Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa should seriously consider ending his run of picking the same starting lineup.
Leeds’ remarkable run of having the same starting lineup came to an end last time out, but only after Liam Cooper had to pull out of the team due to an injury that he sustained in the warm-up.
The run tells you everything you need to know about Marcelo Bielsa’s loyalty to his players. There have been few changes throughout the season inspired by a player’s bad form. Injuries have played their part in that, but Bielsa has rarely wielded the axe when some fans have had questions about a member of the squad.
Patrick Bamford has certainly benefited from that. The 25-year-old squandered some chances against Reading and struggled against Sheffield United, Millwall and Birmingham City. After that defeat at St Andrew’s, Kemar Roofe’s return from injury seemed as though it could not be better-timed.
But Bamford stayed in the side at Preston North End, and he vindicated the decision with an outstanding second-half display to inspire a 2-0 win. Needless to say, he stayed in the team against Sheffield Wednesday.
In fairness to Bamford, he did little wrong against the Owls. And it was another fantastic day for the Whites as they moved three points clear of Sheffield United in the Championship promotion race.
Nevertheless, perhaps Bielsa should consider making a change ahead of Friday’s home game against Wigan after Roofe’s cameo at the weekend.
Leeds looked even more dynamic in the final third once Roofe was leading the line. It was a reminder of why the Englishman is still the Whites’ top goalscorer after making just 30 appearances this term. He may not have scored, but he caused plenty of problems after replacing Bamford.
It should surprise no-one if Bamford still scores a number of key goals before the campaign concludes. His goalscoring ratio is outstanding. But Roofe is arguably more likely to set the tone from the outset, and help create the problems that either lead to the 26-year-old finding the back of the net himself, or one of his teammates scoring.
Bielsa’s loyalty to his players hints that Bamford will keep his place. But perhaps Roofe should feel in the coming days that there is a chance to force his way into the side ahead of the final four games of the season.