Leeds United salvaged a deserved point in the Championship opener against Cardiff City on Sunday.

The visitors raced to a 2-0 half-time lead to leave Elland Road shell-shocked.

To their credit, the Whites fought back valiantly to earn a point their indomitable spirit merited.

Liam Cooper halved the deficit early in the second half before Crysencio Summerville completed the comeback deep into injury time.

Below, we look at the five talking points from the match.

Defensive frailties 

Leeds United’s defensive frailties were brutally exposed for all to see. The defending for the goals was rather comical – there is no other way to dress it. The goals conceded were cheap and avoidable. It’s safe to say defence is an area the manager will be looking at closely on the training ground this week.

It was the first game of the campaign, so there is need to retain a sense of perspective and resist the temptation to be overly critical, painting a picture of doom and gloom. So, we’ll chalk the shambolic defensive display up to early-season rustiness. Lest we forget, it’s a team in transition, with new club owners and a new manager. 

Cooper’s rotten luck

All indications from pre-season were that Liam Cooper was expected to be a key player for Leeds United this term, both as a leader and as a defensive stalwart.

The captain started all four pre-season friendlies, an indication that the manager wanted to build the defence around him. But as is often the case in football, the best laid plans oftentimes go awry.

It was a bittersweet moment when Cooper injured himself in the process of scoring the goal that sparked the second-half fightback. The defender now faces a spell on the sidelines for eight-weeks after landing awkwardly and rolling his ankle.

Cooper’s injury is a bitter blow for a side already thin on experience following the departures of the likes of Robin Koch, Rasmus Kristensen, Diego Llorente and Max Wober.

A glimpse of the future

I thought Archie Gray acquitted himself tremendously well and vindicated the manager’s faith in him. We saw glimpses of the future of Leeds United and flashes of the player he can become. But as is the case with all young players with a lot of promise, they need to be managed properly. That means using them sparingly and easing them into side. 

As exciting as Gray is, it would be foolish to bank on an emerging talent to compensate for the considerable aggregate experience the club lost. The hierarchy must bite the bullet and bring in new players to plug the gaps left by Marc Roca, Brenden Aaronson, Adam Forshaw and the injured Tyler Adams.

Selection conundrum

Daniel Farke has some selection posers for the Carabao Cup clash at home to Shrewsbury Town on Wednesday. Does he ring the changes or keep them to a minimum? 

There are pros and cons for either choice.

One argument is that in the grand scheme of things the Carabao Cup is not a priority for Leeds United but a distraction. So why risk your key players in a competition you are not seriously invested in. Rather use the opportunity to test the depth of the squad by giving fringe players the chance to stake their claims for first-team places. 

The counter argument says the early-season search for a first-choice XI is best served by selection consistency not excessive tinkering. Therefore it would be perfectly understandable if the team to face Shrewsbury approximates the line-up Farke has in mind for the next league fixture. Using the cup tie as a dry-run for Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City affords players valuable time to gel and to gain better understanding of each other’s game.

Fasten your seat-belts

It’s going to be a long treacherous ride on a road full of twists and turns. Farke has his work cut out for him and making do with the threadbare resources at his disposal simply won’t cut it.

If Leeds United are going to make a real fist of the promotion fight then the 49ers need to come to the party, loosen the purse strings and back the manager in the transfer market.

The squad is thin in all areas except the goalkeeping department.
I appreciate the chicken and egg situation currently hampering our transfer strategy; the need to finalize departures before bringing in reinforcements.

Fair enough, but something’s gotta give.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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