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Three things learnt from Leeds’ defeat against Oxford: Cause for concern

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Leeds United

Three things learnt from Leeds’ defeat against Oxford: Cause for concern

Leeds United lost 4-3 to Oxford United last night.

Leeds’ pre-season campaign has not been one of spectacular result to fuel optimism at Elland Road and that continued on Tuesday evening as Marcelo Bielsa’s team crashed to defeat against Oxford.

James Henry opened the scoring before Rob Hall danced his way through the Leeds defence to add a second with Henry adding a third before half-time.

A midway rollocking and some changes from Bielsa lifted spirits, with Tyler Roberts’ fine strike cutting the distance. Jonathan Obika ended the tie with a fourth for Oxford before Lewis Baker and Jack Clarke pulled another two back.

Here are three things Leeds fans can take from the tie…

Leeds better hope they don’t need the reserves

On the face of it, particularly at half-time, it was an astonishingly poor evening for Leeds, but in reality many of the most disappointing players, such as Will Huffer and Sam Dalby, will have little role to play in the first-team at Championship level this season.

If there are injuries though, it will be a concern for Bielsa that his youngsters look quite so out of their depth against League One opposition.

 

It’s all about the right flank

Jamie Shackleton and Tyler Roberts were the best performers of the evening, with a superb goal from the latter, and Luke Ayling has been the man in best form throughout pre-season and it’s clear that the right-hand side could be fundamental to any success for Leeds this season.

Bielsa will have identified this, though he may struggle to get the best out of Roberts and Ayling who have both benefited most when given complete freedom down that side of the pitch.

Marcelo Bielsa hasn’t been able to work his magic yet

A coup in his appointment, it’s clear from pre-season that results haven’t yet matched the expectations. Results don’t matter for now though, but the coach may well be more concerned by the dismal quality that was on display in the first half of this fixture.

Whilst there are brief flashes of high pressing and dominating possession, Leeds’ midfield, in particular, were humiliated by Oxford in the first half and almost bullied off the park entirely.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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