David Prutton: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa has Eddie Nketiah and Patrick Bamford just where he wants them

WE were chatting before Leeds United’s game at Wigan Athletic last weekend discussing whether or not Eddie Nketiah should start.

By David Prutton
Friday, 23rd August 2019, 6:39 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd August 2019, 7:39 pm
DREAM START: For Leeds United's Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah, pictured in action against Brentford and Pontus Jansson in Wednesday night's 1-0 win against the Bees. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.
DREAM START: For Leeds United's Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah, pictured in action against Brentford and Pontus Jansson in Wednesday night's 1-0 win against the Bees. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.

But then Patrick Bamford popped up with a brace.

Nketiah then scored just four minutes after coming on to seal Wednesday night’s 1-0 win at home to Brentford and whether Nketiah now starts or not probably depends on the formation.

We know the formation that Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa likes to play or his favoured way of playing which is with one up front but now there is a situation of trying to get two players on the pitch that are central minded attacking players.

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But if it’s still Nketiah or Bamford then you have got to go on form and I think Patrick probably just edges it.

Eddie’s goals return in terms of minutes on the pitch is fantastic so far and he is doing his utmost to play his way into the side.

All he can do is score goals which is fantastic way of staking of your claim.

If it keeps Patrick on his toes and scoring goals then that probably leaves Marcelo having it exactly as he wants it.

I think it would be dangerous for Marcelo to change the formation to play two up front when Leeds are winning because that then becomes a redundant statement and changing the formation for change’s sake.

Bielsa is far too thorough and far too meticulous to just say ‘sod it, we are going to do this for this week.’

But Bielsa will have looked at and learned from last season and pinpointed where the little bits and pieces of the season could be improved, maybe looking at playing with a different shape at times or in having to fill gaps when players are injured.

To have players of that standard like Eddie who is ready and raring to go means that attack-wise hopefully they have got the bases covered.

Last season we saw Patrick come in and out and Kemar Roofe come in and out.

Obviously you have got to look at the defensive side of the game as well but if Bamford and Nketiah can stay fit then maybe you have got two strikers there that will score that many goals that defensive concerns are really kind of minimised.

There already seems to be a big buzz about Leeds again following the three wins and a draw at the start of the season which had the Whites top of the table heading into the weekend.

Is it too early to get excited? If you are a fan then not at all!

That’s what football is all about and what every new season is about, fresh hope of going one better than how agonisingly close they went before.

I wouldn’t blame fans for getting excited.

They turn up in huge numbers at Elland Road and also away from home and make a hell of a load of noise pushing this team on and the team will only thrive off that type of energy and enthusiasm that the Leeds crowd bring.

Being a bit more pragmatic, it is wonderful that Leeds have started so well, but my gosh, the season is a marathon with so many games and so many dynamics.

I have not had a chance to watch much of the Take Us Home: Leeds United documentary which covers last season’s events but if they want to make sure that they don’t get carried away then there is nearly six hours of TV there that you can sit down with.

We all know it was a wonderful season that didn’t end in promotion and that is something that Leeds fans have become far too accustomed to hearing at the end of a very long slog and devoted season travelling around the country with the team.

They want to go one better and they deserve to go one better but quite honestly how many other teams could you say that about in the Championship?

If you put the right amount of time and effort and ability into it then any team could go up.

Stoke City are next for Leeds and with the way that both teams have started then even if you are a die-hard Stoke fan then you’d expect Leeds to go there and win. You absolutely would.

I saw Stoke on Wednesday night against Preston and Stoke fans might point to the fact that they played some nice football at times and that they have been unlucky with hitting the woodwork.

But individual errors are absolutely killing them and from experienced players like Jack Butland, though the defence in front of him was all over the place and the midfield in front of that was virtually non existent from a defensive point of view.

Marcelo will have seen it and analysed it and he will make sure there is a plan A to F to be able to beat a team such as Stoke but he will also realise that when you look down at their team sheet, big names do stand out.

What Leeds have got to be wary of is that at some stage you do feel that Stoke have got to click into gear and also because of manager Nathan Jones and his position there.

They owe him a big performance and Leeds must not take this one lightly at all.