This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
For Leeds, their start to the new campaign couldn’t have got off to a much better beginning.
They sit top of the table, taking 13 points from a possible 15 in their opening five outings.
Defeating Stoke at the weekend was a statement, especially considering they were missing both Barry Douglas and Liam Cooper.
But it was the performance of one of the players stepping in that was particularly impressive.
Marcelo Bielsa switched things up properly for the first time this term at the weekend, mainly because of injuries.
He played a three-man backline consisting of Ben White, Kalvin Phillips and Gaetano Berardi, but the display of left-wing back Ezgjan Alioski was something that was especially pleasing.
The Macedonian doesn’t have the best of relationships with Leeds fans and that was evident in the fact that he was slated mercilessly on Twitter despite actually having a productive game against Brentford.
Playing as an out-and-out left back on that occasion, he created three chances, the most of any player on the Leeds team as they struggled against the Bees.
On top of that, the 27-year-old was fouled twice and had an impact defensively, winning three interceptions and making two clearances, per WhoScored.
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However, it was Alioski’s showing against Stoke that swatted the doubters even more.
This was a hugely convincing match from the left-sided player who thrived in a more attacking role.
Playing at wing back, he got forward on a regular basis and the trust placed in him by Bielsa was rewarded with a goal.
He was magnificent as he also laid on two chances for his teammates and was even better defensively than he was at Elland Road last week.
Alioski’s confidence was demonstrated by his statistics according to WhoScored. He won three tackles and three interceptions, as well as clearing the ball twice in Leeds’ win over Stoke.
This was a complete performance from the North Macedonia international who won plaudits from fans who had seemingly changed their tune.