Leeds United 2 (Nketiah 84, Klich pen 89)
It is hard to write about anything else other than the inevitable Leeds United social media debate this week; Is Marcelo Bielsa right to continue to start with Harrison and Bamford or have Costa and Nketiah shown they deserve to be given the chance to play from the start? In my opinion they have!
It’s a difficult question. On the one hand who can argue with Bielsa’s strategy when we’ve brought the pair on and won the game? Surely the strategy has worked? On the other hand, would it have been any easier a victory had we started them both? Had we started them against Swansea would we have won that game?
What is incontrovertible is that Costa and Nketiah frighten the life out of defences and have now proved this for the umpteenth time this season with Eddie grabbing his 6th goal in eight appearances this season including his England Under 21 adventures ; his tally for Leeds is now 4 goals in 246 minutes on the pitch! That’s the equivalent of just 2.7 full games! I have a feeling that when Derby rock up at Elland Road on Saturday and the Leeds starting XI is announced, it will, once again, be the same side we saw start today… but I honestly don’t think that is the starting XI that gives us the best chance. For me, Costa and Nketiah have to start, let’s at least see if we can get an early goal for once and see if that releases the floodgates. To continue using them both as late substitutes risks not giving them enough time to work their magic as we saw v the Swans.
Other than that, we saw a fairly typical Leeds United Championship performance today; we bossed the possession as always, had 21 pops at goal but got just 7 of those on target and scored twice; one of those the Klich penalty (created of course by the run of that man Nketiah…) Barnsley worked tirelessly, another bang average Championship side that set out to press us high up the pitch and get behind the ball to try to frustrate our Bielsaball soccer whilst always looking for that one moment of magic or defensive slip that would allow them to steal all the points. At the 84 minute mark they had almost succeeded at least in nicking one point. I’m convinced that had Nketiah not arrived on the pitch they’d have got their nil – nil draw, but that’s that same argument again. For Leeds Kalvin Phillips celebrated his new extended contract with a Perlo-esque display while every Leeds player was solid in their work. Perhaps Pablo was again more quiet than we’d have liked but other than that, no complaints.
Leeds are back to the top of the table – 16 points from 7 outings and that is right on target for promotion. That’s why it’s so hard to criticise what Bielsa and his lads have achieved. Could it be even better? We’ll never know!
Barnsley Leeds Utd
Possession 33% 67%
Shots 17 21
On Target 6 7
Corners 5 9
Fouls Committed 11 11