Marcelo Bielsa has a unique dilemma facing him as Leeds United prepare to make the trip to Manchester City this weekend.
Injuries have dominated Bielsa’s team selections ever since he joined the Whites in the summer of 2018, but his management of key players has been key in plugging major gaps.
A handful of versatile players such as Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas and Gjanni Alioski has helped him ensure we have sufficient cover in each position.
However, the meeting with table-topping Man City presents a different selection headache for Bielsa.
The emergence of Diego Llorente in the starting lineup in 2021 has helped Leeds’ defensive woes immensely, along with the return of Liam Cooper after this international break.
Add to that Robin Koch’s push for 100% fitness and Pascal Struijk’s reliability as a backup and you’ve now got four first-team centre-backs to fit into two positions.
All of these can be reasonably justified as players who should start for Bielsa when fit and it’s a lovely problem to have after the season we’ve had with injuries.
The question was posed to Leeds fans on Twitter by James Marshment, about who the first-choice pairing should be going forward…
It’s such a tough decision to make but at the moment, it has to be Cooper and Llorente starting for me.
The form of both of those as a pair has been brilliant of late and is a key reason for why we look far more solid at the back than we did earlier in the season.
However, Koch was great too before his injury and deserves recognition for his start to life at Elland Road.
Long time, I believe it’s going to be a toss-up between Koch, Llorente and Struijk for the starting positions with Cooper being slowly phased out of the starting lineup.
It seems harsh given his performances this season but that’s the reason we spent big to bring in two centre-backs after all.