Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Return Of This 29 Y/O Ace Will Boost Leeds United Immensely In Their Promotion Chase

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Despite a blistering start of the campaign, the fear of falling apart is growing among Leeds fans following a series of frustrating outcomes of late. Marcelo Bielsa, the famous Argentine has injected his inventiveness within the squad, but their injury woes and shallowness have troubled the Whites in recent fixtures. The fierce fight for grabbing a Premier League promotion is getting sterner every gameweek, and the great West Yorkshire side must find a way out to draw an end to their Championship misfortune.

Their frailty at the back, especially while defending corners, has been exposed time and again. Even in their last home outing against Nottingham Forest where Stuart Dallas, the makeshift left fullback, was at fault in Jack Robinson’s early opener. They conceded twice versus Blackburn Rovers in a similar fashion, and the absence of Barry Douglas was felt thoroughly during this challenging period. The Scotsman had been out with a hamstring strain but is now back in action after weeks of recovery and is believed to resolve an array of concerns in upcoming fixtures.

Although Leeds earned stability since Garry Monk took over a couple of years back, the left-back role has always been under scrutiny following some bizarre experiments and flop signings. Gaetano Berardi, predominantly a right fullback or centre-half, did well down the left-hand side but his injury saw midfielder Vurnon Anita being deployed in a makeshift role which barely worked out for the Whites.

The low-key signing of Laurens De Bock did not help them either, but a summer deal for the ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers left-back turned out to be an absolute bargain following a stupendous start with pinpoint crosses, link-up football and assists from the wide. Douglas played a significant role last term in Wolves’ Premier League promotion and his early weeks at Leeds indicated a similar influence in Bielsa’s 4-1-4-1 setup.

El Loco is lauded for his creative team formations and strategic masterclass that make him one of the pioneers of modern-day football. But he needs resources which suit in his system and Douglas is indubitably the one who allows Bielsa to do experiments to figure out the best possible gameplan.

The gaffer attained epitome of success in his distinct managerial regime, and a famous 3-3-3-1 or 3-3-1-3 brought him recognition for his ingenuity and unorthodox approach towards the game. Barry Douglas can be lined up as an inverted wingback too following his successful stint last season under Nuno Espirito Santo (who prefer a 3-4-3). His return, therefore, must be a breath of fresh air for Leeds fans who have been anxious in the aftermath of a string of underwhelming outings.

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