A 5-1 defeat is not the ideal start to the season, that much is clear. The task for Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds now is to dust themselves down and go again but the question remains, does Bielsa stick or twist where team selection is concerned? It was a humbling defeat for him and his side but does he need to make wholesale changes or does he trust his last eleven once again?
You might have guessed based on the title that I believe Bielsa will make one or two changes to try and get the Whites back on track.
So, here’s the three players I think Bielsa will drop after the mauling in Manchester.
This is perhaps the most obvious one. It’s nothing against Koch, the German is a sturdy centre-back but appeared unsettled in midfield at Old Trafford which is not entirely his fault. After all he’s used to playing in the back four rather than at the base of midfield. After being named on the bench on Saturday, Kalvin Phillips, fresh off the back of a superb summer tournament with England, will come back into the side and his return will likely revitalise Leeds. After all he is the fulcrum of this Leeds United side.
Many believed Leeds United’s eleven appeared unbalanced at Old Trafford on Saturday. A lot of that was down to the fact Leeds lacked midfielders. Kalvin Phillips’ return will help that against Everton but Rodrigo isn’t a natural centre mid and asking him to play that role against a Rafa Benitez team is asking for trouble. Elsewhere on Saturday, the Whites were forced to name Stuart Dallas at left-back. Dallas is outstanding wherever he plays, but perhaps playing in that role limited what he could contribute against Man United. Bielsa will want to get more out of Dallas and a move into midfield will do just that as Rodrigo drops out and exciting new signing Junior Firpo comes into the side at left-back.
Wonder goal aside, many questioned Luke Ayling’s performance against Manchester United. He was found out again and again in defence as the Red Devils scored five goals. With superb youngster Cody Drameh waiting in the wings, Ayling could lose his place in the side following his disappointing showing at Old Trafford as Bielsa tests the quality of Drameh at the highest level.