Following Kemar Roofe’s summer departure, there were plenty of rash reactions among the Leeds United fanbase.
For some, the season was over. For others, board members had to resign. How could this have been allowed to happen?
On transfer deadline day, however, the board moved to rectify that with Victor Orta himself reportedly putting a serious shift to secure the signing of exciting Arsenal youngster Eddie Nketiah on a season-long loan.
A collective sigh of relief was given throughout the city. They no longer had to worry about heading into the season with just one striker to their name.
On Tuesday night, the Carabao Cup kicked-off, with Leeds facing an away trip to the rapidly rising Salford City – and Nketiah was given his debut from the start.
The 20-year-old was clearly keen to grab his opportunity as well and scored the first of what Leeds hope will be many goals for the Whites, finding the perfect spot in the Salford penalty area to tap in Helder Costa’s low cross.
It immediately led to calls from fans for him to replace Patrick Bamford in attack for Championship matches as well.
I can’t be doing with Bamford missing chance after chance.. For me Nketiah has to start… #lufc
— Connor Mahoney!! BielsaBall and Beer ???????? (@ConnorMOT92) August 14, 2019
The sooner @LUFC replace Harrison with Costa, Forshaw for Shackleton and Nketiah for Bamford, the better. Bielsa hates changing his starting 11 though so I imagine these next few games are going to be frustrating. #LUFC
— Matthew Bleakley (@ChicagoBearsMB) August 14, 2019
Bamford’s confidence is shot to pieces we need to take him out the limelight start Nketiah on Saturday #lufc
— Armo☀️???? (@Jordan_Armo) August 14, 2019
The thought of Bamford playing when we've seen what Nketiah is all about makes me ill! Got to be in that starting line up on Saturday! #lufc
— Tom O'Hare (@tohare3) August 13, 2019
So, a dilemma for Marcelo Bielsa ahead of this weekend’s trip to Wigan and potentially something for Bamford to worry about as well.
But Bamford must remain the main man for Bielsa. For now at least.
The biggest criticism that is fired the way of the former Middlesbrough marksman is his lack of finesse in front of goal.
Frequently, he will find himself in a position where a goal should be a near certainty, only to delay his shot or finish tamely in one way or another. Against Nottingham Forest two golden chances went begging when the striker scuffed a shot onto the bar before chipping wide moments later.
But dropping him straight away, as soon as a rival striker shows a flash of form, could cause some real damage to the player.
What message would it send to Bamford if here were to be dropped for a player who has scored just one goal? And against a League Two side as well.
Bamford is clearly a striker who thrives off confidence. When it is low, his levels drop significantly, and when they do he can be as good as useless. We saw this towards the end of last season when Roofe was sidelined.
That is a situation that Bielsa risks bringing-on if he starts Nketiah on Saturday.
What’s more, the Arsenal man will almost certainly not be expecting a start following one good display against Salford City.
Every manager wants competition all over the pitch, which could of course be an argument for playing Nketiah against the Latics.
But, frankly, Bamford does not deserve that. One goal in two tough Championship matches is not a bad record by any means and the new man in the Leeds camp should be made to prove himself significantly more first.
Bielsa must ignore the calls for change from a loud section of the fanbase.Like what the FLW have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!