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Agree re Fahey. But having seen how CH creates different teams out of nothing, always looking to develop the less confident and avoid having favourites, he always makes the whole far better than the sum ot the parts. I think we’re seeing a future England manager in the making, and not a Mclaren or an Erickson either.
    And what about the rapid, precision passing we’re seeing, when for so long it was hoof and chase?
    How much was the board influenced by the fans in choosing him? Us whingeing Bluenoses got it right in calling for CH!

  • AR says:

    I couldn’t agree more about Myhill; he appears to be benefitting from Dave Watson just as Hart & Foster did. He started the season indifferently but now seems to have turned the corner. At the start of the season too I was very unsure of Calderwood, but he also has been much more dominant during the last few games. As for King, he is a class player, better than anyone we had in the position last season. Zigic is Zigic; he gives the opposition a lot to think about, but at times looks like a beginner. However I too am very glad we have him. The negative side of the team for me is central midfield, where we are winning matches despite being totally outplayed in this position. Though I don’t think Fahey is good enough for the Premiership, I expected him to perform better than he is doing. Spector is a full-back & Gomis is not good enough to be as small as he is; he is dominated in the air & too easily brushed aside. The loan player from St.Etienne (whose name I can’t spell) hasn’t had enough time on the pitch for me to form an opinion. All in all, fantastic results which I didn’t think we could achieve without a midfield. I do hope there’s not another fire-sale in January, but the deafening silence from Peter Pannu makes me fear the worst.

  • david jevons says:

    If we can beat the mighty LEEDS with Fahey and Spector in midield then there is know one to fear in this division

  • Boy from Oz says:

    Confidence breeds confidence and I believe the Europa League has provided the team with the nothing to lose games to develop as a team. CH has had no choice but to rotate the squad due to the number of games they have to play, which in turn gives every player what they want, game time.
    The players must be living in each others pockets at the moment so will be becoming more than familiar with each other and as the results show they are obviously getting on quite well.
    Barring serious injury to any of the lads there is no reason why this run cannot continue (with the occasional hic cup of course).
    Some of the comments refer to opinions of players at the start of the season, i.e. Boaz, Caldwell etc, you don’t play professional football if you don’t have the goods, what a lot of players lack is confidence, they don’t lose their skills, just the confidence to use them. Its also one thing to have confidence in your own ability and another thing to have confidence in the rest of the team, which, IMO CH and the coaching team have done a fantastic job.
    I am oozing with envy the opportunity you guys have to watch Blues week in week out, especially this season whist us ex-patriots spend half the night looking for links or following via live text. Thank you so much for your views on what is happening at our club and for your wonderful Brummie humour. I need to sign off now I beginning to feel homesick KRO

  • Masaccio says:

    I put Myhills form down to the great goalkeeper coach we have down the blues, he’s worked wonders over the past few seasons with Hart, Foster and now Boaz

  • ade says:

    In reference to people stating the performance against Leeds was like the mcleish style, I agree, but totally understand. I think it proves CH knows our team inside out and knew we couldnt play free flowing attacking football against a team like Leeds. If we did there was a clear possibility our back 4 would have been out paced by their quick forwards. Someone else stated that they where there for the taking. This is how it looked but only because defensively we where strong, the forwards and attacking midfielders could not get close enough to goal so they where taking pop shots. I guarantee you if CH had decided half way through sod it lets go all attack we would have been hit on the counter numerous times.
    Saying this the massive difference between CH and Mcleish is that CH will only play like this when we face a team that is dangerous. Mcleish just played it no matter what!

  • again I,ve watched and read your vues and it gives me hope that theres is still some intellect
    when reporting to the media , well done again as always( Almajir) keep up the good work and IVE got ginger hair, ? good site love it,.

  • Mark says:

    CH is the main reason why blues are doing very well whether fahey or gomis is playing we are winning…………this is possibly a 22 player team rather than 11 players playing week in week out.
    We may not have favourites, but they are put a shift in and the team on the whole are putting a smile back on the faces of the bluenoses.Just take minute and look across the CITY then lol KRO

  • BeeGeeBlueBoy says:

    I must see what CH sees in Keith Fahey: someone he keeps the ball moving, changes the pace of play, spreads the play and slot some cute through balls. Looking forward to seeing him paired up with Jordon Mutch again. Very promising pairing before the latter’s injury

  • kentucky blue says:

    Another great result and like the boy from oz lm getting homesick. From the feedback i read on sites like this bcfc, bham mail etc i feel like some others that we have a weakness in centra mid, i hope Jordan mutch can help this when fit, but its hard to pick fault when we keep winning, i guess CH knows what he is doing lol kro

  • ScudMuffin says:

    Can’t see all the Fahey bashing at all, he keeps the game flowing well. It’s like the Gomis bashing after Leicester, people were saying he gave the ball away a lot, i watched on the iPlayer and he never gave a ball away once, unless it was a long high one to a forward in the first half that the defenders muscle in on. As it stands there’s three solid players that can do the CM job, Fahey, Gomis and Ewok.

    Spector looked mediocre, he’s a defender in midfield so it’s kind of expected. Wasn’t the worst job, far from the best though. Marlon King always seems to go off clappered, namely because his work rate is so high. He’ll be on the bench come saturday I expect, probably coming on as a sub.

  • BlueInLondon says:

    Myhill and Caldwell are the most improved players in this side since the start of the season. I criticised both early on and am hugely impressed by their recent performances. Another poster already mentioned confidence, and I think that’s spot on. Both Myhill and Caldwell lacked it earlier in the season, but now seem to have it in spades. Caldwell’s forward runs and passes are evidence of this.

    Looking forward to Saturday now. And it’s not often I said that under McLeish.

  • bluenoseneil says:

    What a transformation from last season. The football is exciting to watch, there’s little to no long ball (despite having Ziggy to aim for) and the marauding down the wings by Beausejour and – everyone’s Player Of The Season So Far – Burke. I used to love Larsson but this lad I think gives us another dimension, and he’s already scored more goals than I expected him to.
    Re: the comments on Fahey and Spector. They are utility players and are an integral part of the squad rotational system CH needs, and he’s using them well without either being massively effectual or fan favourites. I think both of them are good Championship level players but they may be ones to leave behind IF we were promoted, but who knows?
    As others have said, we are winning games, playing attacking football and scoring in every game. I wouldn’t have thought we would’ve been saying this 6 months ago!! Villa are welcome to him…lol.
    The next game for me is Brugge and I can’t wait for the Europa League atmosphere and the buzz around St Andrews, which sounds like the Britannia Stadium on the Euroopean matchdays.
    Let’s just hope we continue the run of form and the style of football, and we will up our attendances and get everyone fighting for seats at our hallowed ground.
    29,000 fans a week would be great and at the moment we are value for money nearly every week!! Let’s make Premier League attendances for our (better than last year) Championship side.

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