Leeds United welcome their old arch-rivals Manchester United to a packed Elland Road for this afternoon’s bumper clash in the Premier League.
Marcelo Bielsa’s outfit will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s shocking result, a 3-0 defeat to struggling Everton, and it’ll be no easy task ahead of this ‘Battle of the Roses’.
The Red Devils, meanwhile, occupy fourth spot and enjoying a much better season than the Whites, though life under caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick hasn’t been easy.
It is certainly going to be an interesting encounter in west Yorkshire today and there is plenty for the Argentine to ponder, paticularly with his engine room, where an expiriment with Mateusz Klich failed to pay off.
In the absence of Kalvin Phillps for an eighth successive game, it was the Pole’s turn to play the defensive lynchpin role and evidently, it failed pay dividends as the Toffees’ creative midfielders ran riot in the attacking third.
It’s not something that Bielsa should risk again. It almost seemed as if he couldn’t drop the 31-year-old, so forced him in, in that unfamiliar role. He really is better of dropping him and it’s not as if his form has been consistent throughout 2021/22.
Sky Sports pundit Clinton Morrison branded him “non-existent” after the defeat – it’s no wonder he was hooked after just 45 minutes.
Klich was once one of Bielsa’s most reliable options, starting week-in, week-out ever since his arrival at Elland Road, so there is certainly some loyalty there – perhaps too much.
As per WhoScored, no player to have started at least 15 games in the top-flight rates out worse than the £3.6m-rated midfielder. Indeed, his seasonal average rating of 6.43 is only worsened by the likes of Junior Firpo and Adam Forshaw, who have astarted much fewer games and thus, can’t make as much of a comparable impact.
United have some big talents, especiallt in the creative midfield department, where Bruno Fernandes or Paul Pogba could run riot and given it was their loanee, Donny van de Beek, last week, Bielsa cannot afford to risk playing a passenger like Klich.
He could get eaten alive with his lacklustre ability and as such, it’s time to be brutal over one of his undoubted favourite players.
It’s time for Bielsa to axe the £34k-per-week veteran from his starting XI this afternoon.