Leeds have endured a difficult start to the 2021/22 campaign and their struggles continued at the weekend as they scraped a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves.
The Whites scored a last-minute penalty from Rodrigo to secure a point and now sit 17th in the Premier League table, with just one win in nine games.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have an opportunity to build some positive momentum ahead of their trip to Norwich on Sunday, though, as they face Arsenal in the Carabao Cup at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
It is now time for Bielsa to unleash 19-year-old colossus Charlie Cresswell from the start against the Gunners. The injuries to Robin Koch and Luke Ayling, who can both play at centre-back, have opened the door for the young defender to come in for this match.
Diego Llorente and Liam Cooper started against Wolves and Bielsa must now drop the Spaniard in order to give Cresswell another game to catch the eye.
He previously hailed himself as a leader and named Leeds captain Liam Cooper as a role model, saying: “I’m confident, I’m a leader, I like to play and I like to head it! There’s lots of players in the first team that I look up to, the likes of Coops, Bill, they lead by example and that is what I want to try and follow.”
This suggests that he could enjoy playing alongside the skipper against Arsenal tonight. It could be a great chance for him to learn some valuable lessons on the pitch in a pressured environment from the Scotland international, whilst also giving him the opportunity to display his leadership skills and impress the other senior players in the team.
The 19-year-old played against Fulham in the last round and put in an excellent display. He recorded a SofaScore rating of 7.6 as he made three interceptions and four clearances and won a whopping 12 duels. Cresswell had 122 touches throughout the match and completed 83% of his passes, showing that he is a strong defender who is also composed and reliable on the ball.
This is why he is deserving of a start against the Gunners at the Emirates tonight. If he can put in another excellent display, he could possibly force himself into contention to play in the Premier League in the coming weeks should he able to impress Bielsa enough in the Carabao Cup.