This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United make the short trip to Oakwell on Sunday to face Barnsley in the Championship, looking to bounce back from defeat last time out and close the gap on table-toppers Swansea City.
Ahead of the match Whites manager Marcelo Bielsa has a decision to make regarding his striker options and whether to opt for Eddie Nketiah or Patrick Bamford, or look to accommodate both in his starting formation.
So what combination should Bielsa go for at the weekend against the Tykes at Oakwell?
“This is a tough one. Nketiah has made a fantastic start to his Leeds career and I think it’s only a matter of time before he starts games in the Championship.
“He’ll be full of confidence after his international break, so the game against Barnsley could be a good opportunity for him to make his first start in the league.
“With that said, it’s a Yorkshire derby and it’ll be a very competitive game, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marcelo Bielsa stick with Bamford up front, as he’s more experienced.
“Nketiah is probably the better option to bring off the bench too, as he can hurt teams with his pace and energy.
“If it’s going to be one or the other I think he’ll go with Bamford.”
“With Bielsa unlikely to alter his formation on Sunday against Barnsley, Nketiah and Bamford could be forced to fight it once again for position.
“However, when you consider that the former of the two forwards has operated as a winger before during his career, it may be worth Leeds starting him in this role.
“Whilst Pablo Hernandez is expected to feature following his impressive start to the 2019/20 campaign, Nketiah could replace Jack Harrison who has yet to hit top-gear for the Whites since his summer move from Manchester City.
“By using Nketiah out wide, Bielsea could benefit from some flexibility as his side could alter their formation to push two up-front at Oakwell if needed.”
“I would be tempted to go with both.
“Towards the end of last season, Leeds struggled for ideas to break down sides when they really needed some crucial points in the race for promotion, and they will not want to find themselves in that position again this time around.
“Experimenting with both Nketiah and Bamford up front now, would therefore mean they will be aware of whether that is a weapon they have in their armoury for the rest of the campaign.
“Doing it this early in the season means that any slip up would be recoverable from, and they should back themselves such as that against a Barnsley side who are still finding their feet in this division.”