Leeds have just one week of international duty remaining until they prepare to take on Arsenal in their next Premier League fixture. It will be viewed as a must-win game by the Whites, who have slipped all the way down into worrying territory in the bottom half of the table.
Stuart Dallas suffered an arm injury in his recent performance for Northern Ireland. Whilst the club haven’t delivered an update on this, it looked a painful one at the time for the left-back. Should he be ruled out of the upcoming Arsenal match, Marcelo Bielsa may be forced to rely on young Leif Davis to replace him.
The 20-year-old defender, who Bielsa said in 2019 “gives everything”, has made just one appearance for Leeds this season. Davis made a 13-minute cameo against Manchester City to see out their shock 1-1 draw, which is already an improvement on the 13 minutes he played in total across three substitute appearances last campaign (via Transfermarkt).
Not only will the youngster have some big boots to fill, but he will be up against a major talent in the Arsenal ranks. Nicolas Pepe signed for the Gunners for a mammoth £72million and despite falling out of favour under Mikel Arteta, he could get a chance to start against Leeds.
Arsenal will likely see this as a match they can win easily and may fall into the treat of fielding a weakened team in order to rest up key players. This is where Leeds will have the chance to drop a shock masterclass on them, but every part of the team must be alert.
Bielsa will already be thinking about this. Earlier this year, he waxed lyrical about Pepe and branded him a “huge talent” whilst justifying his hefty price tag. The Argentinian will be aware of his skill on the ball and will know that he must try to silence his performance or risk some dangerous balls into the box.
If Davis is the man to replace Dallas, Bielsa must work hard with him to ensure that he is ready to match the 25-year-old speedster. A strong performance could may well put him in contention to bag more minutes this season.