MOT View: Bielsa to recall 21y/o, star man played OoP – Strongest possible Leeds XI v Newcastle
It’s a big game for Leeds United tonight. Two defeats in a row and just one win in the last six is a run that needs to be arrested.
Newcastle at home is the perfect opportunity to get three points.
Leeds have issues at the back with Robin Koch out until Spring and Diego Llorente a couple of games away from coming back from his own injury.
A more tactical problem comes from set-pieces. Leeds conceded the goals from a corner and a free-kick against West Ham and they’ve now conceded the joint-most from set-pieces in the Premier League.
For that reason, we think Bielsa should recall 21-year-old Pascal Struijk. He’s been pulled from pillar to post this season but he brings height into the Leeds backline and that’s what we need at the moment.
Playing him at centre-back also means that Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling can go back to where they’re most comfortable, marauding up and down the flanks.
It’s also time to rest Helder Costa and Jack Harrison. Both have seen an alarming slump in form.
Pablo Hernandez is back and fit after playing a brilliant 45 minutes for the Under-23s on Sunday.
We want to see him back in the side from the start – Leeds win more games when he’s playing – and that will see club-record signing Rodrigo play out of position on the right, with Raphinha on the left.
Hat-trick Bamford will start up top.
The beauty of this line-up is that it gives Bielsa a huge amount of attacking options if needed, with Ian Poveda, Harrison, Costa and Tyler Roberts on the bench.
We need three points tonight – this is how we get them.
In other Leeds United news, Bielsa’s revenge as Athletic journalist claims Leeds have broken Chelsea