Leeds United have been involved in some of the closest and most entertaining games in the Premier League so far.
In fact, none of the Whites’ four games to date have been settled by more than one goal, and these fine margins can be the difference between success and failure at this level.
With the games being this tight, small decisions from Marcelo Bielsa are likely to make the world of difference, and it seems as though the Whites have a secret weapon on their bench who can completely turn the tide of a game.
Of course, we’re talking about Ian Poveda, who was once described as a “top, top player” by ex-Whites goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
The 20-year-old has been electric every time he’s come off of the bench this season, averaging 2.6 successful dribbles per 90, 2.6 shots per 90 as well as drawing 2.6 fouls per 90, and that’s exactly the type of impact you want from a player coming off the bench.
Leeds are no strangers to a super-sub, Eddie Nketiah had a ridiculous goalscoring record for the club last season, averaging a goal every 132.6 minutes in all competitions, despite only starting four games for the club.
Poveda isn’t likely to score at such an impressive rate, but his creativity and ability to drive the team forward will give United the edge in games where the result hangs in the balance.
Managers can do a lot to negate the threats that Bielsa’s teams pose, and Pep Guardiola did a great job of keeping United at bay last week, but when you’re facing the raw pace and directness of Poveda late in a game, there isn’t really much you can do other than hope that your tired full-back can keep up with him.
The 5 ft 5 winger can be the perfect super-sub for Leeds this year, following in the footsteps of Nketiah last season.
In other news, is Seth Johnson about to be eclipsed as Leeds’ worst ever signing?