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Fulham display underlines Javi Gracia’s need to make key Leeds United personnel switch in attack – Our View

Image for Fulham display underlines Javi Gracia’s need to make key Leeds United personnel switch in attack – Our View

Leeds United forward Rodrigo made his first league starts in his last two games since January, after returning from a shin injury recently.

The 32-year-old had come on as a substitute in each of the last five games before then for the Whites, scoring once in that time. However, he had not come on for longer than 30 minutes since his return from injury, with fans hoping for more starts.

They got their wish, but he failed to score in either of the recent games against Fulham and Liverpool, and has been substituted with around 25 minutes remaining in the match on both occasions.

Rodrigo’s red hot form in front of goal has been a real highlight of this season so to have him firing in the final run of games could be key for Javi Gracia. He has scored 13 and assisted a further two from 29 games this campaign.

Here, our writers Adam (Statto) and Kris (FA5) discuss whether he should start after being ineffective in the most recent games, and if Patrick Bamford is in line for a return to the XI instead.

I’m torn with this one, as I’d like to see them both given an opportunity to play from the start. We have yet to see them regularly as a partnership under Gracia.

However, if only one is to start, then I would always opt for Bamford. He can hold up the ball, pin the opponent’s defenders back, and link the play as a number-nine should.

Rodrigo likes to drift and roam too much, rather than staying as a centre-forward on the last line. Against Fulham, Leeds had no outlet to keep the ball in their third and sustain attacks.

Rodrigo is hotter in front of goal, which may actually work best as a substitute anyway, as opposed to taking the game to the opposition from the start. Bamford’s ability to bring others into play so the ball isn’t constantly coming back at Leeds is more important for the team structurally and cohesively.

However, with Brenden Aaronson out of form in the final third and Wilfried Gnonto not trusted behind Bamford as a secondary-striker, it does open the door for Rodrigo to play as part of a pairing with Bamford and work in tandem with one another.

Rodrigo can drift off him in a freed up role and get snap-shots away at goal, whilst Bamford makes himself a nuisance and occupies them with his sheer build and frame. If Leeds can, then that’s what they should do against Leicester City tonight.

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Rodrigo’s goal threat is far clear of Bamford’s, if given the supply that the Spaniard requires, but that is the crux of the issue.

Leeds’ midfield are not currently doing nearly enough to bring Rodrigo into the game, and he’s not the striker to feed off scraps.

That striker is Bamford, and the number nine needs to play while Leeds are looking so poor in midfield, able to drag us up the pitch with very little supply, while pinning centre-backs and winning fouls too.

If you were asked who you would rather get on the end of our chances, you’d say Rodrigo, but his performance against Fulham shows that he’s not the player we need when under the cosh.

We need more cohesion when we have possession, and there’s no denying Bamford brings that.

Should Gracia play Bamford and Rodrigo together?



No - just Bamford

No - just Bamford

No - just Rodrigo

No - just Rodrigo

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