Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Leeds United Star Confirm Unavailability For The Next Game: A Massive Blow For Marcelo Bielsa?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Leeds United star Rodrigo has been ruled out in the next game after contracting Covid-19. “Unfortunately, I have tested positive for Covid-19 after being in contact with a family member that had been infected without us knowing. As per the protocol, I will be self-isolating and will miss the game with Crystal Palace.”, he said, in an official statement, in what could come as a massive blow for Marcelo Bielsa.

Rodrigo’s Importance In Leeds United’s First Team

After a slow start to the campaign, Rodrigo has really become a vital cog in the Leeds United attack, especially in recent weeks. He initially showcased his performance in the draw with Manchester City, where he scored the equalising goal.

It was followed by an impressive display in the defeat to Wolves before the Spaniard starred in the fantastic 3-0 win over Aston Villa, where he showed glimpses of his incredible technical prowess and an ability to work his way around tight spaces – something that has been useful for a Leeds United attack, who rely more on powering wingers like Jack Harrison.

Another reason why Rodrigo is key for Leeds United is his experience. Unlike Patrick Bamford, he has the pedigree at the highest level of football and can always offer reliability in the final third.

Here's Why Leeds United Will Miss Rodrigo Against Crystal Palace - A huge blow for Bielsa.
Leeds United v Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League 19/10/2020. Leeds United forward Rodrigo Moreno 20 during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road, Leeds, England on 19 October 2020. Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See www.football-dataco.com PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK , Copyright: xSimonxDaviesx PSI-10845-0043

Here’s Why Leeds United Will Miss Rodrigo Against Crystal Palace

Rodrigo’s absence against Crystal Palace will be a massive blow for Bielsa. We already witnessed how Jamie Shackleton struggled to provide the goods in the recent defeat to Leicester City and more importantly, Bamford’s finishing has been awful in front of goal.

Rodrigo, in that regard, would have offered creative support using his immense technical prowess and ability to find passes in and around the final third. In addition, the 29-year-old’s goalscoring record in the past means he can also offer himself as a scoring option going forward which could be useful when coming up against a Palace side who usually like to remain solid at the back.

What Does Bielsa Need To Do To Properly Replace Him?

Bielsa certainly needs to find a decent alternative for Rodrigo if he is to succeed against Palace. Pablo Hernandez showed promising signs with his performance against Leicester City, but Shackleton clearly needs to be removed from the starting lineup, in favour of the more experienced Mateusz Klich. The Pole is much more useful in the advanced midfield role, as it could help Hernandez focus more on the offensive side of things.

Unfortunately, Kalvin Phillips is expected to remain absent until the end of the international break, meaning Bielsa will have to make a tough decision of starting with the inexperienced Pascal Struijk in the defensive midfield role. The Dutchman was taken off early against Aston Villa, but his presence in midfield could provide better balance to the Leeds United setup, ultimately allowing Hernandez and Klich to play their natural game.

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