Leeds United look cooked – will they roll the dice on Javi Gracia?


Next stop Manchester City which is a bit like saying next stop is the slaughterhouse. It’s true Leeds United once played Pep Guardiola with 10 men at the Etihad but that was another level, another life, another stratosphere. Now Leeds go there to die, a shell of everything that made them easy to love.

The reality is so dire and even owner Andrea Radrizzani exclaimed “that shit” as the embarrassment of a 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth entered the celebrity book, with the penny dropping last with him. The team is shot, the club is sinking and a private message the Leeds chairman sent to a fan on Twitter mid-game was of a man who had tried to smile away the fire at his home, only for it to ignite his hair . Impossible was how Radrizzani described the relegation as the season loomed. Inevitable noises become more precise, the entire facade cracks angrily.

Bournemouth were so terribly, so terminally weak, that the players stood, stared and took it when the away game beat the Leeds players full-time; next to no applause, next to no apologetic gestures, just shocked faces not knowing what to do but absorbing it. And where to look for reassurance? In the boardroom, the hope of the majority shareholder has given way.

Javi Gracia lost control in the dugout. On the pitch, the side have become so soft that turning up and leaning gently on them, as Bournemouth did, is enough to knock them aside. If Leeds feels doomed, then nothing inside the building belies the pessimism. And not the last hooray of games in the coming month either.


Rodrigo, Wilfried Gnonto and Adam Forshaw reflect on the club’s predicament (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The color Gracia had in his cheeks when the club appointed him is gone, the latest manager to have discovered the doors of Elland Road are so alluring when they tempt you to walk through them, only very much so few jobs in the game will make you bleed dry before you’ve set up your desk properly. Three weeks ago he had the leash in his hand and the animal under control.

Then, at a speed he just can’t imagine, the animal charged away from him, only to find it didn’t have any teeth anyway. There was no struggle in his words after Bournemouth, no convincing answers, no credible roadmap from the desert. “I have to help my players play better,” he said, raising the obvious question of how. “It’s my job,” Gracia replied. Though you’re wondering how much longer.

There’s nothing that sums up a year’s car crash better than the realization that if Leeds chose to roll the shelter dice again for the four remaining games, they might as well. Gracia looks exhausted, Leeds look cooked and next is only Erling Haaland.

It’s not strategy either way, nothing more than an indictment of the board’s strategic failure and God knows what the alternatives would be – but it’s not like answers are coming and 22 goals against in a calendar month is the definition of a team in the free fall, with little coming at the other end. The secret here is that the club is still in 16th place. As relegation rivals Leicester City and Everton meet on Monday, that number could soon increase by one.

Georginio Rutter is as anonymous as ever, lucky enough to kick a ball in anger and so reduced his first goal – if it ever comes about – could be worth more financially than his transfer fee, that’s how tight it is Table and so extreme are the stakes.

Luis Sinisterra will not play again this season. Patrick Bamford was missing from just yards out in midweek, despite scoring a small first-half equalizer at Bournemouth. Brenden Aaronson needs a powerlifting summer, Rodrigo has a league goal since the first week of January and all of Crysencio Summerville came before the Worlds.

Gracia let go of Willy Gnonto at Dean Court and gave people what they wanted, but body language saying Gnonto would love to do it all himself wasn’t the same as saying he actually could. Highly talented or not, the season should never have depended so much on a teenager.

It has been pointed out that if Leeds intend to fight their way out of the corner they were in they have slipped through security, seemingly without being a threat to anyone.

Bournemouth attacked sporadically and scored four goals, a masterclass of third-gear football to get there without sweating buckets. Nobody cares about the nuances beyond those points because in these circumstances only the results on the board matter and perhaps that’s the biggest lesson Leeds’ last two Premier League campaigns have taught: the long game isn’t one at all Game unless scores remain at a peacekeeping level. Everything else and the long-term plans – Gnonto, Rutter, goals beyond the immediate horizon – will rather benefit someone else.

For her part, Gracia sounded heartbroken and abandoned, almost apologetically having to follow the script by insisting the worst could yet be averted. Perhaps Leeds will find three more teams worse than them. They may dig up results where results are least expected.

Perhaps if we stray far into the fantasy they will storm the Etihad but it hardly matters when it comes to analyzing the way this season has been handled. A terrible scrape with relegation is almost understandable given how easily the Premier League can unmask a club. A second is so much harder to forgive. And in the depths of a well-worn corner of Dean Court there was no forgiveness to be found.

(Top Photo: Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

#Leeds #United #cooked #roll #dice #Javi #Gracia

Beginning Pitcher Streamer Ranking Fantasy Baseball - 4/30 & 5/1 |  pitcher list

Beginning Pitcher Streamer Ranking Fantasy Baseball – 4/30 & 5/1 | pitcher list

Voice memos are the new way of communicating, especially for Gen Z, who say sending audio is more personal than text and prefers short recordings to calls, which can trigger anxiety

WHY do people send voice memos? Gen Z says audio is more personal than text