Leeds United’s return to the Premier League has certainly lived up to the billing.
The free-flowing attacking football that Marcelo Bielsa is famous for hasn’t disappointed with the Whites enduring two seven-goal thrillers in their opening matches.
However, despite their incredible attacking intent, there have been some glaring issues going forward, and they were incredibly evident on Saturday.
Yes, Leeds may have netted four against Fulham, but two of those strikes came from set-pieces, while another came from a quick counter-attack.
The possession-hogging chance-creating machine that Bielsa built in the Championship was nowhere to be seen at Elland Road this week as United had just 50% possession and actually had fewer shots than their opponents.
There is a glaringly obvious reason as to why Leeds weren’t as creative on Saturday, and that’s due to the fact that their best playmaker picked up an injury in the warmup.
Indeed, Pablo Hernandez played no part in Saturday’s fixture, being replaced in the XI late on by Rodrigo, but the 29-year-old couldn’t fill his fellow countryman’s shoes.
No shots, no key passes and just a 66.7% pass accuracy showed that the 29-year-old isn’t suited to play the midfield role that was asked of him on Saturday, and his underwhelming showing saw him hooked at half-time.
Now, we can’t completely write Rodrigo off, after all, he was playing out of position in a system he may not have fully learnt yet, but the fact that he’s seen as the number one Hernandez alternative should have some alarm bells ringing.
If anything, this strengthened the case for paying the £35.7m asking price for Udinese’s Rodrigo De Paul as having him able to slot in for Hernandez would have been a much more comfortable switch, considering that he plays that exact position while also being a similar creative force, averaging 2.5 key passes per game in Serie A last season.
Hopefully, this showing has opened Victor Orta’s eyes to the lack of depth in that area and he will pay the money to get the Argentine in before the window closes.