Drastic Leeds United measures may not have the same impact again for Daniel Farke

Daniel Farke needs to arrest Leeds United's slide in form -Credit:MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Daniel Farke needs to arrest Leeds United's slide in form -Credit:MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Overhaul in Leeds United selection played a role in snapping the team out of the last time they struggled for one win in five matches. Five changes were made by Daniel Farke on New Year’s Day when Birmingham City visited and it triggered the 15-match unbeaten run that has them now contesting the title.

United’s landmark win over Ipswich Town, a 4-0 thrashing at Elland Road, stood out as an island amid a series of results that gave them just four points from 15 heading into 2024. Fixture congestion and a goalkeeping injury played a major part in the changes that Farke made against Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham, but whatever the reasons, they had the desired effect.

With the Whites now in a similar boat, one win from their last five matches, does Farke look to make a similar number of changes at Middlesbrough next week? Are the right personnel available to make such sweeping changes?

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Coming off of the West Bromwich Albion defeat of December 29, it transpired Karl Darlow had dislocated a digit in the warm-up at The Hawthorns. He dropped out for Kristoffer Klaesson in an enforced change.

Joel Piroe was taken out of the team in one of Farke’s more decisive switches to the line-up. It allowed Patrick Bamford to lead the attack and finally had Georginio Rutter playing behind in a more creative role.

That was a change that proved critical to the ensuing, transformational run of form. Wilfried Gnonto was also removed from the line-up that faced Birmingham City having been rotated in to give Daniel James a rest in the West Midlands.

Djed Spence was also benched and it would become clear why in the days that followed as his loan from Tottenham Hotspur was terminated. Ilia Gruev was removed from the line-up after only his second start of the season at West Brom.

The Bulgarian was not considered sharp enough by Farke to play two matches in quick succession, but he would be restored in the Peterborough United clash and never looked back. The changes made by Farke were not entirely tactical or form-related, but it was a refresh of the XI nonetheless.

As with every manager after a defeat, there must be a temptation for Farke to tear everything up after a bad run, but once the emotions have died down he may pull back on a few gut reactions. Connor Roberts and Gnonto have eligible replacements, but played well enough last weekend after only just coming back into the line-up.

The centre-backs and Junior Firpo are well-established now, while Gruev and Archie Gray need more time to continue their new partnership. Crysencio Summerville was named the Championship’s best player on Sunday and is surely untouchable in this side.

Who else can do what Rutter does? Summerville might work through a central berth, but does Farke have the nerve to bench a match-winner like the Frenchman?

The striker debate rumbles on. Bamford and Piroe have each had a rough time of it, but is 20-year-old Mateo Joseph trusted from the start in must-win matches?