Leeds United extended their unbeaten run to 6 matches on Friday evening as they recorded a 0-0 draw with 2nd place Middlesbrough at Elland Road.
The prospect of a 1st vs 2nd place clash is always one which has supporters salivating in anticipation, but so often a clash of two top teams results in a stubborn game of chess featuring little by way of goalmouth action to report.
Leeds’ clash with Boro on Friday night was a quintessential example of how two teams in flying form can cancel each other out, especially when there is a strong clash in footballing philosophies.
And whilst Leeds were busy missing out on the opportunity to move 3 points clear of their opponents with a priceless victory they were simultaneously missing the opportunity to secure a fantastic deadline day deal.
Indeed, Leeds’ need to sign a central defender failed to translate into a signing before the loan window slammed shut, but Celtic acted upon their urgent need for reinforcements by securing a loan deal for Filip Benkovic – a player who could have thrived under Bielsa.
The 21-year-old centre-back recently arrived at Leicester from Dinamo Zagreb with a glowing reputation due to his performances whilst operating as a ball-playing centre-back in Croatia.
Despite Leeds’ impressive opening to the new campaign, it has become abundantly clear that they are short of depth in central defence and that may come back to haunt them over the course of a 46-fixture season.
Benkovic’s move to Celtic Park should give him the opportunity to earn the first-team opportunities he is striving for, but he could have established himself as a first-team regular at Leeds if the Yorkshire outfit had convinced him to move to Elland Road.
With Benkovic actively looking for a move away from the King Power Stadium Bielsa should have been on hand to offer him the chance to move to the Championship pacemakers, and his failure to do so certainly represents a missed opportunity which could have give the club a huge boost in their bid for promotion.
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