Leeds United continue their march towards the Premier League 2 Division 2 Trophy with a 1-0 win over Stoke City’s reserve side at Thorp Arch on Monday afternoon, as Mark Jackson named an incredibly strong Leeds team to face the Potters – and here are three talking points from the clash, in which Diego Llorente scored the only goal of the game.
Llorente – more White, or Cooper?
Llorente, 27, only played the first 45 minutes but was excellent. Yes, a Spain international, the former Real Sociedad and Real Madrid player was certainly playing against opposition that are beneath him – but he stood out. He scored the only goal, nodding a Kalvin Phillips cross into the net – but also proved defensively solid and commanding in the air.
Marcelo Bielsa is renowned for combining both a right-footed and a left-footed central defender in his back four – as well as a powerful defender and a ball-playing one. Is he more Liam Cooper, or Ben White? On Monday’s showing, he is certainly more White.
Leeds already have Casilla’s replacement
Kiko Casilla has hit the headlines recently. A dismal performance against Crawley Town saw the Spain international at fault for two – and maybe even three of the League Two side’s goals. He could do little about Brighton’s goal on Saturday, but many Leeds fans want to see the back of the ex-Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper.
But with the January window now entering the final third, Leeds would surely need a replacement before sanctioning the player’s exit. But do they have the ideal cover for Casilla? Well, on Monday’s showing, Elia Caprile has enormous potential. He was commanding from crosses, marshalled the defence and made a number of decent saves – earning his second PL2 clean sheet in his ninth outing. Can he replace Casilla? He is on the right track.
Did Leeds overpay for Helder Costa?
The majority backed a move for Portugal international Costa when he initially joined the club on loan with an obligation to buy for £16million (TalkSPORT). Last season, the former Wolves and Monaco star was good without excelling, but Leeds fans would have been hopeful at the start of this campaign – after his assist against Liverpool and goal in the win over Fulham.
But Raphinha’s emergence has seemingly knocked Costa’s confidence. He played 90 minutes on Monday, but his end product was poor throughout – blasting a shot into what would have been row z had it been in a stadium, and failing to make the crucial pass. Did Leeds overpay? It looks that way.