Despite earning a superb 1-1 draw against the reigning Premier League champions on Monday, there was one man who failed to impress for Leeds: Helder Costa.
The Portugal international was given the nod to start against Liverpool with Raphinha being out injured, and while those are some big boots to fill, he certainly didn’t show anything to Marcelo Bielsa that would warrant him keeping his place against Manchester United this coming weekend.
As per Sofascore, he missed one official big chance, failed to provide any accurate crosses, and managed just 12 successful passes in total – by and large, the game just seemed to pass the winger by.
Writing in his post-match player ratings, Leeds Live’s Beren Cross gave him a five, saying: “Never really figured as an option at any stage in attack for Leeds and was left for dead far too often by Andrew Robertson going in the other direction.”
Such was Costa’s ineffectiveness, that Bielsa took him off on the 67 minute mark, choosing to bring on the largely unseen Ian Poveda,
And, following his performance, former Leeds man Noel Whelan tore into the winger, even going so far as to saying that he’s simply been a “massive flop” for the price that they paid for him.
He said: “The one player that disappointed me was Helder Costa. Once again he was poor. There is something there that is not right because Poveda came on and did more in that short time than Costa did in the 60 minutes he was on the field.
“He is fourth in the pecking order in terms of wingers for me. Poveda has to come before him now. He is direct, exciting and wants to take people on. He wants to do his job as a winger and Costa does not. He plays it safe and he’s negative. For a player that cost £16m, I need to see a hell of a lot more from him.
“At least Poveda runs at people. He is positive and that is what a winger should do. Costa has been a massive flop. A real disappointment again.”
The winger has failed to score in his last seven Premier League appearances, and it’s been no real surprise that Bielsa doesn’t seem to trust him fully – he’s completed the full 90 minutes just once in the top-flight since November 2, and has either been hooked early or brought on as a very late substitute.
With another clash against one of the Premier League’s big boys to come against United on Sunday, Bielsa has simply got to make a ruthless call on the £70k-a-week earning Costa and drop him from the starting line-up.