MOT Super Fans: 25y/o flatters to deceive for Leeds v Sheffield Weds
Are Leeds too reliant on Pablo Hernandez?
The playmaker was referred to as ‘the Spanish sorcerer’ by Sky during the Saturday lunchtime kick-off against Sheffield Wednesday. It’s easy to see why he gets such plaudits. He scored 12 and assisted 12 in what was his personal best season in football last year, on the way to receiving the player of the season award. Some going for a 34-year-old in his 14th season as a professional.
In the six league games without the Spanish midfielder this season, Leeds have won two, drawn two, and lost two. With him, they’ve won five, drawn two, and lost just once. He is the best player in the league on his day in my opinion. Despite losing pace over the years, he’s still got his magical feet.
The former Valencia man has arguably been Leeds’ best player since relegation from the Premier League. His vision and craft in tight games is something Leeds are crying out for. His ability to find pockets of space to open up doors for his teammates is a natural born gift that not many in the Championship possess. This was particularly evident on Saturday with Leeds mustering just nine shots on goal: a season low which fell way below the usual average. Completely out of the ordinary for a Bielsa-managed side.
25-year-old Helder Costa still flatters to deceive. There have certainly been glimpses of that all-out attacking flair with a goal and three assists so far to his name. However, he’s still a way off what Hernandez offers. Perhaps both players in the same side would lessen the burden? We are yet to see that combination from the start of a game so far…
On a brighter note, Ben White was absolutely fantastic yet again. His stock rises dramatically by the game. Arguably now the best Leeds centre-half since the Rio/Radebe days, he’s so composed and reliable. A joy to watch, and utterly immense and commanding for a player of fairly slight stature too. However, Kiko deserves a mention for what was probably his best performance in a Leeds shirt so far. Some simply magnificent saves when it mattered.
A draw was probably a fair result on balance of play. But, Hernandez’s flair and creativity is needed as soon as possible. Let’s hope he’s completely fit and back firing for Saturday at Elland Road against QPR.
In other Leeds news, Exclusive: Paul Robinson on change Bielsa will make when Hernandez is fit for Leeds