The Becchio-McCormack Partnership
Last season, there was incredible doubts as to whether these two could work together. McCormack was at his best during the period when he was partnered with on-loan Becchio-lite Andy Keogh, during which period McCormack scored around ten goals in thirteen games. This was likely due to Keogh’s work ethic and ability to run the channels, plus his ability with his feet, something Becchio lacks to an extent. Becchio similarly did not seem at his best last season, partnered primarily with McCormack. Admittedly, Becchio was off the boil and effected by a pre-season injury that he never truly recovered from. However, looking at performances where McCormack and Becchio did not play as a conventional front-two, for example Nottingham Forest away, Becchio seemed to still have the ability locked away, unable to be brought out by McCormack. However, against Wolves, the two worked excellently in tandem. McCormack and Becchio, obviously, were the only two outfield players involved in the goal. It is the less obvious moments that showed how effective they were however. It was only once McCormack went off and Diouf partnered with Becchio that it became clear how much the first choice front two have been working on their attacking movement. Diouf was far less able to get onto Becchio’s flick-ons, and much of our attacking threat died with McCormack’s departure. Admittedly we were seeking to hold on to our lead, but it proved a point. Becchio and McCormack is a partnership that can run and run, and will hopefully lead to goals this season.
Additional Attacking Threat Required
Whilst the above is the case, it is clear we could still do with someone to come off the bench for occasions like this. Diouf held the ball up well, but it would have been useful to bring a striker on with pace in the place of McCormack. There were enough occasions where we could have nicked another goal in the last 20 minutes, putting the game to bed. Hopefully rumours about Maynard coming in on loan turn out to be true. It does not seem entirely ridiculous.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
Green had an excellent first thirty minutes. He was instrumental in counter-attacks from Wolves set-pieces, oddly accurate with overhead kicks (grounded, but still) to McCormack, who could then break. It seems a real shame that he might be out for an extended period. Diouf looked a decent replacement, but I’d prefer Green’s solidity and work ethic to an extent.
The Beast Unleashed
Rodolph Austin was a heavily hyped signing. There were two trains of thought, the first being one of sheer excitement, the other one tinged with memories of Da Costa. This is no Da Costa. Austin is a terrifying, terrifying man. He’s going to be integral to our midfield this season, and came ever so close to opening his United tally. Whilst he will likely require a break mid-season to deal with his lack of holiday, for the first few months Austin will be ahead of the curve.
No Hole in Defence
Jason Pearce was excellent. He got his head on everything. Peltier was solid. The full-backs, whilst they both slipped on occasion, were good enough (it is worth pointing out Wolves players also slipped once or twice – this shows the pitch was at fault if anything). Tom Lees is fit and should be back soon, allowing Peltier to actually play in position. Finally, our defence looks solid. This is an odd feeling, one where mistakes and defensive failures are not constantly expected.
The Real Test
Warnock’s teams generally do poorly against teams with good passing ability and pace. Blackpool on Tuesday is the real test. A result against them and we may have a season on our hands.
Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1) to get a constant, ridiculous, never-ending, stream of thoughts about Leeds.