Marcelo Bielsa says Patrick Bamford will start this weekend, once again, and he’s explained why he won’t drop the striker for Eddie Nketiah.
Bielsa seemingly confirmed that Bamford will play against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, despite Nketiah’s late heroics earlier in the week. The Arsenal loan striker came off the bench for the final 13 minutes and scored an equaliser against Preston on Tuesday.
It’s now eight starts without a goal for Bamford, and 11 league games without a start for Nketiah. Nonetheless, Bielsa is sticking by the 26-year-old.
“Nketiah is very good at scoring,” Bielsa said. “Also Bamford but Bamford is missing chances. But there’s a fact about what happens before you score a goal. You build a situation that allows the chance.
“What I’m looking to achieve is that Eddie feels the needs of the team. If he doesn’t put the metres in for both things he’s going to have less chances to score.”
You can see what Bielsa is trying to say here. Nketiah is undoubtedly an excellent goalscorer, but the Leeds boss thinks Bamford offers more in terms of creating those chances in the first place and helping the team when he doesn’t have the ball.
The problem is that this claim doesn’t bear much fruit in the actual results. Since Bamford’s last goal for Leeds, he’s played 553 minutes and the team have scored four times. He has no assists for any of those goals.
In that same time period, Nketiah has played just 281 minutes, but Leeds have scored five times.
The team are scoring more than twice as often with Nketiah on the pitch, and he was directly involved in four of those goals, scoring three and winning a penalty.
Leeds have also won three, drawn two and lost four in that time, so it’s not like they’re getting results in spite of their poor goalscoring form. When Bamford stopped scoring but kept starting, things began to go wrong, regardless of what Bielsa is claiming.
Perhaps Bamford will score at the weekend, for the first time in over two months, and things will start to improve for the team too. It seems incredibly harsh to leave Nketiah out when he’s scoring and the team are getting more goals with him in it though.