Leeds United were dealt another blow this weekend as Chelsea came from behind to emphatically defeat Marcelo Bielsa’s side at Stamford Bridge.
It was the first time since March that the Whites played out an encounter in front of supporters, though they were well-beaten 3-1 by an old foe in Frank Lampard.
Former Blues youth player Patrick Bamford nipped in within the first five minutes to hand the visitors the lead but it all soon came crashing down as Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic all found the net.
There were a number of poor individual performances across the pitch, namely Jack Harrison and Gjanni Alioski, but perhaps surprisingly, there was an underwhelming showing from the usually-reliable Stuart Dallas.
No United player recorded worse than his 6.2 rating by SofaScore and when delving into the numbers, you soon see why.
The 29-year-old, affectionately known as the ‘Cookstown Cafu,’ was wasteful in possession, losing the ball 15 times from his 59 touches on top of only making 29 passes, via SofaScore.
Dallas was also particularly weak in his battles, winning just 50% of his duels on the ground, meaning his opposite numbers Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante often got the better of him.
It’s a tough conundrum for ‘Mr Reliable’ as he’s often been the utility man under Bielsa, in which he may have found his best position – at left-back, but if the Argentine is going to play Alioski over him in the role, then his place as a central midfielder must be questioned.
Especially when record summer arrival Rodrigo is sat on the bench waiting for his opportunity, not to mention that Pablo Hernandez is due to return soon too.
The Irishman was dribbled past three times and made an error leading to a shot, so maybe he is indeed a tad out of his depth when it comes to opposition like Chelsea.
Bielsa once lauded his key man a “complete player,” he said:
“It’s not usual to find a player like that. He can play on both sides, even if he’s right-footed.
“He has the agility of a winger and is powerful as a defender. Technically, he’s a complete player. He has enough aerial play to play on every level of the pitch.
“Even if he’s a player of the sides, when he has to play in the centre he doesn’t have problems.”
Dallas has also been dubbed “underrated” this season, but perhaps it’s time for the £30k-per-week ace to have a spell on the bench. It would be a ruthless decision, but a necessary one to spur on a reaction.