Marcelo Bielsa’s tinkering of Jack Harrison and Raphinha’s roles in Leeds United’s loss to Brighton needs to be rectified against Newcastle.
After a shocking defeat to Crawley Town, we were hoping to put our focus squarely on keeping our distance from the relegation scrap with a win against Brighton at Elland Road.
Another poor performance from the Whites saw a Neal Maupay strike in the 17th minute settle matters for the Seagulls.
One of the main aspects of Bielsa’s setup in the game that came into question was how Jack Harrison and Raphinha swapped to play on the right and left respectively this time around.
It was a confusing change for Bielsa to make and while Harrison’s job of stifling Solly March was successful, it completely snuffed out our threat from out wide too.
While Raphinha still looked like one of our most dangerous players on the left flank, it was clear that he didn’t have the same impact as he would have done coming in off the right.
Harrison struggled to get anything going on the right-hand side, with no key passes and just two accurate crosses throughout the 90 minutes he played.
Ian Poveda came on in a like-for-like change for Raphinha but made little impact too, showing that the Brazillian still obviously presents our best option.
Play to strengths
We face Newcastle United next at St James’ Park and Bielsa, simply, needs to revert back to playing these two on the wings they’re best on.
At home to the Magpies in December we saw one of Harrison’s best performances as he registered a very stylish assist along with a stunning solo goal.
Raphinha was somewhat quiet in front of goal that game but we see every week that he looks like our most talented player, and utilising him in his best position is all we should be thinking of doing.
There’ll be questions of who starts at the back with Diego Llorente seemingly fit, but one change that Bielsa has to make is to ensure Jack Harrison is on the left wing, getting to the by-line and throwing crosses towards the penalty spot as usual.
On the other side we’ll need Raphinha, aided by Luke Ayling, cutting in and causing havoc when he links up with Rodrigo.