By Craig Scott

13th Feb, 2022 | 11:17am

Bielsa insistence upon Tyler Roberts could cost him his job at Leeds United

Marcelo Bielsa’s insistence upon playing Tyler Roberts could be his downfall at Leeds United after the Welshman was inexplicable substituted on for Raphinha at Everton on Saturday.

Raphinha, Leeds’ top goalscorer and best player this season, was taken off at half-time at Goodison Park while the Whites trailed 2-0.

Roberts, 23, barely impressed in the Championship at Elland Road and has done so even less in the Premier League – yet Raphinha was taken off as a tactical decision by Bielsa and replaced by Roberts.

Speaking after the game, as quoted by injury expert Ben Dinnery, Bielsa said: “I decided that Daniel James should take over his role on the right and Tyler Roberts take over in the centre. [Raphinha] is not injured.”

It would make more sense if Raphinha was injured and that Bielsa was lying because as far as tactical decisions go, that’s an absolute shocker by the Argentine.

Roberts came off the bench and in the 45 minutes that proceeded, he completed just 13 touches of the ball [WhoScored]. To put that into context, Stuart Dallas, who was taken off after nine minutes with an injury, also had 13 touches.

As far as the rest of Roberts’ performance is concerned, stats by WhoScored show that the Wales international didn’t attempt any dribbles, didn’t have any shots at goal and complete just seven passes out of the nine he attempted.

He was useless, if we’re being blunt. Bielsa may as well have taken Raphinha off and not replaced him at all.

And while Roberts was on the pitch – a player with zero goals and zero assists in 14 Premier League appearances as a substitute this season – Joe Gelhardt was left on the bench.

Gelhardt is less experienced than Roberts but the 20-year-old’s six league appearances as a sub this season have yielded one goal and two assists, while he also supplied an assist in one of his two starts.

It’s just a fact: Gelhardt has way more of an impact as a substitute than Roberts does.

Gelhardt will no doubt be frustrated by being overlooked – the fans definitely.

But with Leeds still in the relegation mix due to being just six points clear of 18th-placed Norwich, there’s every possibility that the insistence upon playing Roberts will come back to haunt Bielsa.

It could cost us the Premier League – and it could cost Bielsa the chance to sign a new contract at Elland Road too.

As for Roberts, he should’ve been moved on a long time ago.

The ex-West Brom attacker barely offered much in the Championship and while there was the excuse that he was still a young, up-and-coming player, he’s 23-years-old now and we don’t think he can improve that much, if at all.

He’s got to go in the summer but Bielsa needs to stop playing the Welshman now, especially thinking that he’s a viable replacement for Raphinha.

In other Leeds United news, Aston Villa should be punished by the FA after a disgusting incident involving a Leeds player on Wednesday.