This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Last season there was a strong argument that Leeds United missed out on automatic promotion because manager Marcelo Bielsa operated with such a small playing squad, so much so that when the squad was hit by injuries and suspensions it struggled to cope.
This season it is beginning to look like the lessons have not been learnt, with the Whites picking up only one win in their last four league outings, causing them to drop down to fifth in the table heading into the international break.
So with injuries to key defensive personnel having an effect, will Bielsa regret not recruiting more defensive additions in the summer?
“It is certainly looking like it could be Leeds’ downfall this season.
“Ben White has undoubtedly been a success but not bringing in another centre-back when Pontus Jansson departed left them light in that position and I think we are seeing that now.
“Gaetano Berardi’s suspension has been overturned but the saga has shown how limited his options are with Liam Cooper out for six weeks.
“You feel it may be worth them looking to bring in some additional cover when the transfer window opens in January.”
“Yes, as many would have predicted!
“It’s quite remarkable that Leeds seem to be so careless when it comes to buying players.
“You have to plan for injuries, suspensions and a lack of form but it seems as though the Whites have the idea that their first XI will play every game.
“Okay, Geatano Berardi was wrongly sent off last time out but he was still in the wrong position and caught out. He is a full-back, not a third choice centre-back for a top Championship side – as he proved in the previous campaign and I’m surprised he’s still at Elland Road after his unprofessional red card in the play-off semi-final.
“It must be hugely frustrating for the fans as they knew they were too short defensively and the club effectively brought in Ben White for Pontus Jansson, meaning a lack of depth is still an issue.
“It’s as though they didn’t learn a thing from last season.”
“I said all along that this would cost Leeds in the future.
“Ben White has turned out to be an excellent signing so far, but they needed more strength in depth in defensive areas, that’s for sure.
“With Bielsa’s high-intensity style of play, injuries are always likely to occur, which is exactly what has happened in recent weeks.
“Leeds needed depth in defence last season after a similar issue, and it seems as though the Leeds boss hasn’t learnt from his mistakes in the last year.
“With Cooper out, he’ll leave a sizeable void in the heart of the Leeds defence, and if Bielsa doesn’t try and sign more defenders in the New Year, then I would be stunned if Leeds won promotion back into the top-flight.”