Leeds United make their long-awaited return to Premier League action this weekend and manager Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping that their fortunes change on the pitch.
After recording a top-ten finish last season, the Yorkshiremen find themselves just three points above the relegation zone after 11 matches, so with two-thirds of the campaign still to play, there’s plenty of time to find that improvement.
The Argentine has been faced with several problems over the course of the season so far, ranging from injury blows to inconsistencies in front of goal but arguably, their Achilles’ heel has been in the engine room.
And the form of long-serving favourite Mateusz Klich has to be one of the biggest causes for concern. It could be time to make a bold and brutal call on his selection, starting this Sunday when they face Tottenham Hotspur in north London.
Adam Forshaw’s recent return has certainly posed some further question marks and if the 30-year-old can stay fit, perhaps it will make the decision to axe the Poland international for the foreseeable future.
When local news outlet LeedsLive rated the current squad on the 2021/22 campaign to date, Klich was dubbed a ‘middle of the road performer who has neither dazzled or disappointed.’
Meanwhile, ex-Leeds ace Noel Whelan believes a midfield partnership of Forshaw and Kalvin Phillips will be much more beneficial to the Whites, he told Football Insider:
“He and Phillips seemed to have a really good understanding in the midfield. He gave us just a bit more presence in there, a bit more aggression. That partnership worked better than having Klich in there, it was great to see Forshaw back.”
Klich, who turns 32 next year, has been one of Bielsa’s most trusted stalwarts but his form in recent months has suddenly dropped off a cliff, almost out of nowhere.
There have been calls for Klich to return to the lineup this weekend but he has not started their last two outings, in which United have looked a lot better. Maybe a coincidence but there is nothing to suggest that the £8.5m-rated Pole deserves a recall to the side.
Furthermore, there could be an argument that the £34k-per-week star is looking out of his depth in the big time and Bielsa hasn’t been afraid to make huge calls in this sense, having phased Pablo Hernandez out of the team last season.
AND in other news, Phil Hay drops claim on Leeds target who Marcelo Bielsa “quietly admires”…