Leeds United will host Fulham on Saturday hoping to bounce back to winning ways following a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Cardiff City last weekend. The Whites looked very chaotic and lacked productivity in the previous game, and as they look to keep up with league leaders West Bromwich Albion, a win could be critical.
And in this article, we will discuss three tactical decisions Marcelo Bielsa should make against Fulham to ensure a victory for Leeds United this weekend.
A deeper role for Mateusz Klich
In the game against Cardiff City, the chronic lack of passing options at the back, especially with both fullbacks foraging forward, was seemingly evident. In fact, both of Cardiff’s goals stemmed from individual errors from Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper respectively. And Fulham will also be keen on utilising Leeds’ weakness in the build-up by employing a high press.
That’s where Mateusz Klich come into the fray. The Pole primarily operated as an attacking midfielder in the last game. But, his passing range and experience could be useful for the Whites in the build-up play.
So essentially, it means Bielsa should look to deploy Klich in a deeper role, perhaps forming a double-pivot with Phillips and him starting at the base of the formation. It should allow not only Phillips but also the central defenders to circulate the ball more efficiently, thus making it easy for Leeds to navigate through opposition’s first line of press.
Attacking from central areas of the pitch
Leeds United’s lack of productivity in the final third has been rather evident this season. Their main striker Patrick Bamford, in particular, lacks the physical capacity as well as the aggression necessary to thrive in the club’s more wing-oriented approach that focuses on whipping in crosses from the wider areas of the pitch.
In Michael Hector and Tim Ream, Fulham also have tall centre-backs who are ready to minimise the attacking potential of Bamford. Hence, attacking from more central areas of the pitch, through clever one-touch passing and efficient use of half-spaces should aid Leeds United this weekend as they aim to breach the opposing defence this weekend.
Tyler Roberts, who showed some promise last time out, could be essential in this system while Phillips’ brilliant range of passing could also play a key role in unlocking the Fulham defence from central areas or half-spaces.
Replacing Helder Costa with Ian Poveda
Helder Costa was, no doubt, a spark against Cardiff City in the last game. However, one would argue that the Portuguese attacker was far too predictable with his offensive runs, often moving in centrally or whipping in crosses from the byline. Bielsa, therefore, could fancy an alternative in the shape of Ian Poveda.
The young winger, on loan from Manchester City, is an exciting attacker known for his dynamism and trickery on the flanks. He can provide a sense of unpredictability in the Leeds United attack. Also, Poveda has the pace that could add more threat on the counter while his ability to move inside and hover around the edge of the box should keep the Fulham defenders occupied.