Frank Lampard faces his first ever home game as a head-coach tomorrow and Marcelo Bielsa his first ever away game as a coach in England. Leeds have issues with the squad because it’s very small, but now packed with quality which is the opposite to last season.
Last week the team did so well it’s hard to think that any of them won’t be involved. There will be at least one new player in the squad tomorrow, Stuart Dallas will be out for a few weeks meaning a chance for one of the young players. Conor Shaughnessy, Oriol Rey, Jamie Shackleton and Tom Pearce will all want to get in and take the final spot.
GK – Baily Peacock-Farrell – The clear number one as things stand and having Jamal Blackman on his heels is brilliant for him and the team in general. He’s done well to get through the summer as the number one and he was as steady as they come on Sunday.
RB – Luke Ayling – The only criticism of Luke Ayling on Sunday from me was a few stray passes, not much to think or worry about. Defensively he was solid and linked up with the players in front of him all day. Great to have him back after last season.
CB – Gaetano Berardi – The myth that Berardi can’t play out from the back has evaporated after pre-season and indeed Sunday. Apart from one slip he was brilliant. Will be hard to drop him if he plays like this, he actually looks better at centre-back.
CB – Liam Cooper – Captain and a “great” one according to Marcelo Bielsa. Although I feel like Pontus Jansson should be playing Liam Cooper doesn’t deserve to be dropped, the same as Gaetano Berardi. He needs to become a consistent player.
LB – Barry Douglas – A class act last weekend and a great example for the other new players. Took everything on board and was such an expressive player. A weapon that needs to be used at set-pieces.
DM – Kalvin Phillips – Phillips had one of his best games in a Leeds shirt last week and was a key part of the system implemented by Marcelo Bielsa. He looked comfortable and composed on the ball and put himself about for the 90 minutes.
CM – Mateusz Klich – The link. Breaks forward and works back. gets on the ball and makes sure that everyone has an easy pass on if needed. Had a wonderful game last week and was my man of the match. A huge season awaits.
CAM – Samu Saiz – If he plays well, we play well. One of his best games for Leeds last week, everything went through him and it’s great to see he has that swagger back. Get him on the ball between the lines.
RW – Pablo Hernandez – Probably the unsung hero last week. I didn’t think too much about him directly after the game but as the weeks gone on and I’ve watched it back it’s become clear he was brilliant.
LW – Gjanni Alioksi – As I watched Alioski in pre-season I thought he had stalled massively. He had flopped in the latter half of last season but he seemed like a new player last week. His end-product was great and he actually looked confident on the ball, not just off it.
ST – Kemar Roofe – It has to be doesn’t it? Roofe won the man of the match last week and that was due to his graft and clever runs. The use of his body is highly effective and low centre of gravity helps him twist and turn in tight areas.