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Oblivion? – Leeds Match Reflections
Here are my reflections on the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay between Blues and Leeds United.
A Really Poor Performance
Regular readers will know that I try to be positive but once again it’s incredibly hard to be so. It wasn’t just the fact that we lost – we lost to a team that were pretty shocking themselves. We contrived to beat ourselves really – it was as if the players didn’t fancy Spurs in the next round and were trying their best to gift Leeds opportunities and breaks forwards.
It doesn’t help when the manager picks the wrong team and the wrong formation. You’ve got a bloke, fully fit, who scored five times against Leeds last year who they’re terrified of. So what does Clark do – leaves him on the bench until it’s too late for Zigic to affect the game. Even so, we could have been okay with the team that was picked – but again, Clark opted for Redmond off the front man leaving us with the lightest midfield combination ever of Gomis and Morrison and they got taken apart. Playing Redmond wide left with Gomis just behind, like a 4-1-4-1 or even a 4-5-1 would have given Blues an extra man in the middle and maybe a bit more bite but instead Clark contrived a formation that meant Blues struggled to get the ball and struggled to hold on to it.
I know that there has been a lot of clamour for Morgaro Gomis to play but on this performance you can see why he hasn’t been – he was bundled off the ball continually, he couldn’t win it, couldn’t pass it and Morrison next to him wasn’t at the races at all. It didn’t help that Blues didn’t have a single other central midfielder they could have picked without dipping into the Academy but still – it was powderpuff. They weren’t helped by Chris Burke playing on the right in what looked like ice skates because he kept falling over and Wade Elliott on the left who contrived to give the ball away continually because like Derek Zoolander, he can’t turn left. Giving the ball away with one silly backheel is bad, to do it twice in quick succession is just rank bad playing.
The only player who started who came out with any credit for me is Paul Caddis – he looked like a proper full back and it was his tenacity to clear the ball rather than let it bobble out for a throw that started the move for the Blues goal. Curtis Davies was struggling all night with the Leeds front line whilst I have to agree with my good friend Jim who reckons Caldwell should be fined for every pass he tries to make over five yards – the Scot kept needlessly hoofing the ball into touch when a simple pass would have been the better option.
I’m not going to blame the defeat on the ref – Blues lost it without his help – but I have to pass comment because he was abject. Fussy on the wrong things, missed too many bad challenges and allowed birthday boy El Hadji Diouf to boss him around. Mr Woolmer doesn’t often ref games above League One and it showed today.
All in all it’s another game that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and another game where I felt like I’ve wasted my time and money on something that is just making me unhappy. Like a good masochist, I’ll be back there on Saturday (as well as Friday for the FA Youth Cup and Monday for the reserves) but when I hear people around me saying that they’ve had enough I can really understand why. At half time the Blues TV crew played a song I requested on twitter and I think it sums up where Blues are going – Oblivion. Or League One at least.