Phil Hay: Elland Road problem is causing real issues for Leeds players

Leeds United fans have noticed the pitch at Elland Road has been cutting up quickly in recent weeks. 

It’s also looked heavy and slow and that seemed to really hurt the Leeds players in the 4-1 defeat to Leicester.

There were issues against Arsenal on Sunday, too.

Raphinha, in particular – although it wasn’t just him – slipped on a number of occasions on his first full start for the club.

He was completely off balance when he missed a big chance at the death of the 0-0.

Talking on The Athletic after that game, journalist Phil Hay said, “The pitch is very old and (last I was told) is due to be completely replaced next summer.

“It was carrying a lot of surface water at the start of the Leicester game. Last night was better but it is still heavy and cutting up easily.”

One fan asked about Raphinha slipping so much and Hay tweeted back on Wednesday morning saying, “The pitch has been really difficult these past two games, largely because of the rain. It was worse against Leicester but not great on Sunday either.”

Winter is coming

The Elland Road pitch is getting a rest this Saturday with Leeds travelling to Goodison Park for the early evening game. And then Leeds visit Stamford Bridge the following week to take on Chelsea.

But the Elland Road pitch is a worry, especially as we head into the wet, winter months.

It can’t be replaced until the summer at the earliest, which means the groundsmen are going to have to try and work some magic to make it as playable as possible for the rest of the season.

The way that Leeds play under Bielsa, a smooth, fast surface is what’s needed and that doesn’t seem to be what’s on offer at the moment.

It’s the same for both sides but it’s definitely going to affect Leeds more because of Bielsa-ball.

Different boots might make a difference but we’ll be hoping for dry weather ahead of the next home game, against West Ham on December 12.

We’ll also be praying for a Tier 1 or 2 classification on Thursday so that fans will be able to see how the pitch holds up in person. Now that really would be magic.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Push the envelope’ – Jim White & Simon Jordan react to exciting new Leeds off-pitch deal