Patrick Bamford – season review
Patrick Bamford has started all 10 of Leeds’ Championship games this season.
He scored four goals in his first five games but has blanked in the last five and that’s led to some Leeds fans calling for Eddie Nketiah to make his first start in place of him.
So far, though, Bamford has held onto his place and it’s obvious that Marcelo Bielsa admires the forward a lot – enough for him to excuse his conversion rate.
Bamford and Nketiah are different players. Bamford is a good lone man, strong enough to hold the ball up and bring other players into the Leeds attack.
He never shies away from an attempt on goal but he’s never been a prolific scorer. His best returns were 17 from 38 in the 14/15 season for Middlesbrough and his season-best since is 11. He got nine for Leeds in 18/19 but he only played 22 games through injury. If he’d played the full 46 he might have been nudging 20.
However, that’s in a Leeds side that’s creating bucket loads of chances. Last season Teemu Pukki scored 29 for Norwich, Tammy Abraham got 25 for Aston Villa and both of those sides were promoted. Nine players scored above 20 goals.
It’s a real problem for Leeds that we can’t brush under the carpet because there’s so much else to admire in Bamford’s game.
That side of things was most in evidence against West Brom on Tuesday and the result might have been different but for Bamford’s heroics.
He held the ball up brilliantly and intelligently when his side were creaking under the weight of a West Brom attack in the last 20 minutes that Bielsa said was “not normal”.
The point remains though that he should have more goals this season. According to WyScout, his xG (expected goals) is 6.48. Extrapolate that for a full season of 46 games and Bamford should be scoring 30 goals. That’s a lot but it’s not far off what a good frontman should be scoring for a Leeds side that dominates most games.
If Bamford can start scoring – and we think he plays again against Millwall on Saturday – then he could go on a tear and live up to his potential. If not, there will have to come a time when the judgment goes from “could do better” to “deserves to be dropped”. That time hasn’t come yet.