Patrick Bamford has been a player who has divided opinion among Leeds United supporters all season due to his hot and cold goalscoring form.
In his 38 appearances across all competitions, the 26-year-old has scored 13 goals, with only three of them coming in his last 14 outings.
But despite his form in front of goal not being anywhere near what you’d expect from a striker at the top of the Championship, Marcelo Bielsa has started Bamford in all but two league matches this term – and even they were down to injury.
Bamford’s lack of goals is what leads to a lot of Leeds fans wanting to see other strikers play up front instead of the ex-Middlesbrough man.
Eddie Nketiah, Jean-Kevin Augustin and Tyler Roberts have all been touted to take Bamford’s starting spot up-front but due to different reasons, none of them have been able to do so successfully.
Why does Bielsa do it? Why does Bielsa stick to a striker who is struggling to score when he has other options?
One performance by Bamford in the 3-3 draw against Cardiff City in December could explain why.
Bamford has the ability to produce a masterclass every now and then.
In that six-goal thriller against the Bluebirds at Elland Road, Leeds found themselves three goals ahead in the 52nd minute before the Welsh side’s miraculous comeback late-on.
While many Leeds fans want to forget that match, Bamford’s display is one that shouldn’t be forgotten as he bagged two goals, with one from the penalty spot and another being an example that all young strikers in England should take note of.
As shown in the image below, Bamford’s not exactly in a threatening position when Stuart Dallas crossed the ball into the penalty area.
Bamford is within touching distance of the Cardiff defender and is standing within his peripheral vision.
Once Dallas’ ball is flighted in, the Cardiff defender loses sight of Bamford, who is also tracking the cross but his judgement of it is a lot better.
Bamford takes a step back, controls the ball with his chest and is able to poke a shot into the back of the net to put Leeds 2-0 up.
Bamford was taken off in the 79th minute to be replaced by Nketiah and it is no coincidence that Leeds conceded two goals to lose their lead once that happened.
According to stats by WyScout, Bamford completed 100 per cent of his dribbles, 100 per cent of his offensive duels and 67 per cent of his shots were on target versus Cardiff.
Bamford’s passing accuracy was also up from his season average of 77.4 per cent to 81 per cent.
Even though he’s a centre-forward playing for a team at the top of the Championship, Bamford has had his fair shares of struggles this season but that display against Cardiff was arguably his best of a 2019/20 that is bound to go down in history.
In other Leeds United news, two players have visited Thorp Arch since it was closed.