I’d love to report that ‘Leeds 5-2 Crewe’ was an exciting, well fought game with the score line flattering Leeds. Unfortunately I can’t.
I have to admit, it was my first game of the season today and boy was it bad. There is really no place to start or finish when it comes to reporting on the match from a Crewe angle. We were bad in the 1st minute and we were bad in the 94th. Our performance didn’t fluctuate, we were just bad.
Leeds had us pinned back throughout and they gave us a footballing lesson. Whilst they sliced through us on their way to five goals, we offered little. There was a severe lack of fight in the performance but it was more worrying that there was also a severe lack of skill and credibility in Steve Holland’s management.
In midfield we had Bailey, Rix, Schumacher and Moore. That is a midfield that cannot weigh much more than an empty bag of sugar. Ridiculously light weight at this level, at any level. It didn’t take long for Leeds to over run it and have our midfield four almost waving the white flag and surrendering.
The frustrating thing is that that midfield was Holland’s best option. He’s built his own problems over the summer spending up to, and maybe over £650,000 on attacking players whilst neglecting the defensive side of the team. We took Livermore on loan from Spurs, a player Holland believes will go all the way in the Premiership, but after he broke his leg on his second appearance there was no more talk of signings in that area.
John Brayford from Burton Albion was his best offering for the defence – a 20 year old with less than 100 appearances all in the non-league. If we’re going to even think about the top half of this league we should have been spending half of the money spent in the summer on the back line.
We’ve seen that Chris McCready isn’t up to it, O’Donnell is prone to mad moments and Baudet is the best of a bad bunch, but his form has been in the gutter this season. Yesterday showed the defence up as weak. We aren’t seeing comedy errors every week but bog standard marking and tackling is just not up to the standard. Holland talked a lot about needing a commanding centre half and he failed to deliver.
The only defensive signing that has it seems pleased a few people is Steve Collis; so it’s hard to report that he too was a weak spot in the team yesterday. Hesitant coming for crosses and at fault for at least three goals. Twice it was caught out at his far post with the ball squeezing past him, and then from 25-30 yards he failed to stop Sheehan’s direct shot.
Up front Elding and Zola fared no better. There wasn’t a partnership between them, both at each others throats and they ran for the same balls. Elding’s first touch was something to forget whilst Zola felt he had to take on the world with every touch of the ball. Overall they were ineffective and offered no great threat in front of goal.
It summed up a pretty drab afternoon because when it comes to the match that is it, we were poor and ineffective. Leeds dominated and I would think have reason to feel they should have had even more goals (with over 30 shots). They hit the bar and forced a couple of good saves from Steve Collis. We never really had a shot on target for the first 91 minutes and our passing was some of the worst you’ll see this season.
There was some light relief at the end when Leeds’ Michalik was given his second booking of the game in the 90th minute. He had fouled Calvin Zola, who was through on goal some 30-35 yards out. The resulting free kick saw Jones’ cross elude everyone and sneak in at the far post – though Zola tried to claim it skimmed his head. So £700k spent and it’s our left back with two goals in two games.
The second goal came immediately after, Leeds had completely switched off and we surged forward. Being fair though it was an excellent ‘chip’ from Bopp some 25-30 yards out and had it not already been 5-1 we may have appreciated it a bit more.
Those two goals shouldn’t paper over any cracks however. A truly dreadfu, worrying performance and if I was Steve Holland I’d be very alarmed. The loan window re-opens this week and a strong, experienced midfielder and a leader at the back are musts.
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