It's no coincidence that the Swedish talisman's absence corresponded with arguably Leeds United's most erratic defensive performance of the season.
Leeds United’s 2-0 home defeat to Cardiff City on Sunday smarted for a number of distinct reasons. Firstly, for the fact that Neil Warnock got one over on his former club. Secondly, for leaving The Whites another three points adrift of Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield.
However, the nature of the defeat, characterised by an unusually unsteady defence, only added to the suggestion that, without Pontus Jansson, they are a different beast entirely.
The brick-nutting cult hero forms half of arguably the league’s most fearsome central defensive partnership alongside Kyle Bartley but, after being struck down with illness, the Swansea City loanee toiled alongside the seldom-seen Liam Cooper at Elland Road.
In fact, Leeds have now lost five of the eight Championship games Jansson has missed this season with Cooper falling well below the Swede’s impeccable standards as Warnock’s visitors came to town.
Therefore, you wonder whether Leeds regret failing to complete the signing of ADO Den Haag’s tub-thumping centre-back Tom Beugelsdijk in the summer.
The Daily Mail reported in August that Garry Monk had sent scouts to watch the 6ft 4ins man-mountain on numerous occasions though Leeds were unable to strike a deal, leaving their defensive reserves somewhat light.
Fortunately, Beugelsdijk does not appear to have given up hope of a move, telling VoetbalZone that it would be a ‘great challenge’ to swap the Eredivisie strugglers for a shot at the English game and a style that appears perfectly suited to his characteristics.
Leeds’ collapse in Jansson’s absence will surely have given Monk food for thought.
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