Leeds United fans have rightly been concerned over the future of their star defender Pontus Jansson during this international break. It comes after a number of comments in the Swedish press that have raised alarm amongst West Yorkshire fans.
Firstly, he appeared non-committal over his Leeds future in an interview with Expressen in his homeland. The centre-back stated:
“We’ll see what’s happening, I want to hear from the club how to look next year and so on.”
He then criticised the club’s treatment of his international buddy Pawel Cibicki. The summer signing told Fotbalskanalen that the decision to leave Cibicki out of contention was ‘political’.
Such comments have left Leeds fans wondering if the cult hero is considering his future at the club. Yesterday, during his press conference at Thorp Arch, Leeds manager Paul Heckingbottom made it clear that Jansson was happy at the club, stating:
“No, none at all (worried about Jansson’s future). It’s well documented that all of our players are under contract, bar Pablo (Hernandez). There’s no issue.”
Of course the manager would have to say that. It is his job to ensure a united front at the club and make it clear Leeds do not want to sell any of their players.
But what about if his brother says the same thing. Peter Jansson, who is often in contact with Leeds fans, confirmed on Twitter yesterday that his brother is not unhappy at Leeds:
And Paul is absolutely correct!
— Peter Jansson (@pejansson) March 28, 2018
Whilst Jansson has not had his best season at Elland Road, his future is a primary concern for the club. He is a natural leader in the back-line and if the right defensive partner can be found for him can be one of the best defenders in the Championship.
This summer Jansson will be hopeful of going to the World Cup with Sweden and if he can get some game time in Russia his stock may rise even more. At that point offers may arrive which might turn his head.
But at present Jansson is still a Leeds player and, seemingly, happy to be in West Yorkshire.
Is he happy with everything going on at the club currently? Probably not. But so he shouldn’t. Leeds are 14th in the Championship table and have again changed managers this season.
Jansson, like every Leeds fan, wants success and stability at Elland Road. Hopefully he will remain over the summer and help Leeds get to that level.
One winner, one loser as Fulham face defeat against Tottenham
The Cottagers have suffered two defeats from two so far this season.
Fulham endured a losing return to Wembley on Saturday, falling to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.
It was a match few expected the Whites to get anything out of, but the newly-promoted club nevertheless played with energy and had the score level at 1-1 for a large portion of the second half.
It was an encouraging display, yet ultimately a pointless result as Fulham slumped to two consecutive defeats.
Here is one winner and one loser from the match, as one Fulham defender rose to the occasion and one of last season’s promotion heroes was dropped to the bench.
Winner: Maxime Le Marchand
There had been much talk of how Fulham were missing a multitude of central defenders in the run-up to the match, with Denis Odoi suspended and Tim Ream and Alfie Mawson missing through injury.
Yet despite the absence of these centre-backs, Maxime Le Marchand produced an all-action display at the heart of Fulham’s back four. Standing in the way of many Spurs attacks, the Frenchman was quick to snuff out danger and block dangerous shots all match.
It was telling that all three goals came from brilliant pieces of skill from Spurs, and Le Marchand might well have given Slavisa Jokanovic another selection headache when Ream and Mawson are fit again.
Loser: Kevin McDonald
The holding midfielder lost his place in the team on Saturday, replaced by deadline day signing Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
The Cameroonian international had only joined up with the squad this week, and with a limited number of training sessions under his belt, many expected McDonald to be preferred in the starting XI.
Yet to the surprise of some Fulham supporters, Anguissa was immediately thrust into the match from the start and played the full 90 minutes with promise. In flashes, he showed impetus and strength, yet struggled at times to distribute the ball quickly and effectively through the midfield.
McDonald, a stalwart and integral member of last season’s team, will feel hard done by to have lost his starting berth– but that is the nature of the Premier League.
More competition means more uncomfortable decisions, and it is now up to the Scot to convince Jokanovic that he deserves to be Fulham’s first choice defensive midfielder.
One winner, one loser from Nottingham Forest’s draw with Wigan
Hillal Soudani’s late, late goal handed Forest parity from an entertaining encounter.
Nottingham Forest struck late in the day to maintain their unbeaten start to the 2018/19 campaign with a dogged 2-2 draw against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Youngster Matty Cash cancelled out Nick Powell’s opener inside the first 10 minutes, before Will Grigg scored from the penalty spot to give the home side a slender advantage at the break.
It had looked like the Wigan man’s strike would be the winner, until Reds’ sub Hillal Soudani climbed off the bench to tuck away the rebound from Lewis Grabban’s missed penalty right at the death, handing Forest a share of the spoils.
After an entertaining Championship affair, The Boot Room looked at one winner and one loser from a Nottingham Forest perspective…
Winner – Matty Cash
The Nottingham Forest academy graduate was rewarded for an impressive display against Bury in the EFL Cup on Tuesday evening with a place in Aitor Karanka’s starting line-up for the trip to Wigan and he didn’t disappoint.
Cash certainly doesn’t lack confidence and he backed up his manager’s decision to include him in the starting eleven with a neatly taken equalising goal after Forest had fallen behind early doors, whilst the 21-year-old also won the visitors’ their penalty deep into stoppage time at the end of the second-half.
With the Reds now boasting a plethora of talent within their ranks it is vital that any player who is given a chance in the team takes it with aplomb, and Cash certainly didn’t do his chances of retaining his place any harm with this performance.
Loser – Lewis Grabban
You simply have to feel for Forest’s new £6 million striker. Although his performances in the first four games have demonstrated his ability to work hard and get into the right areas, the bottom line is that he has yet to net for his new club.
When Forest were handed a stoppage time penalty it was Grabban who stepped-up to try and salvage a point for the Reds, yet his spot-kick was met with a strong right hand from Wigan goalkeeper Christian Walton.
Perhaps rubbing more salt in the wounds for the Reds’ striker was the fact that it was Hillal Soudani, one of several players vying for a starting place in Forest’s attack, who pounced to tuck away the rebound following Grabban’s misfortune.
There clearly isn’t a need to panic for the 30-year-old just yet, but there is a real sense that the ex-Bournemouth man missed a real chance to net his first goal for the Reds on Saturday.
Nottingham Forest fans react to Matty Cash’s display vs Wigan
Karanka handed the 21-year-old a start following his fine performance against Bury.
Nottingham Forest fought back twice to claim a 2-2 draw away at Wigan Athletic to remain unbeaten in the EFL Championship this season and it was Matty Cash who caught the eye with a fine display.
The 21-year-old scored for the second game running and turned in a particularly eye-catching display after replacing Gil Dias in the starting line-up from the team which beat Reading at the City Ground last weekend.
Cash is fast becoming a real fan favourite on the banks of the River Trent and his all-action display helped earn Forest a share of the spoils from an otherwise disappointing performance at the DW Stadium.
The right-winger cancelled out Nick Powell’s opener after 10 minutes, before showing superb determination to win the Reds a penalty deep into stoppage time at the end of the second period.
Forest fans are sticklers for seeing their own academy products play first-team football for the Reds and Cash is a prime example of a player who has worked hard at becoming consistent in a position that was previously unfamiliar.
With Forest now possessing a high quota of attacking talent it is vital that players take their chances when they come their way and on Saturday’s performance, Cash’s inclusion in the team against Birmingham City next week isn’t open for debate.
The Boot Room took a look at how Forest fans portrayed Cash’s performance following the 2-2 draw in Greater Manchester…
— Matty Cash (@mattycash622) August 18, 2018
My bro ? ???
— Hillal Soudani (@Hillal_Soudani) August 18, 2018
Outstanding young man
— Paul Jennings (@jenningsps) August 18, 2018
Played well matty! For the whole game not just the last 10 mins like everyone else!
— ????? (@Bvsnffcsg01) August 18, 2018
Man of the match @mattycash622
— Matt Legg (@MattLegg42) August 18, 2018
Delighted for you ? thank you! #ThatLovingFeeling ?
— Nicola Louise Taylor (@NicolaLouiseTa1) August 18, 2018
You were 100% again today. No matter what result we pull out as long as the lads give it all and you and soudani today did just that once again ???
— @1tommywallis (@1tommywallis1) August 18, 2018
Best player on pitch well done!
— Jason (@jasonkelly847) August 18, 2018
— Steve Mitchell (@stevemitch82) August 18, 2018
Showed the gaffer your quality. Looking forward to many more starts this season.
— glitchedgardens (@glitchedgardens) August 18, 2018
— Jim Beckett (@jmjbecks) August 18, 2018
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