MOT View: Struggles of fill-in v Forest demonstrates massive value of crocked Leeds star
There are plenty of problems at Leeds United these days, with the club’s automatic promotion hopes dwindling by the game, it seems.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side lost 2-0 to Nottingham Forest on Saturday evening, making it four defeats in their past five Championship contests.
That is a horrendous recent record, and the Argentine needs to somehow figure out what is going on at Elland Road.
However, there is something that Saturday’s defeat has identified as being a real issue for the Whites.
Yes, Gjanni Alioski. He’s a good player and it’s worth saying that he’s been playing out of position for much of this season, but he was awful against Forest.
The 27-year-old was attempting to get forward and make an impact, but when he did so he’d waste an opportunity by blasting a shot off target.
When in possession he gave the ball away far too often, while the North Macedonia international conceded far too many free kicks, as well.
Indeed, he made 32 passes on Saturday, but only 65.6% of them found their intended target. That’s simply not good enough.
It now appears clear that Barry Douglas is a key man for the Whites, and that his absence has been key to their recent poor form.
Yes, he seems a bit injury prone and, yes, he had an up-and-down first campaign in Yorkshire, but he is a quality, proven left back in this division.
Alioski, for all his merits, simply isn’t. The defensive solidity that the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man provides is unparalleled.
If Bielsa can find a way to keep the Scot fit then he could see results improve. Whether that’s possible or not remains to be seen.
In other Leeds United news, Luke Ayling has provided a behind-the-scenes reveal after Saturday’s defeat.