Spotlight on 'man of the match' Tyler Roberts in dual Leeds United roles against Chelsea

MARCELO Bielsa kept the faith with Tyler Roberts in Leeds United's clash against Chelsea and the Wales international responded with a man of the match display in two different roles.

By Lee Sobot
Saturday, 13th March 2021, 5:05 pm

Roberts came into the Whites starting XI in last month's clash at Wolves as head coach Bielsa looked to find the best option in the no 10 role in the absence of record signing Rodrigo due to a hamstring injury.

Roberts then started United's next three games but failed to really excel and Rodrigo returned from injury when replacing him as a 60th-minute substitute in Monday night's 2-0 loss at West Ham.

But the Wales international was again given the nod as United's attacking midfielder from the outset in Saturday's clash against Chelsea at Elland Road and Roberts was extremely unlucky not to bag his first Premier League goal as part of a strong all round display.

CHANCE TO IMPRESS: For Leeds United's Tyler Roberts, centre, in Saturday's clash against Chelsea at Elland Road. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images.

Starting as the no 10 behind Patrick Bamford, his best moment arrived in the 15th minute when the 22-year-old combined on the edge of the box with Bamford before producing a deft chip which would have floated into the top right corner but for a superb save from Edouard Mendy who tipped his effort on to the crossbar.

Roberts was desperately unlucky and actually had the ball in the net eight minutes earlier when putting himself in the right place at the right time to tap home Bamford's cross only for Bamford to have earlier been offside.

Roberts had looked in good fettle from the early stages of the game as he produced a neat lob to find Raphinha in he fourth minute and then a strong tackle moments later.

His second half of the opening period was less impressive as Roberts was tackled when looking to make inroads down the right before putting too much power on a pass aimed for Jack Harrison down the opposite flank.

The ball sailed behind for a goal kick and Roberts was then booked a minute later for standing on Jorginho's leg as part of his follow through from a challenge.

That also looked unlucky but Roberts then produced more good defensive work when heading clear a corner, shortly before Bamford was forced off injured.

That meant Rodrigo coming on as the lone striker which left Roberts looking fairly sure to play the full remainder of the game.

And after a quiet end to the half, Roberts produced more impressive moments in the second half in which he played more as a 9 as Rodrigo this time dropped in behind.

The second of Roberts' two attempts at goal arrived four minutes after the restart but after a neat piece of control and turn, the Wales international failed to properly test Mendy when cutting in from the left and shooting fairly tamely at the 'keeper.

Roberts also sent over a fine cross field pass for Raphinha on the mark and a neat turn and pass to again find the Brazilian winger in the 70th minute before Raphinha was fouled.

An assist was nearly in the offing in the 70th minute as Roberts found Diego Llorente on the edge of the box with a pull back but Llorente's shot was deflected over the bar.

Roberts then had less of an impact in the closing stages but that reflected the contest as a whole as the game fizzled out towards a goalless draw.

Yet Roberts was named BT Sport's man of the match by Steve McManaman, a player who knew all about offering attacking prowess during his own career.

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Thank you Laura Collins