2021 has been the very definition of hot and cold for Leeds United. They have tasted defeat in four games now, but their two wins in the Premier League have been impressive.
They started the New Year in dismal fashion with three consecutive defeats – one of which came against League Two Crawley in the FA Cup. Though, in beating Newcastle and then demoralising Leicester, they bounced back tremendously.
The football Marcelo Bielsa’s men played last weekend at the King Power Stadium was relentless. Their pressing was perfect and Patrick Bamford was a constant thorn in the opposition defence.
He helped himself to a goal and two assists on Sunday but despite registering another assist in midweek, Leeds fell to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Everton.
It was a disappointing result given the performance only a few days ago but it summed up their current top-flight campaign. One minute they’re unrelenting in their play and the next, they’re being sliced open.
No player in Leeds’ squad epitomises their inconsistency quite like Jack Harrison.
The loanee is now in his third loan spell at Elland Road but each season, he has constantly put in indifferent performances. On his day, he has the first touch of a superstar, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, on others, he has the end product of Jimmy Kebe.
At times this season, Harrison has looked unstoppable. Coming into their clash with the Toffees, the winger had scored in consecutive games.
Though old habits die hard and that was typified on Wednesday evening. The 24-year-old struggled to get into the game and although it was his pressing that led to the turnover for Leeds’ goal, he struggled throughout.
In fact, both of Bielsa’s troops on the left-hand side were particularly abject. We’ve already picked bones with Gjanni Alioski’s performances this term but in committing four fouls and winning just three duels on the ground, he particularly struggled with the way Everton played.
Yet, Harrison was worse, winning just two of the seven duels he competed in. That being said, it was his attacking play that disappointed the most.
The forward lost possession of the ball on 19 occasions, a tally higher than every Leeds player on the pitch besides Luke Ayling and Raphinha. Of course, Harrison was keen to get balls into the area but only 50% of his deliveries were accurate.
Just a solitary key pass told the story of an abject day creatively. This should hardly be surprising judging by some of the form he showed last season. After all, following the opening eight games of 2019/20, he’d managed only one accurate cross from 31 attempted.
Judging by the fact Harrison has four Premier League assists this season, it shows he has improved. However, until he begins to capitalise on promising situations more often, Bielsa won’t be able to take him to the next level.
On this occasion, it was a night where the flanker let his manager down again. He needs to discover more consistency.