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An impressive performance at home now is just as important as bouncing back after the Barnsley debacle with a stunning win against Leicester.
Simon Grayson addressed the concerns that many fans have had about his tactics by changing the formation and using players in their preferred positions. It worked! As much as I would like to believe in the magic of Leeds playing for Gary, the brilliant win at City Ground was due to the team being set up to use every players’ talents effectively.
The 4-5-1 line-up gets the best out of Johnny Howson, and Becchio, but it also takes the pressure off Snoddy. With Aidy White using his pace on the left, we now have threats from both wings, as well as midfield.
The introduction of a defensive midfielder, which fans have cried out for over two years, was crucial. Credit where it is due, Grayson’s inclusion of Michael Brown was a masterstroke of team selection – unlike his early showings; Brown delivered and I no longer think his was a bad signing.
It may be too early to get gung-ho about Leeds having a winning formula, but the signs are there.
4-5-1 was successful for Leeds last term, until other managers worked out how to deal with it. My hope now is that Larry will become more flexible in his team selections and tactics.
Using 4-5-1 (actually, 4-2-3-1) we have dynamic partnerships and alternative options all over the pitch (e.g. Nunez for Howson, Keogh or Forssell for Becchio, Pugh for White, Vayrynen for Brown, Sam for Snodgrass etc) and, unlike 4-4-2, it is easier to change the formation mid-game to bring in McCormack and our other goal-scorers.
We are all expecting Leeds to beat Millwall on Saturday – to lose would dishonour Gary Speed. However, this will not be the intention of Millwall. Kenny Jackett is a clever manager. In a game against us, he will have weighed up how Leeds is likely to play and have a plan to undo us. I hope Simon Grayson has given this game his full attention and does not simply believe that what worked at Leicester will also work against the Wallies.
Can I put that in my Christmas Stocking Andy? Has SG learnt his lesson? Will he be flexible? Will we beat the Wall? Can Leeds get promotion? Coming soon to Football pitches all over the country! The answer to these and many other questions!