Leeds United will face off against Brighton this afternoon in their next Premier League hurdle. Thanks to a humiliating FA Cup exit at the hands of Crawley Town, the Whites have a lot of work to put in.
If they want to bounce back from their shock 3-0 defeat to the League Two side, they simply can’t settle for anything less than three points on home soil later today.
Marcelo Bielsa will be without the reliable Kalvin Phillips due to a suspension, so he must choose his lineup carefully. Another man who has caused some concern is Helder Costa.
The out-of-favour Portugal international made his first senior start since November against Crawley last time out and was unable to capitalise on his rare chance to shine. According to Sofascore, the winger missed two big chances to find the back of the net and lost possession 15 times. He was amongst the Leeds’ players who lost the ball the most times, and he struggled to make any impact with his attempted long balls and crosses.
With new signing Raphinha on the scene and Ian Poveda eager for game time, Costa should be grabbing any opportunity he has with both hands. Sadly, his lacklustre display in the FA Cup has likely only dug him into a deeper hole.
What is most unsettling about the winger’s recent run of poor form is that he was a force to be reckoned with during Leeds’ promotion-winning campaign. According to Transfermarkt, Costa contributed four goals and six assists last season, featuring in all but three of his side’s Championship fixtures.
But this time round, he has fallen drastically down the pecking order. The 27-year-old has made just seven Premier League starts and was dropped completely on six occasions.
It will be a tender subject for Andrea Radrizzani and co, who only recently shelled out on bringing Costa to Elland Road on a permanent £70,000 per week deal. Less than a year in, whispers are surfacing over whether the club should cut their losses already.
Indeed, Bielsa is stacked with talent when it comes his options on the right and if an experienced player like Costa can’t make an impact against a side like Crawley, questions must be raised.
Yorkshire Liver reporter Conor McGilligan recently shared his thoughts that the winger has “regressed” since last season, which could very well spell an early exit from his chapter in Yorkshire.
In other news, Rodrigo could force Bielsa to stray from his comfort zone…