Leeds v West Brom: Big talking points
It’s a big top-of-the-table clash at Elland Road tonight, but Leeds aren’t at the summit anymore after losing 1-0 to Charlton on Saturday.
Leeds dropped to fourth on the back of that and could fall out of the top six if they lose tonight and other results go against them. The fast start to the season has been halted and it’s time to build up a run of results again. West Brom will be a tough challenge but Leeds tend to rise to these occasions and beat the Baggies 4-0 in this fixture last season. What the fans would give for a repeat of that.
Ahead of the Tuesday evening game – here are the MOT talking points:
1. Costa must step it up
We’ve seen flashes of brilliance from Helder Costa, most notably when he combined with Eddie Nketiah twice to create simpe tap-in goals. But he got his first start in the Championship against Charlton and he didn’t look anything like a £15m winger. It wasn’t just him. Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison were really poor in the game, too, but Leeds have committed big money to buy Costa. With Leeds missing Pablo Hernandez again tonight, Costa really needs to bring a big game to Elland Road. We want to see the sort of forward play and accurate crosses that got Leeds fans so excited when he signed from Wolves in the summer.
2. Bamford must take his chances
How long before Marcelo Bielsa loses faith in his striker of choice? When he was subbed off with the score at 0-0 against Barnsley, Eddie Nketiah came on and scored before winning a penalty that Mateusz Klich converted for a 2-0 victory. Bielsa publically backed him after the game saying, “He’s a great centre-forward. In every match he has four or five chances to score. Before or later he will improve his efficiency.” His efficiency needs to improve now. He’s blanked in the last four and while we think he’ll get the nod again tonight – Bielsa will be expecting a different sort of game from an attacking West Brom and Bamford knows his system better than Nketiah – another blank in the first 45 minutes could see the young Arsenal loanee added to the fray. Leeds are creating chances. They’re not scoring enough goals or hitting the target with enough shots. Bamford has been known to go on goal-scoring runs – we need one of them now.
3. Fans can make a difference
There are no fans better than the Leeds fans for a big game like this. The noise will be deafening at Elland Road and the fans know they can make a difference. That goes both ways, though. After the missed penalty at Derby the air was sucked out of the ground and nerves in the stands seemed to be picked up by the players. The fans’ job tonight is to keep the volume up whatever happens on the pitch. West Brom will bring a decent number and the atmosphere should be rocking. The Leeds fans can help swing the game towards the home side.