Lone Striker – Argument Over

The week leading up to Saturday’s game had seen a bit of a cyberbattle between two Leeds United based websites The Scratching Shed(TSS) and Clarke One Nil(CON) over the merits of our two strikers Davide Somma and Luciano Becchio. TSS posted a blog stating that Becchio was not worth his place in the team and that Somma should take his place. CON countered that argument stating that Becchio was undoubtedly the man, particularly in our favoured system now of one up top.

Now, not just because I write for the website, I agreed with CON, that Somma was not suitable for that role, but would have argued that given Becchios relatively poor form in the last couple of games, that the Argentinian may also not be the man to fulfil the role, particularly now Billy Paynter has returned to fitness.

Simon Grayson in all probabillty knew nothing about the debate , but Saturdays game against Bristol City has certainly ended the argument. It was a big surprise that Somma was handed the lone strikers role from the start, as Leeds continued with the 4-5-1 formation of recent weeks. Bradley Johnson’s role was tinkered with, allowing him a bit more freedom rather than just sitting, and he responded with an improved display.

Just as the midfield started to function properly, we had a poor performance up top. Somma quite clearly showed he is not yet ready for a lone strikers role. Playing on the shoulder of the last defender is fine, if you stay the right side of the offside line. He was caught out far too often. His hold up play was non existent, and his attempts in arieal challenges were Beckfordesque (in fact when Jermaine was so half hearted, he used to get dog’s abuse).

As Leeds were struggled to make an impact in the final third, the atmosphere was morgue like. I’m not sure whether its because I have been to more away games this season but ER has been as quiet as I have ever known. Hull out shouted us on Tuesday, and again Bristol were far the noisier on Saturday.

That was until the hour mark. The introduction of Becchio roused the crowd, and the roof blew off just 2 minutes later as Becchio got in position to challenge for a header, and buried it past David James.

We immediately shot ourselves in the foot again, as McCartney fell over and Stead nipped in at the near post to tuck past Schmeical. Kasper had taken to wearing a long sleeved shirt as he is massively under employed at the moment and its getting a bit nippy. I honestly don’t recall him doing anything but pick the ball out of the net in the last two games.

Leeds though seem to believe in themselves now, and roared on by a suddenly animated crowd immediately retook the lead. Lloyd Sam had replaced Gradel and it was his shot from the edge of the box that was parried to Becchio, who tucked the rebound under James.

Becchio completed his hat-trick with 10 to go to cement the win with another header. It killed off City and the win saw us climb to the dizzy heights of 5th. With players coming back to fitness the squad is now at its strongest. 4 points from the two home games though was our minimum requirement. We now test our away form at Norwich and Reading. A similar return would be highly desirable before our next home game against struggling Palace.

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