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Lots of interesting stuff from Rich W, have to agree with most of what you say. Bakke tried bloody hard and depite what we both said about Okon, the team fell apart when Johnson replaced him.
Also agree about Kewell, a must up front, it is just a question of who is his best partner. In Bridges' absence (will we ever see him again?) I think Viduka is the right man. Both have had decent scoring records in the past. Kewell has pace and ability to beat people. I'd still like to see him lay the ball off earlier and run like f*** for a return ball at times. Viduka is OK in the air and a great target to feet. I don't think Leeds will be good enough to play without a 'big man' for some time to come.
The other thing I really disagree about is Smithy. It is probably heresy I know, but I don't think he's ever gonna be quite good enough up front. He is not big enough and gets frustrated when asked to play the Viduka role with 2 big centre backs up his arse all day, and Leeds aren't good enough now to play it through the midfield as much as they used to. If you play him with Viduka, then there is no threat over the top.
Perhaps Bridges and Smith would eventually work. It wasn't very successful before, but they were both very young then.
Conversely I think Smith has it in him to become a midfielder in the Bowyer mould. He is already the best right midfielder in the club. I wouldn't pick Barmby, Kelly or Milner ahead of him. He protects the full back quite well, gets into the box and puts in a lot of mileage. Must admit that he won't get past the full back too often though.
Finally some scores/comments
Robinson 6 Some good saves, a couple of pats out, let in 3, but not much chance with any.
Won't bother with subs scores, as I can't remember either one getting in the game.
Interesting that we went back to 4-3-3 after Milner replaced Viduka. Couldn't see that from the telly, it all just looked like a bit of a mess for the last 12 mins.
I suppose with the current team selection that Tel seems to be sticking to - win , lose or draw then this is about as good as it gets. 4-4-2 is much better. It gives Wilcox much more room on the left and also lets him cover (sometimes pretty ineffectively) for Lucic and gives Viduka some much needed help through Kewell's pace down the middle. I thought the effort and commitment shown from EVERY player last night was outstanding and I was gutted that they didn't get anything out of it. Having said that I thought we were second best in the quality stakes for much of the night. I couldn't believe that we went in at half time 1-0 up but for a lot of the second half I thought we outbattled them and unsettled them. It was only a matter of time though.
Viduka and Kewell up front. 100 times better than the Christmas tree with Viduka on his own and Kewell on the left and Smith on the right. They helped each other and as a result Kewell scored a real STRIKER'S goal. Nobody else in our team could have scored that goal. A real luxury up front soembody said. Yes he is a luxury and one we should get used to. That's his 10th goal and don't forget he has missed games and also been asked to play on the left for lots of games. Put Kewell up front week in week out and he'll score more like that. When people say he's not a goalscorer well he has to get used to playing there. Stop f'cking around with him Tel.
Viduka - with help he actually had a couple of half decent efforts on goal and won a few headers , one of them leading to the goal. For me though, he is too stationary and doesn't have the pace to trouble the defence. He relies on the ball to his feet and that is not enough in todays premier league.
Midfield. We know it's limited but last night I thought we got the best out of it that we could. Bakke's effort was immense. He blocked, harried, tackled and cleared up on numerous occassions. You all know what I think of him as a player but credit where credit is due this was a good battling performance. All 4 midfielders protected the back line excellently. Okon did is usual job and Wilcox and Smith got stuck in. We battled for every ball.
Creativity from midfield - 0/10. Same old problem. Bakke and Okon just blocked things. Wilcox tried to get things moving but just ended up scrapping for balls like the other two and Smith had a poor game playing out of position. This was my only real negative about this performance. Smith is not a right winger. He doesn't fit in this position. If you're gonna play him in midfield surely centrally is best. Hopefully he'll get his chance in the next month alongside Kewell and Milner will step in. Sounds better already doesn't it !
I thought the defence were excellent. Lucic did ok but again he is so out of postion it is untrue. Shame for Matteo but was the hell was he doing - Robinson did a good job also.
When Okon went off to be replaced by Johnson the system started to crumble. Johnson is not match fit. He needs games.
Tactics - As I said 4-4-2 is so much better but as soon as Viduka goes off and Milner comes on , Tel goes to his christmas tree with Kewell on the left , Milner on the right and Smith up front. Needless to say we didn't do much in the last 15 minutes.
I still don't believe Tel reaklly knows what he is doing or trying to achieve. Havign said that he's not got a lot to play with now and of we got a few injuries it makes you wonder what sort of team we'd be putting out. Still hope for Mcphail yet.
Fowler to City today. Let's hope so for Woody's sake.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 29/01/2003.
Frank Lampard led a spirited revival for Chelsea here last night after Leeds twice led against the run of play.
It was Leeds who had ended the Blues' good run of form the Saturday after Christmas when they inflicted a 2-0 defeat at Elland Road and Claudio Ranieri's team showed they were determined to exact what the manager had described as "sporting revenge" on Terry Venables' team.
The midfielder rifled in an 80th-minute equaliser after the substitute Boudewijn Zenden had somehow managed to pull back a cross right on the goalline. Then forced the winner three minutes later when his left-foot shot across the face of goal was deflected in by the Leeds captain Dominic Matteo.