Athletic journalist Phil Hay thinks that vital Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips will be missing for the game against Arsenal on Sunday.
And he thinks that if this is confirmed later on today in Marcelo Bielsa’s press conference, it will involve ripping up the backline to cover him.
He thinks 21-year-old Pascal Struijk will be the man to step up, with Rodrigo also missing for Sunday’s game.
The status of Phillips for Sunday’s game was discussed on the latest episode of the Phil Hay Show podcast.
“There are only six words I want to hear come out of your filthy mouth now Phil Hay please,” said host Dan Moylan, “and they are Kalvin Phillips is fit for Sunday.”
“We will speak to Bielsa Friday lunchtime,” Hay said. “I would be surprised, to be honest.
‘I seriously don’t think it’s a massive issue but it sounds like he’s doubtful for this weekend.
“Bielsa will tell us for sure but if he is out I won’t be shocked.
“If Phillips is missing that makes a difference because that probably means Struijk moving into that area and then you’re pulling Luke Ayling across from right-back and suddenly there’s a lot of shifting about.
“Rodrigo won’t be fit so he’s a bit light on numbers is Bielsa, there are a fair few absentees.”
Phillips the problem that keeps giving
Phillips is a real miss for Leeds.
It’s not just the qualities that he brings to the party, it’s the knock-on effects it has to the rest of the team.
Robin Koch was the player who was signed as cover for Phillips but he’s out until the spring.
That means Pascal Struijk being pulled out of centre-back, where he’s finally started looking comfortable alongside Liam Cooper.
Struijk has looked out of his depth in the holding midfield role but what other options does Bielsa have?
He could move Mateusz Klich back but he hasn’t looked great in that holding midfield role, and with Rodrigo out that would create problems further forward.
It’s frustrating as with Thomas Partey out we think Arsenal are there for the taking.
If Phillips’ absence is confirmed we’re not going to be as confident about coming back with all three points.
In other Leeds United news, Report: Leeds & Spurs in battle for exciting £15m int’l winger who can also play as a striker