Leeds United suffered a tough defeat on the road at the weekend as Chelsea hit them for three to keep up their promising title chase. Despite an early opener from Patrick Bamford, the Blues proved too clinical in their attack and made easy work of flipping the match on its head.
Despite the disappointment, Marcelo Bielsa will be rallying his team to brush off the result and look ahead to their next fixture. The Whites will play host to West Ham on Friday and will be hoping that they can capitalise on their home advantage.
However, they will be without centre-back Robin Koch, who suffered a dead leg injury during the Chelsea clash. The summer signing was replaced by fellow new recruit Diego Llorente before ten minutes had even been played at Stamford Bridge.
The latter finally took the pitch in his new colours following his £22,000 per week signing during the summer. He has missed out on all of the Premier League action so far through injury of his own.
Whilst it has certainly been frustrating for fans to wait so long to see the Spaniard play, he has a golden opportunity to prove himself on Friday.
Koch has been ever-present in his debut season for Leeds, already establishing himself as a favourite of Bielsa’s. The German has received praise in abundance, recently being lauded for his “magnificent” performance against Aston Villa. He has struck up a strong partnership with captain Liam Cooper and this could be the set-up the manager opts for for the remainder of the season.
Llorente missing out was through no fault of his own, but he has slipped down the pecking order whilst Koch and Cooper have played well together. Bielsa will not want to upset the apple cart by making any unnecessary chances, but the 27-year-old must view the West Ham fixture as his chance to get his foot in the door.
If Llorente doesn’t perform well at Elland Road, he could jeopardise his chances of starting any further Premier League matches this season.