Leeds United managed to return to winning ways and go back to the top of the Championship table in the process when they defeated West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side appeared to be stalling a little in their pursuit of promotion this season after they had found it difficult to pick up positive results against Derby County and Charlton Athletic in their previous two fixtures.
However, Ezgjan Alioski finally rectified that horrid run of form the Elland Road outfit were on when he managed to hit the ball past Sam Johnstone in the West Brom net, handing the Baggies their first defeat in the process and helping the Whites to leapfrog them in the league standings (Sky Sports).
Indeed, it was perhaps one of the tougher games that Bielsa’s side had played so far this season, as the Midlands-based club did not make it easy for their Yorkshire divisional rivals. Leeds had less of the ball (47.9% to 52.1%) and were made to work hard in the middle of the pitch.
Helder Costa was, in fact, one man that had to contribute to the defensive side of the game and appeared to do a rather solid job when tasked with those responsibilities.
Valued at £13.5m by TransferMarkt, the Portugal international worked tirelessly up and down the flank and put in a shift on the right-hand side of the field.
According to data collected by WhoScored, the 25-year-old managed to make three tackles as he stopped West Brom from getting down the wing at times.
Costa still has some work to do in the final third of the pitch (he had two shots in the match but zero key passes), but his performance in the second half should not go unnoticed.
Through It All Together noted that the Portuguese winger managed to put a shift in and showed flashes of brilliance, although they still share the idea that he still needs to offer a little more to Bielsa’s side.
Handing him a 6.5, they wrote: “Like Phillips, improvement from Saturday, although a long way to go. Linked up well with Dallas and Shackleton down the right and showed a couple of flashed with the ball but was unable to beat his man on enough occasions to cause real danger. Had one fantastic chance on the rebound from a Patrick Bamford shot where he should have scored – some credit to Sam Johnstone for a good save. Worked hard defensively too in the second half when Leeds needed everyone to put a shift in.”
Indeed, the win was perhaps the most important thing for Leeds on the night and one from which Bielsa will hope his side take momentum and confidence as they have another 36 games to come.
However, having witnessed Costa do the hard work defensively, maybe his performance should have been recognised a little more, as it was one that was vital in making that aforementioned victory happen.
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