A 2-0 win against Barnsley at Oakwell restored Leeds United’s top of the table spot on Sunday afternoon, but the scoresheet does not reflect the real picture of the match. The Whites could have lost the tie if there was no Kiko Casilla in goal and undoubtedly Eddie Nketiah who came, saw and conquered it in the closing minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute.
The red-hot form continues for the Arsenal loanee who not only converted Kalvin Phillip’s delivery but also won a spot-kick late in the fixture. Mateusz Klich made no mistake in making it count and the Yorkshire giants secured all three points on the road shaking off the disappointment of the Swansea City game.
The 20-year-old was brought in place of Patrick Bamford similar to the Swans tie. Although he was wasteful at Elland Road on that occasion, the heroics against the Tykes might just have cemented his place in Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team plans. The gaffer was delighted for the young sensation and termed him as a complete player (as quoted by the Mirror) in his post-match interview.
“Nketiah is a striker who scores goals. Some players get involved a lot in finishing moves, more than creating them. He is a finisher. He has good characteristics to combine with his teammates, to play in this side and give more options. He is a complete player.”
Why Nketiah Should Spearhead Leeds’ Attack Against Derby County
The bitter rivalry of Leeds and Derby was redefined last season amid the ‘Spygate’ row. The Rams were beaten twice by Bielsa’s men in the league, but the then boss Frank Lampard had the last laugh when his side knocked the Whites off the playoffs in their own backyard. Derby, however, failed to overcome Aston Villa’s challenge in the final and their form under Phillip Cocu has been disastrous so far.
Yet the Rams are a tricky opponent considering the experience and quality they have and the veteran Argentine should line up Nketiah from the very beginning of the game given how the striker has attuned to the new surroundings within weeks of his arrival.
The England U21 international has already found the net four times in 6 appearances altogether, and his influence in the Yorkshire derby should be rewarded with more minutes going forward.
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