Eddie Nketiah and Patrick Bamford together, options out wide and unbeatable Kiko Casilla - Leeds United Talking Points

AFTER seeing Leeds United held to a goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday, the YEP's Lee Sobot looks at a few key talking points from Saturday's clash at Hillsborough.

Sunday, 27th October 2019, 11:11 am
Updated Sunday, 27th October 2019, 12:25 pm
SOMEHOW DENIED: Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford heads back across goal only to be thwarted by Owls keeper Keiren Westwood. Picture by James Hardisty.

Is it time for Nketiah and Bamford together?

Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa again kept the faith with Patrick Bamford in the lone striker role despite the forward missing several very good goalscoring chances in Tuesday night's draw at Preston North End.

Bielsa gave a lengthy explanation as to why in his pre-match press conference, highlighting Bamford's hold up play and overall contribution in starting Whites attacks, even if unable to finish them.

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Bamford again worked hard in the first half at Hillsborough and the striker was extremely unlucky not to score just before the interval when his header was kept out by a terrific save by Keiren Westwood.

But that was that for Bamford who was then taken off for Nketiah during the break who this time was unable to make the breakthrough that he made at Deepdale.

Despite Nketoah working hard, Bamford's hold up play was sorely missed but after a quiet opening Nketiah gradually began to threaten with his skill and movement to set up Jack Harrison's chance quite terrific.

Nketiah can't hold the ball up quite like Bamford does but he has a fine knack of creating a chance from nothing.

In short, Leeds could do with a bit of both and with one or the other not really working at Hillsborough perhaps now is the time to start both together for the first time and Bamford could be well worth a go as a no 10.

Tyler Roberts and Jack Clarke

Bielsa was fairly quick to make his first change at Hillsborough with Nketiah on at the break and with Leeds struggling to unlock the Owls, it seemed likely that either substitute attacking threats Tyler Roberts or Jack Clarke would be brought on soon after.

Instead, returning skipper and centre back Liam Cooper was introduced for a disappointing Helder Costa with 14 minutes left with Stuart Dallas shifting forward as Luke Ayling moved from being one of three centre backs to a right wing back.

Dallas looked lively and the Northern Ireland international seems able to perform effectively just about anywhere but in Roberts and Clarke Leeds had some serious attacking talent on the bench and it was a surprise that was uncalled for, especially in the continued absence of Pablo Hernandez and the sooner he is back the better, comments that also apply to Adam Forshaw and Jamie Shackleton.

On the wingers front, the Whites quickly need more from Costa too given the amount of money being forked out to bring the Portuguese international to Elland Road and it will be interesting to see if there are any changes out wide for Saturday's hosting of QPR for which Leeds will have slid to fifth if the Rs and Bristol City win their fixtures over the next two days.

A point gained? And Kiko Casilla

Whether Saturday's contest was a point gained or two points dropped is open to debate and time well tell on that score, especially in relation to where the Owls finish.

The draw could definitely have been seen as a good point had Leeds not squandered so many goalscoring opportunities and therein points in previous fixtures which rather left it feeling like a win was needed at Hillsborough.

In appalling conditions, class act centre back Ben White - who should have had a first half penalty - saw the outcome as a good point and even if Leeds do fall to fifth the Whites will still only be two points behind leaders West Brom though a decent run of victories will be needed pronto to kick on in the automatic promotion spots.

Back to back home games against QPR and Blackburn Rovers offer Leeds the opportunity to do that but other than the display of White, if there was one other positive from Hillsborough it was the performance of keeper Kiko Casilla.

The triple Champions League winning goalkeeper naturally arrived at Leeds with a big reputation in January but there were a few hair-raising and very costly moments in his first few months.

Casilla will always have you on the edge of your seat with his habit of racing outside of his area as a sweeper keeper though in fairness in recent games that tactic has been used to good effect.

But at Hillsborough it was Casilla's reflexes and shotstopping that came to the fore with the 33-year-old producing some excellent saves to thwart Wednesday and bag United a point.

While big question marks hang over what would be best at the other end, defensively United look in great nick with just eight goals conceded in 14 games - the division's best (Wednesday next with ten) - and Gaetano Berardi also deserves huge credit for his smooth transition to the team in the absence of Cooper.