Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa must make a ruthless call ahead of his side’s Premier League clash against Manchester City today by dropping Gjanni Alioski.
The 29-year-old has started and completed the full 90 minutes in each of the last three games, but with Pep Guardiola’s swashbuckling City side in front of them, it might be the perfect time to leave him out.
Speaking after the 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Elland Road a few weeks ago, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan took aim at the £3.6m-rated Alioski for his defensive awareness.
The 46-year-old said: “Leeds need a natural full-back there that you know can cover most bases, definitely defensively because as much as he gives everything, he is a liability. He’s not the best of defenders.
“I think that’s why you could see a lot going down that left-hand side, really targeting Alioski and you saw that frailty there at times.”
While the Whites don’t have a natural left-back to call upon immediately against City, it might just be worth getting Dallas to drop back in to that position to offer a touch more solidity.
The Northern Irishman has carved out a central midfield role for himself in recent weeks but has done the job at full-back too, and as per Whoscored, his defensive numbers are far better than Alioski’s.
Dallas makes more tackles per game at 2.2 compared to 1.9, and more than double the amount of interceptions (1.3 to 0.6). Also, as per Sofascore, he is far stronger when it comes to 50/50 duels, winning more per match in the Premier League.
Alioski has also made double the amount of errors which have directly led to a shot on goal compared to Dallas, while he has also had the ignominy of conceding a penalty this season.
With City the league’s highest scorers, ensuring Leeds just aren’t inviting pressure and waves of attack down the flanks will be vital. Having a “liability” in the side like Alioski could have Guardiola and his players salivating at the prospect of taking him apart.
Bielsa will surely know that himself being the mastermind that he is, and it’s exactly why bringing Dallas into the fold at left-back could help steady the ship much better today.