Speaking recently on a video for Leeds Live, Beren Cross discussed Marcelo Bielsa’s team selection for Leeds United’s recent loss against Arsenal.
Having only achieved promotion to the Premier League last season, Leeds have highly impressed so far in their return to the top flight, winning 10, drawing two and losing 11 of their 23 league fixtures, results that have left them sitting in 11th place in the league standings, just seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
He said: “I think the way in which the players were lined up perhaps does warrant a little bit of discussion. For me, personally, I would have played [Mateusz] Klich as the defensive midfielder and I would have played [Jamie] Shackleton in the middle with [Stuart] Dallas; I would have kept [Luke] Ayling at right-back and [Pascal] Struijk at centre-back.
“We asked Bielsa about this after the game and he feels that the defensive midfielder is – along with the two centre-backs – the third-most defensive-minded player in the team and he just doesn’t think that Dallas and Klich have got that defensive makeup in their DNA in order to play that role. It’s almost like a third centre-back. That’s why he played Struijk there. We have to accept that, basically, that was Bielsa’s rationale.”
Did Bielsa get his team wrong against Arsenal?
TIF Thoughts on Beren Cross’ comments regarding Marcelo Bielsa’s team selection…
While many of the Leeds United players did not have the best of games against Arsenal, Struijk was actually one of the better performers in the fixture from either side, as his SofaScore match rating of 7.3 ranked him as the third-best player on the pitch.
However, we do have to agree with Cross in that, opting to play a right-back at centre-back, a central midfielder at right-back and a centre-back in defensive midfield did indeed appear to be a rather strange decision by Bielsa, and one that, ultimately, did not work out for the Argentine.