Ian Poveda has ability to terrorise Man City, must start in place of absent Jack Harrison
Jack Harrison will be unavailable for Leeds United this weekend so Marcelo Bielsa must unleash Ian Poveda.
This is our toughest match of the season on paper and it would certainly be a bold call to name Poveda in the starting line-up.
After all, he is yet to start in the Premier League and has failed to play a single minute since returning from injury in March.
However, our other main wide option is Helder Costa and he has hardly set things alight this season.
In the Premier League Costa has just 0.4 key passes and 0.8 dribbles per game, per WhoScored.
Against City, we are unlikely to have the majority of possession too, and that makes Poveda a better option than Costa.
Firstly, the ex-Citizen will have a point to prove to Pep Guardiola and his former employers.
More significantly however, his inclusion would allow Raphinha to stay on the right, his favoured position – Costa coming into the side could force the Brazilian onto the other flank.
Poveda would probably provide more energy than Costa too, and would certainly add an injection of pace into the side.
In January 2020, Stuart Dallas detailed his first impressions of Poveda, as quoted by LeedsLive.
“Fast, direct, he’s quick, he’s fitted in really well,” Dallas said of the 21-year-old.
And it is his pace that should prove so useful at Eastlands this weekend.
Kyle Walker played midweek against Borussia Dortmund and that means he will likely be rested on Saturday, as Guardiola tends to rotate his squad.
That could mean Joao Cancelo playing at right-back – he is a full-back who can be vulnerable in defence.
In fact, per WhoScored, Cancelo has been beaten by a dribble 1.4 times per game this season, so Poveda could cause him all manner of problems.
Poveda has already proved a threat against good defenders too.
Against Chelsea, in December the winger took on England international Ben Chilwell and got his shot away despite being fouled.
After the game, Owen praised Poveda’s character on Premier League productions, via LeedsLive.
He said, “He’s a very honest player. I admire the lad for staying on his feet and I think he should stay on his feet.”
Poveda has been patient for a start all season long and will only progress if he gets minutes on a pitch, so Bielsa should give him a go in place of Harrison.
In other Leeds United news, Mark Lawrenson predicts Leeds vs Man City and makes starting XI claim.