On Saturday the biggest winner from Samu Saiz not appearing for Leeds United, the Spaniard in the process of a move back to Spain with Getafe, was Chelsea loanee Lewis Baker. Baker was promoted to the starting line-up for the Whites, after a set of solid displays for the Under-23s.
However, it can be said that Baker didn’t exactly take Saiz’s loss as his gain. In the pouring, biblical rain that accompanied Leeds United’s game at the Macron against Bolton Wanderers, you could make allowances for the less than polished performances from ALL players.
The conditions were always going to be testing, players were always going to look off-kilter to a degree and things were never going to perfectly to plan. That could be seen all over the pitch, everybody struggled.
None more so than Lewis Baker.
Watching him wander around midfield was painful at times. Off the pace, too many missed passes and not enough urgency were par for the Baker course on Saturday afternoon. Thankfully, either through tactical foresight or a lack of patience, Marcelo Bielsa had decided he’d seen enough after 45 minutes.
Baker burned as game is toast
Baker was withdrawn and didn’t reappear for the second-half. Leeds United fans breathed a sigh of relief that was heard all the way back in LS11 and behind the bar at The Peacock. Baker’s game was honestly that ineffective in the opening 45 minutes.
It didn’t help his cause that his replacement was young star-in-the-making Jack Clarke. Clarke came on, Pablo Hernandez moved infield and Leeds kicked on in the second 45. Clarke was rampaging, beating his marker seemingly at will. It was a surging run from the Whites starlet that set up United’s goal.
He burst forward, the ball was threaded infield to Hernandez and the mercurial Spaniard continued to add to his nutmeg bonus by playing the ball through a Bolton defender’s legs for Patrick Bamford. Fresh from a midweek hat-trick for the Under-23s, Bamford didn’t break stride in slotting the ball home.
Now, the question is will Bielsa be all philosophical about Baker’s input to Saturday’s game and play him against Villa? I’m of the opinion that, and many fellow Whites fans agree with me, that it is unlikely that we’ll see Lewis Baker play a part on Saturday.
In fact, the lynch mobs on social media are wanting him summarily shipped off back to parent club Chelsea forthwith.