Leeds United are coming to tonight’s game on the back of a defeat against Birmingham City where they suffered their first loss of the league season. The Whites were struck twice in the first half an hour, and they couldn’t pull off a comeback and managed to get just one goal back in the later stages. Manager Marcelo Bielsa took the blame entirely for the loss and said that he had made a tactical error. Kalvin Phillips was chucked out of the game around the half hour mark after United were 2-0 down and Stuart Dallas was brought in his place.
The more experienced Northern Irish midfielder held his own even though he hasn’t played regularly this season because of injuries and we are of the opinion that the 27-year-old should start against Sheffield Wednesday. However, that doesn’t seem like happening as the former Argentine manager has already announced that he is going to name an unchanged side and Phillips will once again start just in front of the back four.
The youngster has done well so far in the season, but we feel it’s time for Bielsa to rotate his players here. Injuries have restricted his options, but even when specific options have been available, the Argentine manager has gone in with the same team. The vigours of playing every Tuesday and Saturday has already caught up with the team as quite a few first eleven players are nursing various injuries.
Phillips is a good distributor of the ball, and he often falls back deep to take the ball from his defenders and start off the play from deep positions. However, when the youngster has been pressed high up the pitch and has not been given that time to sit on the ball, the 21-year-old has struggled. Defensively Phillips reads the game well, but he doesn’t have that work rate that Stuart Dallas can provide.
Dallas played just an hour of the last game but made three key passes which was only surpassed by Ezgjan Alioksi’s four who played the full 90 minutes. The midfielder took two decent shots as well and put in some crucial tackles and interceptions. Therefore from the pieces of evidence of that game, Dallas should be starting ahead of Phillips.
There seems to be no plan B for United at the moment, and the opposition are already aware of what sort of game plan the Whites are going to use. Jos Luhukay has seen certain teams put them under pressure by pressing high and if the Owls are brave, they can do that again when they take the field at Hillsborough.
Showing confidence and backing a particular player is not a bad thing but Dallas should be disappointed that his performance in the last game is not being rewarded with a start.
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