With Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United side heading back to Yorkshire empty-handed despite a spirited display on Saturday afternoon, the 66-year-old will undoubtedly be questioning whether or not the decisions he made against Chelsea were correct.
One such call was the choice to leave 19-year-old Joe Gelhardt out of the Leeds starting XI, despite the centre-forward appearing to have more than done enough in recent games to suggest that he was more than worthy of a place in the manager’s initial line-up at Stamford Bridge.
Despite only being handed eight minutes to make his mark on the match, the £1.17m-rated youngster went a long way to proving that Bielsa’s call to leave him on the bench initially was in fact the wrong one.
Indeed, after being brought on for the talismanic Raphinha in the final 10 minutes, Gelhardt scored with what was his first touch of the game, sliding home Tyler Roberts’ teasing ball across the penalty area in fantastic fashion, and subsequently drawing his side level.
Aside from his immediate goalscoring impact, the £16.5k-per-week forward also won 100% of his duels, made one key pass and received a SofaScore match rating of 7.5 for his efforts against the Blues, ranking him as United’s best performer in the match despite his fleeting appearance.
As such, it is not difficult to see why The Athletic’s Phil Hay tweeted of the 19-year-old after the match that “everything about him screams class,” nor is it hard to understand why Leeds Live journalist Beren Cross dubbed the striker’s performance as “amazing” in his player ratings.
In fact, the only thing that is somewhat confusing is why Bielsa did not start Gelhardt from the off, as it is clear that the teenager is a player who can change the course of a game for the Whites. That’s a trait which, would have seen his side take a point back to Yorkshire were it not for Mateusz Klich’s silly late challenge which led to Jorginho’s match-winning penalty in the 94th minute.