Bielsa delivers good news on Phillips and Rodrigo

20 Nov 2020 08:24 pm, by YorkshireSquare

There is a versatility and adaptability to Marcelo Bielsa’s teams which make them far greater than the sum of their parts. Individuals are capable of covering multiple positions; Luke Ayling can cover centre back, Pablo Hernandez can be deployed out on the right of midfield and Stuart Dallas can play, well just about anywhere. As with any experience craps player, Marcelo Bielsa rolls the dice with his team selections and moves players around to fill the gaps. He could increase his odds of success thanks to casinohuone bonus with free spins on the wheel of chance. But there is always one position Leeds struggle with, one player they miss the most, Kalvin Phillips. Having picked up a shoulder against Wolves at Elland Road last month, Phillips has missed the last three games.

Leeds had got off to a good start without the young defensive midfielder. After Pascal Struijk kicked Aston Villa’s playmakers in the opening twenty minutes, Mateusz Klich and Jamie Shackleton dominated the midfield and were a large factor in the three-nil victory. It wasn’t to last though and 4-1 defeats against Leicester and Crystal Palace followed. The sit back and counter attacking style of play from those teams caught Leeds at their most vulnerable, without Kalvin Phillips in the side. Who can say if the results may have been different with Phillips, but was is for certain is that he is vital to breaking down opposition breaks.

But Marcelo Bielsa delivered some good news at Friday’s press conference, revealing that the midfielder is fit and will probably start against Arsenal on Sunday. It wasn’t the only piece of good news though, record signing Rodrigo has also completed his period of quarantine following a positive Covid-19 test and returned to training at Thorp Arch on Tuesday. Rodrigo did not suffer any adverse effects from the virus but having not trained properly for the past two weeks he may not be in a position to start against Arsenal but is likely to make an appearance at some time.

After an uncertain start on the opening day of the season, giving away a penalty at Anfield, Rodrigo made his impact in the second half against Manchester City. A thirty-four-minute performance in which he created chances and scored the all-important equaliser. Rodrigo slotted into the No 10 role against Wolves and Aston Villa and has quickly became a vital cog in the Bielsa machine. His return is a huge boost, alongside Phillips he has become the heartbeat of the side with a lot of the positive things that Leeds do go through him. Marcelo Bielsa openly admitted that both players have qualities 'difficult to find'.

The news from Thorp Arch wasn’t all good though, with fresh injuries to concern Marcelo Bielsa. Talismanic playmaker Pablo Hernandez is suffering from a muscle injury having missed the last match after a disagreement with Marcelo Bielsa. He joins Diego Llorente, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from a groin strain, and Jamie Shackleton who has picked up a quad issue on the injury list. Adam Forshaw also remains unavailable for selection as he undergoes a long and difficult recovery from hip surgery earlier this year. The new on Llorente wasn’t too bad, following a relapse in the first training session back he is now back on the grass and likely to be playing again soon.

Bielsa will still face selection issues on Sunday with Hernandez and Shackleton missing but having Phillips and Rodrigo at his disposal again is a huge boost.