Leeds United received a small boost earlier this week when it was announced that Gaetano Berardi’s red card had been rescinded after an appeal from the Championship club.
Berardi had been sent off in controversial circumstances in the 14th minute of Saturday’s clash with Millwall. The incident saw Millwall given a penalty, and led to the home side going 1-0 up.
It was no surprise that the dismissal was overturned. Kalvin Phillips was covering, and replays showed that Berardi made, at most, minimal contact with Tom Bradshaw. The striker also briefly managed to continue his run before going to ground. No action is being taken against Bradshaw.
The FA’s decision does not change the result. But it does give Marcelo Bielsa the chance to pick Berardi for Leeds’s clash with Birmingham City after the international break.
However, given the events that took place at the Den, perhaps it may actually be a good idea for Bielsa to not pick the 31-year-old against Pep Clotet’s men.
Berardi was incredibly unlucky to concede a penalty and be sent off. But it was still his error that allowed Bradshaw to get into the box.
His red card saw Luke Ayling move into centre-back alongside Ben White, with Stuart Dallas moving to right-back from central midfield. And in truth, Leeds looked much better at the back with 10 men.
It would be unfair to suggest that Berardi was solely responsible – after all, he was on the pitch for just 14 minutes. And Berardi did have a spell at the start of last season where he looked transformed at centre-back.
But Ayling looked assured alongside White on Saturday. And Dallas has shown how impressive he can be when used at full-back.
Berardi is a fantastic player to have in the squad. And Bielsa clearly thinks a lot of the Swiss. But there have arguably been too many mistakes when he has been used at centre-back.
It is not an ideal situation. But perhaps Ayling is the man who should fill in for Liam Cooper while the captain works his way back from injury.