Stuart Dallas was on the end of another defeat after Austria pipped Northern Ireland to a 2-1 win in their latest Nations League meeting. Despite the visiting side’s best efforts to get themselves ahead, Louis Schaub and Adrian Grbic cancelled out Josh Magennis’ opener.
For the Leeds man, this is now his fourth consecutive loss for both club and country. The Whites are currently in a sticky situation in the Premier League, coming away with back-to-back 4-1 defeats as they prepare to take on Arsenal. Marcelo Bielsa will already be anxious enough as it is without realising the concerning pattern that has started to show itself in Dallas’ performances.
According to Sofascore, the left-back had a middle-of-the-road display against Austria, earning a rating of 7. However, despite doing well to complete 100% of his dribbles and put in a tackle, he was poor overall in possession. Dallas made just 20 successful passes out of an attempted 29, averaging a disappointing 69% completion rate. He also lost the ball 13 times in his attempts to get forward and contribute to the attack.
This isn’t a one-off either. His last appearance for Northern Ireland was against Slovakia and he similarly lost the ball a startling 34 times and completed just 77% of his attempted passes. Even during Leeds’ 3-0 win over Aston Villa, Dallas’ passing accuracy was only as high as 80%, making 45 passes out of an attempted 56.
Whilst the Whites have been struggling in attack, one positive is that the 29-year-old is trying to contribute to his team’s threat in front of goal. However, after conceding eight goals in two matches, Leeds’ problem clearly lies in the defence. Having a £35,000 per week defender who struggles in possession and makes a limited amount of successful passes will be a worry on Bielsa’s mind.
Bielsa has already proven that he can make cut-throat decisions, he certainly won’t hesitate to be ruthless again when it comes to chopping and changing his team and potentially leaving key players on the bench.