Destiny Awaits - Brentford v LEEDS UNITED
By 6pm tomorrow night, our fate will be sealed. Either drunk from celebrating our Premier league survival, or extremely drunk from mourning our relegation back to the Championship.
What makes this so difficult to face is that our fate is out of our hands and we are reliant on the result at Turf Moor. It's a dreadful situation to be in so let's have a close look at the possible outcomes and the team I really hope we turn out to give us the best chance of the win that we must achieve to have any chance of survival.
How things stand
It doesn't make good reading does it?
Brentford v Leeds
Leeds go into this knowing the only way to stay up is to get a better result than Burnley.
We will be without Dan James through suspension which isn't such a bad thing as I think he's been rather disappointing this year. Not always his fault though as he is a winger by trade and has usually been in a central role all season which he simply doesn't look comfortable in. There has't been much that Leeds could do about that with the injury to Bamford but I would have liked to have seen more goals from him, especially considering his undeniable speed.
No Ayling of course, also due to suspension but the latest news is that he has also had an operation to fix a longstanding knee injury and isn't expected to be back until the autumn. Again, much as I admire him, I think it is not the biggest worry we have.
Stuart Dallas has a broken leg and like Ayling, is an honest, hard-working player but also like Ayling, he is not a match-winner and will be missed mostly because of the change required in formation to cover him.
Tyler Roberts is a long term absentee as is Adam Forshaw, neither of whom are good enough in my opinion.
We have to remember that Brentford are newly promoted this year and were struggling until that fateful day in January when they announced the signing of Christian Eriksen after which their season went from strength to strength.
Looking at their home form this year, they have a positive, +2 goal difference having played 7, drawn 3 and lost 8, most of those losses coming in the first half of the season. Their goals scored is 21 which isn't very good but they have only conceded 19 which is better than Chelsea!
Any thoughts of making up that 20 goal, goal difference that Burnley have on us is straight out of the window!
Brentford have however, let in a few goals away from home that show that their defence isn't all that great under pressure so hopefully the Leeds faithful can get behind us early doors and wind them up a little but when you consider that they are on a 4 game run of clean sheets at home, getting that all-important first goal looks like an even more difficult task.
Despite all the doom and gloom, Leeds at their best ought to be able to beat them home or away so let's take a look at what I think would be the best team to do that.
The Starting 11: 3-4-1-2
Let's go for it!
Goalkeeper - I love Meslier but his distribution leaves something to be desired. He plays the ball well to his defence as trained to do by Bielsa, but every time he takes a dead ball kick, it seems to go to the opposition or out of touch. He has made more saves than any other Premier League goalkeeper this season so as a shot-stopper, his credentials are beyond doubt but he does worry me and there always seems to be a mistake in him. If the goalie's jersey was given to Klaesson, I wouldn't be perturbed but I doubt it's going to happen.
Defence - I finally got to see the central back three I'd always longed to in the last game against Brighton and hopefully I will again see Koch, Llorente and Cooper lined up there tomorrow.
Midfield - We can take them on the wings if we can get balls into the middle. Former Leeds defender Pontus has done well but his head goes down under pressure and has been known to turn a ball or two into his own net and give away the odd penalty. We need Firpo and Raphina to upper the box and Phillips and Klich to be able to protect a back three and provide distribution to the wings with the misfiring Rodrigo in the middle sitting just behind the front pair.
Attack - a big risk playing Bamford with it being his first game back and him not being match sharp but it's a risk we need to take. We have to win. To mitigate the risk, I've chosen a front two and with him and Geldhardt there is enough fire-power there to put the heebee-geebees up any defence, let alone the 'Bees' themselves!
No place for Harrison? No, much as I like him, he hasn't been great this season since he lost his partner Alioski and it just hasn't gelled for him and Firpo who does like to get into those forward positions and can put a ball in. Obviously on the bench but this game is a game for brave hearts, not misfiring tricky feet.
We can, and should win this game, but it's not just about us. Over at Turf Moor, Barnsley entertain Newcastle and if they win, it matters not what happens in down South.
Burnley were lucky to get the point against Villa on Thursday but what an important point that was. They shut shop and knuckled down, but whilst earlier in the season, this of used approach failed them, they were lucky and Villa wasted a dozen chances to put the game to bed. The suspension of possibly their best defender, Matt Lowton isn't going to help their cause and with Newcastle brimming with confidence after a superb performance in their 2-0 win over Arsenal last time out, will be looking to finish a season that started so badly in the top half.
Let's not forget that Burnley were shit before they sacked Sean Dyche and after a couple of decent performances due to 'new manager syndrome' have reverted back to type in the last few games. Newcastle are going to win this one.
Up or Down
I honestly don't know as I think it is genuinely in Leeds' hands as I also truly believe that the best Burnley will get is a draw. We MUST win, and if we do, we stay up, and if not...
Whatever the outcome, there has to be a major overall at Leeds next season starting with the board. We know we are going to lose some star players whatever league we're playing in and if it is the Championship, we need a new manager. He might keep his job if we stay up but getting us back from the Championship isn't going to happen under Marsch. The more I see him interviewed and in his pre and post-match pressers, the more I think he is just full of shit.
I just want this damn season to finish but no matter what, we'll still be...
Marching On Together