Why it’s time for Marcelo Bielsa to start Lewis Baker in midfield
Leeds United have made a near-perfect start to this season, winning five of the nine games played, drawing three and losing one. They look like a team who can not only tear teams apart but also not lose games easily. This is a mark of champions and a signal that they are very close to being ready for the Premier League.
However, the Peacocks have looked a bit off-radar in the midfield department in the last few games. The central midfield duo of Mateusz Klich and Samuel Saiz began the season in fine fashion but the former has shown signs of tiredness and a lack of ideas. Bielsa has some good options in the midfield, especially to replace Klich.
One such player is Lewis Baker, on loan from Chelsea for the season. He is a talented midfielder who can play either as a No.8 or as a supporting No.10. Since Klich looks short of ideas in terms of how to get more involved in games, a dynamic player like Baker could be a handful for the opposition to deal with.
Player analysis – Lewis Baker
Baker’s passing and vision are excellent, to begin with. The 23-year-old’s game awareness is right up there with the best.
We have seen Saiz being man-marked at times and Klich hasn’t been able to make use of the lesser attention in the midfield. The Pole has rather looked out of position to prevent counter-attacks.
Hence, Bielsa can rest the 28-year-old for a few games and start Baker. The latter will provide dynamism, passing range and work rate in the central areas of the pitch. This would allow Saiz to be more influential in games as the 23-year-old can take defenders on and beat them when required.
In terms of chances, Leeds play three games a week in the league, so squad rotation is not a choice but a necessity for the manager. Bielsa could achieve that by resting Klich for certain games where he feels the midfield battle is important.
Fresh legs and ideas could bring the Peacocks back to winning ways. For Baker, if he gets the opportunity, he should it take with both hands and try not to let it slip.