COMMENT by Russell Edge
Leeds United manager Thomas Christiansen must be prepared to make wholesale changes if he wants to stand any chance of picking up a result against Middlesbrough on Sunday.
The Whites come into the clash at Elland Road off the back of a convincing 3-1 defeat to Brentford, their seventh defeat in their last nine league games, leaving them 10th in the table after having led the Championship earlier in the campaign.
Instead they now sit 12 points off table toppers Wolverhampton Wanderers, and face a Boro side three points ahead of them in fifth, with former Whites boss Garry Monk set to return to Elland Road for the first time since departing in the summer.
After a dreadful display against the Bees, Christiansen must be brutal with the axe on his men and make as many as four changes, with Andy Lonergan, Liam Cooper, Eunan O’Kane and Ezgjan Alioski all being replaced by Felix Wiedwald, Conor Shaughnessy, Kemar Roofe and Caleb Ekuban in a 4-4-2 formation.
The Whites have to change formation after their recent displays and 4-4-2 will put enough pressure on the Boro back line to provide space and time in the midfield, with the changes mentioned injecting both the talent and grit required to return to winning ways.
Goalkeeper Lonergan was at fault for two of Brentford’s three goals and after axing Wiedwald for his own poor performances earlier in the campaign, it is time to swap the duo over again.
At the back club captain Cooper looked shaky against the Bees, with young Shaughnessy having demonstrated his reliability in the heart of defence, hence the change.
Despite scoring last time out Alioski does not offer enough to the team to warrant his place any longer, hence Roofe’s inclusion, while up top Pierre-Michel Lasogga has been crying out for a striking partner, and it is the returning Ekuban, back from his injury layoff, who will prove the perfect foil for the German giant.
In other Leeds United news, a journalist has revealed why the club missed out on snapping up a top prospect over summer.