Leeds have hit a slump in their first season back in the Premier League. Despite a strong start that looked to see them really challenge, they’ve started to decline. The ship is taking on water and Marcelo Bielsa must figure out how to plug the leaks in time to keep their season alive.
Football FanCast spoke to Carlton Palmer about the situation at Elland Road and he has issued a warning to his former club.
“If you’re conceding goals and you’re losing football matches, then that’s a major problem,” the ex-midfielder said. “If you’re conceding goals and you’re getting results, then I wouldn’t worry about it too much.”
Indeed, Leeds have conceded the most amount of goals in the league so far this season, but their earlier results paved over those cracks. Despite a loss, they hit reigning champions Liverpool for three and pulled off a 4-3 win over Fulham. They also held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw last month but all that hard work has unravelled in their latest back-to-back 4-1 defeats to Leicester and Crystal Palace.
Bielsa’s attack relies solely on Patrick Bamford a lot of the time, which simply isn’t enough to carry Leeds forward. The 27-year-old is undoubtedly one of the league’s most clinical strikers, but something isn’t clicking with Bielsa’s team as a whole.
The Argentinian has made some ruthless, snap decisions in order to shape up his squad, including dropping Jamie Shackleton in midfield. But small tweaks like this won’t be enough to deliver results, Bielsa must go back to the drawing board and consider a formation outside of his typical 4-1-4-1 staple, or at least coming up with a plan to stop shipping quite as many goals. If he doesn’t, as Palmer has alluded to, then trouble won’t be far around the corner.
“If you do that [concede goals], and you’re getting beat, you’ll be out the Premier League by Christmas,” Palmer warned.