Leeds will face another stern test on Sunday when they take on Leicester.
The Whites have won just once in 2021 so far while the Foxes are flying high in the top four of the Premier League. Therefore, Marcelo Bielsa should consider springing a surprise.
There wasn’t much to criticise from Leeds’ win over Newcastle in midweek. Though, if there was one area to be picky about it was at left-back.
Gjanni Alioski didn’t endure the best of outings and that was evident when he was hauled off with over half an hour left after receiving a yellow card.
The left-back was caught in possession and then to prevent a counter-attack, had to bring his man down. It was typically reckless from Alioski, someone who has proven to be a liability on more than one occasion this season.
He was torn apart by Dan James at Old Trafford last month and for every good performance the defender turns in, it seems to be followed by a succession of dismal outings.
There is one clear answer to Leeds’ problems here; drop Alioski. We’ve banged this drum before on FFC but if that happens it could give Bielsa a way to bring Mateusz Klich back into his starting XI.
The Pole sat out against Newcastle and thus missed just his second ever league game since Bielsa took charge of the Whites. Stuart Dallas started at his expense in the middle of the park but if Leeds drop Alioski, the Northern Irishman can slot in on the left instead.
As a result, Klich would be able to resume his place in the middle of the park. It would be surprising and incredibly rare for the manager to spring a tactical change like this. For starters, the Argentine doesn’t tinker or make changes unless he really has to, generally preferring to operate with the same starting XI’s. Secondly, his Polish enforcer has been a little out of form.
Speaking about the Poland international last week, Noel Whelan told Football Insider: “He hasn’t been himself for over a month now. He’s not doing too much. He is drifting through games and that’s worrying.”
That came after Whelan admitted that new recruits needed to be signed this month: “I think a central midfield player because Klich has gone off the boil, he seems to be drifting through games at the minute and not having that stamp on the game that he normally has, so I think we need more backup there and quality.”
That being said, Klich has played so many successive games for Leeds because Bielsa loves him so much. He might be out of form but being dropped from the XI last time out should have acted as a wakeup call and a reality check.
If we’re going by general assists, the latter tops the charts for Leeds this term. No player has created more goals (5) for his teammates than the Pole.
Thus, if Leeds are to have any chance of breaking down a tough Leicester defence, they need Klich, and they need him at his creative and effervescent best.