Marcelo Bielsa has suggested he’s going to bench Eddie Nketiah for the 11th Championship game in a row on Tuesday.
Phil Hay reports that Bielsa confirmed in his pre-match press conference that he’ll be fielding an unchanged starting line-up against Preston North End tomorrow.
Bielsa confirms an unchanged line-up for tomorrow's game. Hernandez unlikely to be available this week. A different injury to his previous one. First was in his calf, this one is in his hamstring. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) October 21, 2019
As a result, we can expect Nketiah to be on the bench yet again, trying to clean up scraps as a substitute.
The key issue is this: When Bielsa picks Bamford for his starting team, the side set up to play to Bamford’s strengths. His strong hold-up play means they can launch the ball into him and play off him to create chances.
Then Nketiah gets thrown into that system from the bench after Bamford draws another blank in front of goal, and he’s expected to fill the same role. That’s an unrealistic expectation.
Nketiah is at his best running off the shoulder, but it’s difficult for the team to adapt to that when they never play that style from the start. The Leeds players start every single match with Bamford, so how will they ever learn how to get the best from Nketiah?
Even when the Arsenal loanee manages to succeed in his current role and snatches a late goal, as he has in a couple of substitute appearances so far, it doesn’t make any difference.
Bamford starts the next game, they revert to how they were playing without Nketiah, nothing changes. We’re a quarter of the way through the loan in terms of Championship matches, Arsenal have to be looking at the situation now.