5 ft 10 Leeds man has very quickly provided a solution to Bielsa dilemma – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets… 

As the new season now ramps up, Leeds are beginning to put some of their pre-season dilemmas behind them.

For Marcelo Bielsa, this is likely to come as a huge relief considering how his side missed out on promotion last season.

The Whites have hit the ground running and that was in evidence during their comfortable 2-0 win over Wigan, Patrick Bamford scoring twice from close-range.

Defensively they have still looked a little suspect since Pontus Jansson departed, especially in pre-season when they lost 4-0 against Manchester United. However, Barry Douglas proved to be a reliable figure at the weekend as they kept a clean sheet.

He had a strong game against the Latics, particularly going forward as he offered plenty of width alongside Jack Harrison, another player to impress, making four key passes.

Douglas, however, was equally threatening.

The 29-year-old ended last season injured, missing the play-offs through a knee problem as Stuart Dallas deputised on the left-hand side of defence.

With Luke Ayling out, the Northern Irishman has had to do the same at right-back.

There were plenty of options that could have played on the left going into the new campaign, meaning Douglas has now helped to end what might have been a big dilemma for Bielsa.

The Scot has started to make that position his own again, even with lingering competition from individuals like Ezgjan Alioski and Leif Davis. Tom Pearce would have been in the frame before his move to Wigan too.

Douglas didn’t offer too much defensively but going forward, he proved why he’s been playing over Alioski. The 5 foot 10 defender rampaged forward, having two shots and also completing two key passes.

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Yet he was also on hand with regular crosses, playing four balls into the box as he caused trouble for the Wigan backline.

He was incredibly assured in possession and it helped set the tone for what was a relatively straightforward afternoon for the Whites.

Both Alioski and Davis played in Leeds’ Carabao Cup win over Salford but this win demonstrated why the one-cap Scotland international is being favoured.

A host of variables could have been in play after his injury but he’s bounced back and helped to end a dilemma early into the season.

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