Leeds must consider Tyler Roberts retransformation

Championship Picks

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Against Swansea last Saturday Leeds had 21 opportunities. The final score, however, finished 1-0 to the visitors.

How Leeds weren’t able to take something from the game is rather baffling as they ultimately succumbed to a sloppy goal from a corner.

The Whites haven’t necessarily struggled for goals in 2019/20, but considering they have over 17 shots per outing, the most of anyone in the division, their total of ten goals is a little underwhelming.

That’s an issue in itself but a concern could lie in their lack of depth in attack, particularly if Marcelo Bielsa starts playing more regularly with two up top.

On the chalkboard

With a matter of weeks to go before the new campaign kicked off, Leeds were staring at a season where their only viable option on the opening weekend would be Patrick Bamford, someone who sat out 22 matches through injury last season.

Kemar Roofe had picked up a problem of his own in pre-season before he ultimately departed for Anderlecht.

To the rescue came Eddie Nketiah who has scored three times following his arrival, but there isn’t a great amount of cover in his position of the pitch.

Bielsa has teased the idea of him playing in a two with Bamford but that would leave the Whites without any options to change that position on the bench.

But the solution could come in the form of youngster Tyler Roberts. The 20-year-old is out injured at the moment but has appeared in training footage, improving the chances of a quick return in the near future.

Roberts arrived from West Brom as a centre forward but despite playing further up the pitch in the opening stages of last season, was forced into playing out wide and in attacking midfield.

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But as a consequence of their lack of options in attack, perhaps he should undergo another transition to become a striker once again.

He hasn’t been blessed with goals throughout his career, netting just six in 35 for Albion’s U23s but he’s still an option worth trying.

In 2018/19, Roberts played 12 times on the wing and on seven occasions from a deeper role. Altogether that accounts for more than he featured as a centre forward.

Whether or not he gets back into the team straight away after injury remains to be seen but if Bielsa is playing with two strikers at the time, that should be the area to ease him back into.

Until January comes around, he might well be the best option Bielsa has at the club.

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