This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Regular Punter’ series, where we gather original opinions from select, passionate fans of the clubs concerned on matters surrounding their team and share them with a wider audience…
It’s safe to say that Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla is a player under pressure at this moment in time, after some costly errors in recent weeks.
Most notably, the shot-stopper gifted Brentford their opener in a 1-1 draw at Griffin Park, after miss-controlling a back-pass that came his way.
Leeds have thrown away their advantage over their promotion rivals, and now find themselves level on points with third-placed Fulham in the Championship table.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference ahead of their game against Bristol City this weekend, Marcelo Bielsa revealed that Casilla is set to start the game against the Robins despite these errors.
Football League World’s Leeds United fan pundit Bradley Marshall has issued his thoughts after this latest reveal from Bielsa on Casilla, and feels as though the Spaniard needs a break from the starting XI as the Whites turn their attentions to the final 14 league games of this year’s campaign.
“The short and simple answer is no. It is not just the error against Brentford, but it is an accumulation of errors that all followed after his blunder against Cardiff City last year. Everyone will know how Leeds like to play and pass the ball around the back by building an attack from the back.
“However, every time we do this now and get Kiko involved, I get extremely nervous as does the entirety of the Leeds fan base. So if this is making all of us nervous, it has to be making the players playing in front of him nervous. Any pass back from the likes of Cooper or White will start being reconsidered as they have lost confidence in Kiko.
“Kiko needs a break, he is being slated week in week out now and seeing all this negativity cannot be good for his already low confidence from his performances. Once the players lose confidence playing in front of him, you will certainly struggle to get it back.”
One player that can feel hard done by not to have been given more opportunities in the Leeds starting XI is Illan Meslier, who was hugely impressive in their FA Cup clash against Arsenal earlier this season.
Marshall went on to admit that the young Frenchman would be more than deserving of a start in the Leeds team, and claims that the current situation can’t get as bad as it already is.
“Against Arsenal he (Meslier) was superb. You would of never thought it was his first game for us as he was so confident yet sharp. His distribution was absolutely amazing to watch. I was in the away end for the Arsenal game and there wasn’t one moment where I could say he made me nervous or uncomfortable.”
“However with Casilla, I get that feeling every time he touches the ball. Meslier has worked his way up through the France national youth setup, so why can’t he be given a chance. What’s the worst that can happen? I’m pretty sure the worst is currently happening anyway so I feel that we are at a point where we have nothing to lose in the goalkeeping department.”
There have been some sections of the Elland Road faithful that have labelled Bielsa as ‘stubborn’ for persisting with Casilla in the starting XI.
The regular punter went on to state that the consistent below-par performances from the former Real Madrid shot-stopper are clearly having an impact on some of the Leeds players as they look to try and challenge for a long-awaited return to the Premier League this term.
“I personally believe his stubbornness is certainly making this promotion race a lot closer than it should be. A steady bit of squad rotation wouldn’t go a miss with a busy championship schedule, yet we are the most unchanged team in the league. Again in my opinion Kiko cost us the game on Tuesday night as at the time of their goal, we were superb.
“Brentford were struggling to string two passes together. And at a point where we were dominant and looking like creating a goal scoring chance, Casilla miss control’s the ball and all of our dominance counts for nothing. That must of hit the players hard.
“To go to the most on form side in the league when you are in the bottom three for form, out play them and generally play very well, play them off the park with so much confidence, to blink and be one down from Casilla’s error.
“The main problem is, it not just a one off error that the majority of goalkeepers have. it isn’t just an off day or a bad day at the office, this is a consistent display of errors and poor performances.”
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