Phil Hay has summarised the decisions facing Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa ahead of the clash with Middlesbrough this weekend in the Yorkshire Evening Post, and the journalist, who covers the Whites, has hinted that there could, and should, be some big changes to the line-up next time out.
Well, for much of the season, Bielsa’s biggest concern has been whether he can field a proper defence due to the injuries that have plagued his side for six months but, with everyone but Gaetano Berardi now fit, the Argentine can turn his attention to other areas of the team.
Hay wrote: “Starting (Kalvin) Phillips at Middlesbrough need not mean relegation to the bench for (Adam) Forshaw, who is returning to the club that sold him to Leeds last January. Forshaw was employed in pre-season in a more advanced area and was, in Bielsa’s estimation, the “best player in the team” before he broke his foot late in the summer. Mateusz Klich became the beneficiary of that injury, taking Forshaw’s starting place, but the Pole’s two goals away at Rotherham United 10 days ago were a fillip in an extended period of flat, personal form.
“Bielsa’s other big decision concerns Patrick Bamford, who played for the first time against Norwich after his latest knee injury and scored in injury-time. A planned Under-23s outing for the striker was unexpectedly bypassed, leading Bamford to be named amongst the substitutes, and his match fitness might be the only thing standing between him and a start against his former side. Leeds are finding it increasingly difficult to play to the strengths and the feet of Kemar Roofe.”
Well, if Phillips is to be thrust back into his favoured defensive-midfield role and Foresaw is unlikely to be dropped, then one assumes that the latter will be deployed further upfield and thus bench Klich, who, as Hay says, has been unremarkable in recent weeks.
Bamford’s imminent return to match fitness, meanwhile, gives Bielsa the dilemma of whether he should drop their top scorer in Roofe, who, like Klich, is going through a poor patch of form, in favour of the former Boro striker.
The 26-year-old has bagged 14 goals for the Elland Road outfit this season in the Championship but has found the net just once in his last five appearances, as the Argentine manager’s side have slipped to second in the standings.
By the sounds of it, Bielsa may reshuffle the pack next time out – this may include being ruthless with Roofe by dropping the striker in favour of a forward who may suit the team better and cutting out Klich so as to provide defensive cover through Phillips, both of which are big calls to make.
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