Leeds United have suffered a slight dip in their form of late as they have dropped some crucial points. However, they haven’t played badly maybe barring the Birmingham City game, and Marcelo Bielsa’s men would be confident of getting all three points when they travel to KCOM Stadium to take on Hull City.
United are dealing with some injuries to their crucial players, and Kemar Roofe particularly has been a big miss up front. He is not expected to be fit for this encounter as well so young Tyler Roberts will once again get a chance to showcase his worth. The Tigers might be struggling but they managed to take a point off Middlesbrough. And for good parts of the game, Nigel Adkins’ side enjoyed more possession and had some decent chances, so even if they are lagging behind at the 21st spot, they shouldn’t be underestimated.
Here are the three things the gaffer can do to get the better of Hull City.
Drop the non-performers
There have been some underwhelming performances by some players of late. Ezgjan Alioski, Bailey Peacock Farrell and Kalvin Phillips have been below par, but it is likely that Bielsa is going to trust them. We believe Adam Forshaw and Stuart Dallas would be better suited to take up the challenge in this game. Dallas was perfect when he came on around the half-hour mark in the Birmingham City game, and he looked threatening, created chances and did his defensive work diligently.
Same cannot be said of Alioski off late as he has often failed to track back, has drifted offside on numerous occasions and the less we talk about his crossing, the better. Forshaw can bring a fresh pair of legs in midfield, and he can replace Phillips in the defensive midfield role.
Dropping Peacock Farrell will be too harsh so we believe Bielsa should at least make two changes for the Hull City encounter.
Mix things up
The Whites have become too predictable when they start off from a goal kick and the opposition are pressing high up the pitch to put pressure on Phillips, Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper. The three have struggled to find their way out from the back on some occasions and have played some loose ball here and there in dangerous positions. They haven’t been punished so far but that day doesn’t seem too far off as sometimes it feels that they are just inviting too much pressure by building up from the back. Going long and direct once in a while would not be a bad option.
Take the time in the final third
Playing quick and moving the ball constantly is definitely one of the elements of ‘Bielsa-ball’ but the gaffer needs to understand that certain players are still not that capable of finding a decisive pass when they play at 100mph. The likes of Saiz, Harrison, Roberts sometimes rush with things in the final third even though they have more time on their hand and as a result, they make the wrong choice which has cost the Whites dearly in the last few games.
United have dominated proceedings but have failed to find the back of the net. So taking a little bit of more time on the ball might sound bad, but that gives the attacker more of a chance to asses his options and choose the right one in the final third.