3-5-2 bringing best out of Whites

Sunday 3rd November 2013 15:00

Ross McCormack: Finding his form in front of goal

Ross McCormack: Finding his form in front of goal

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FanZoner Leah Waller believes the new 3-5-2 formation has given Leeds an added fizz in front of goal, but fears injuries could take their toll.

It hasn't been the easiest job for Leeds United manager Brian McDermott: he didn't get the budget he'd anticipated; he didn't manage to sign that illusive winger and finding a formation to suit the team proved a difficult task. Therefore it was no surprise that the boss welcomed the international break with open arms, and rightly so.

The two weeks off have done the squad the world of good and gave them time to practice the new 3-5-2 formation; a formation that finally seems to suit our disproportionate playing positions. We bounced back from the string of bad results against Birmingham with an impressive 4-0 victory, a shock to most Leeds fans after the dry patch suffered by our deflated strike force.

It does have to be said however that the Blues' defending was sloppy and out of sorts but nonetheless a win is a win and the team thoroughly deserved those three points.

We then welcomed frontman Dexter Blackstock to Elland Road on loan from league rivals Nottingham Forrest; a necessary arrival after the lack of goals scored before the international break. Blackstock demonstrated why McDermott secured his services against Huddersfield when he came off the bench and scored an equaliser with his first touch in a Leeds shirt - a very impressive debut that could only have been improved if Leeds went on to grasp three points. Unfortunately that wasn't the case and our neighbours went on to grab the lead and the game with a 3-2 victory in front of their home support.

We should be beating teams like Huddersfield, and it's disappointing to lose out in games such as these. However it's clear that fellow Yorkshire-based clubs place a higher value on beating Leeds and seem to view these games in a much higher regard than other league fixtures, so an upset is never unexpected in local derbies.

A win at home to Yeovil was necessary to forget the previous week's disappointment and the team didn't let us down. Despite a very flat first-half performance Leeds went on to win 2-0 thanks to Rudolph Austin and his powerful performance, he's definitely proving that McDermott made the right choice in gifting him the Captain's armband. The Jamaican assisted Ross McCormack twice as he secured his brace and took his scoring tally to an impressive seven league goals. Perhaps the Scot is on a mission to prove he could be the '20-goals-a-season' frontman that the fans wanted during the summer.

The past few results have been inconsistent and it's really important that we get a few more wins under our belts in the next few games to rectify this. We were looking incapable of scoring before the international break but after netting eight times in just three games it's looking as though this problem could now be solved.

The 3-5-2 is a tricky one; the formation suits our players perfectly at full fitness however we don't have a great deal of depth in the squad. This was proven on Saturday with the injury of Stephen Warnock. Adam Drury is also injured at the moment and we've just sent Aidy White out on loan to Sheffield United therefore the left side is extremely bare which is a massive problem. If Sam Byram is fit for the Charlton game then Lee Peltier could flip to the left, where he has played before, but if Byram fails to regain full fitness it's difficult to say who could fill Warnock's position if his foot weakness persists.

Charlton have a solid defence and haven't conceded a goal for over seven hours of play; an impressive statistic. Therefore it's important for us to have a strong defensive performance, if we go behind it will be extremely difficult to get a goal back, hopefully both Warnock and Byram will be back for the trip to The Valley.

Leeds have finally found their rhythm in front of goal with the partnership of Matt Smith and Ross McCormack proving to be dangerous, the pair have the help of Austin and Alex Mowatt coming in from midfield to aid the attacking play so hopefully we'll be the team to spoil Charlton's impressive defensive record and will leave London with three points on the board.

Our main weakness has been our performances in both boxes; our defence has looked sloppy and vulnerable and our strike force incompetent in front of goal however in recent games both of these areas have dramatically improved with the 3-5-2 formation looking to be the missing piece of the jigsaw.

We now need consistency and a good run to climb further up the table, we're currently in eighth place and just three points off the play off places, and although there are better teams in the league it's the unpredictability of the Championship that makes it so unique and captivating.

I'm not saying we're a shoe-in for promotion or even the play offs but if we keep putting points on the board and performing well we'll end up where we want to be.

By Leah Waller, FanZone's Leeds blogger. Follow her on Twitter at @leahwallerx - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!



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