Leeds United have lots in their favour against Leicester City and time to put round peg in round hole - David Prutton

Leeds United’s clash at Norwich City was never going to be a classic but, for Leeds, it was all about getting the points.

By David Prutton
Friday, 5th November 2021, 4:45 am

The Whites found themselves in a couple of positions where they looked a bit shaky at the back but they managed to ride that out.

Raphinha did what Raphinha does and, while it’s churlish to say a goal in the Premier League is lucky, Tim Krul should have done better with Rodrigo’s shot.

It was just imperative that Leeds got back up the road with three points so, from that point of view, it was job done.

BREAKTHROUGH: Leeds United's star winger Raphinha, left, celebrates putting the Whites in front at Norwich City along with Jack Harrison, right, who started the game upfront. Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images.

But there was lots to work on, as we have seen from plenty of Leeds performances this season.

When Leeds are on song, they are a fantastically explosive and electric team to watch.

That’s not been the case from a fluidity point of view so far this season but it’s important that you think about the season as a whole.

That doesn’t mean lowering expectations but it’s got to be about accruing points.

If it becomes a case of getting to the end of the season and it’s Premier League points over substance and style then I think every single fan would take that.

Patrick Bamford has now missed United’s last seven games and Marcelo Bielsa has tried five different players up front during his absence in Rodrigo, Tyler Roberts, Dan James, Jack Harrison and young Joe Gelhardt from the bench.

From a positional point of view, Gelhardt appears to be the best option because, with the others, it feels like trying to squeeze players into a certain position.

But this is a position that Patrick has made his own and he should be very well respected because of that.

Marcelo has not been able to get tangible minutes on the pitch for Gelhardt so probably still doesn’t know exactly what he is going to get.

Maybe that’s why he is a bit reticent with him.

It’s just imperative that Patrick gets back as soon as possible but also that whoever does play up there knows the role and the way that Patrick does it.

But the cameos I have seen of Gelhardt make me think that, given a longer run in the team, you are possibly going to get that with him.

I feel like he should get more minutes, absolutely. He is a younger player and the path he has taken to get to that team is a bit different but Leeds have got to chuck him in and trust him at some point.

A player such as him needs a run of games, as any player does and as we saw with Patrick. Patrick was persevered with by Marcelo and look what a player he has turned into for Leeds.

Gelhardt is obviously a lot farther back in his journey but he seems to be robust enough to play in the Premier League and goals will come.

When it comes to the battle to stay in the division, Norwich have clearly got one hell of a task on their hands.

With Newcastle, regardless of who they sign in January, they have got a squad that hasn’t been competitive in the Premier League so far this season so they need to do something.

Burnley know how to get out of this position having started seasons like this in recent years and then managing to be home and hosed by Easter/April time.

As much as it is a big historical club, Leeds are in there too and this is still only their second season back in the Premier League.

Watford bounce up and down and with Villa, their two seasons back in the Premier League have been in contrast, fighting to stay up to the end in one and then looking very comfortable in the other.

There are teams in and around and you can go all the way up to Southampton, Crystal Palace, Brentford, maybe even Leicester.

But, apart from Brentford who are going great guns in their first season in the Premier League, those teams all know how to work their way out of trouble and that’s what Leeds have got to do. At least half of the division, if not two thirds, are in that fight to stay in it.

Leeds will take on Leicester at Elland Road on Sunday and the Foxes are only 11th in the table but, with the players they have got, they are an absolute challenge for Leeds.

They only just missed out on qualification for the Champions League last season, finishing fifth, and, on their day, they are a very dangerous side.

Maybe Leeds can take comfort from the fact that Leicester played last night in the Europa League and there will be changes whereas Leeds will see them on Sunday having had a good week of training under Marcelo. But I think it is going to be another very tough game for Leeds.

Jamie Vardy is obviously the main goal threat but they know how to beat not just teams like Leeds but very good teams within their particular ‘division’.

They will be hurting when it comes to what they have experienced over the last couple of games but they have the likes of Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and James Maddison whose free-kick was amazingly saved by Arsenal ’keeper Aaron Ramsdale in their 2-0 defeat at the weekend.

Then there’s Youri Tielemans and there are so many players there that can cause you problems, Ademola Lookman as well.

They have been a little bit inconsistent so far this season but, undoubtedly, it will be a very tough game for Leeds.

Considering that Leicester played last night, it all points to the fact that Leeds can come flying out of the traps and go at a Leicester side that are playing in between the two games that Leeds have played.

They should use that to their advantage and Marcelo will have them primed to hit the ground running up against that type of side with the Elland Road following behind them.

The things that you would want in your favour going into this, Leeds have got so many of those on their side that now it’s up to the players to perform.

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Thank you Laura Collins