After a damaging defeat to Manchester United last time out in the Premier League, Leeds United will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways when they take on Everton this afternoon.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side fell to a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of the Red Devils but will be confident of a far better outcome when they entertain the Toffees in their first game back in front of a full Elland Road crowd.
The Leeds manager may be tempted to make a couple of changes considering the nature of that defeat at Old Trafford, and one man who the Argentine should start from the off today is Junior Firpo.
The summer signing from Barcelona was brought on at half-time last Saturday, replacing Rodrigo at the break and seeing a tactical shift from Bielsa – the Spaniard went to his natural left-back role, and Stuart Dallas moved into central midfield.
Against an Everton side with an ageing Seamus Coleman at right-back, Firpo will feel confident of using his pace to hurt the Toffees defender going back towards his own goal.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Evening Post, player analyst Josh Hobbs said of the flying full-back: “My feeling is that he’s not great at winning the ball in duels but I don’t think it matters hugely. He is an excellent athlete and in our man-marking system that can cover for a few issues in defensive fundamentals.
“Going forwards, he’s a good dribbler – particularly when he gets up to speed and he can steam past players. He likes to play a pass into midfield and then sprint down the line to receive in behind and get into the box.
“His delivery in wide areas is usually a fizzed low cross, which is dangerous as often if the player at the front post misses it, can be met by somebody running centrally or to the back post.”
In his real breakthrough season with Real Betis during the 2018/19 campaign, Firpo managed three goals and four assists in La Liga, as well as averaging 0.8 shots, 0.8 key passes and 1.3 dribbles per game.
The £7.2m-rated ace has the attacking instincts to cause real problems for the Toffees this afternoon, and Bielsa should be throwing him into the starting line-up after his runout against Manchester United last weekend.
He could be the game-changer the Whites need.