Leeds United are seeking a return to winning ways when they visit Newcastle on Wednesday, and Matuesz Klich is key to their chances of success.
It is little surprise that the Whites dip in form has coincided with some poor displays from Klich, with the Poland international’s absence keenly felt against Crawley.
He underperformed against Brighton, too, giving away possession on 19 occasions according to SofaScore.
Klich failed to get his team moving the ball as effectively as he normally does, achieving just 75% pass accuracy against Brighton, and we need him to improve in that aspect at St. James’ Park.
Kalvin Phillips’ return from suspension will be key and should aid him, but Klich has the ability to change his own fortunes.
This season his performances have been overlooked according to Sky Sports pundit and former Leeds player David Prutton, who claimed Klich is an “unsung hero”.
In reality he has been one of our best performers, producing five assists and 1.9 key passes per game (WhoScored), the second-highest return of any Whites player.
It is that ability to carve teams open that will prove particularly useful against Newcastle.
Steven Bruce has operated with three centre-backs in ten league games this season, and after 4-4-2 led to failure against Arsenal he is likely to return to a defensive approach.
Patrick Bamford risks being outnumbered, so getting players forward is essential for Leeds.
Even then the side could struggle due to a lack of space, and therefore Klich’s intricate passing could come into play.
The 30-year-old has created three big chances this term, and we are reliant on him to perform in that area to secure the win.
If that fails, Klich should at least maintain possession well, enabling our fluid style to draw opposition players out of position.
That could create the necessary space for Bamford, Jack Harrison and Raphinha to exploit, which hopefully leads to goals and our first win of 2021.
In other Leeds United news, Simon Jordan makes £100m Leeds transfer claim on talkSPORT after 49ers announcement.