Leeds United returned to Elland Road for the first time in the Championship at the weekend, and the Whites clearly did not get the result that they were after, or perhaps, deserved.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side dominated the majority of their match against Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon but fell to a late and scrappy Lewis Grabban goal and had to take a share of the spoils.
Pablo Hernandez continued his fine start to the season once again as he bagged his second goal in as many games when he latched on to a flick from Poland international Mateusz Klich and slotted past Aro Muric in the Forest net.
A player that Angus Kinnear recently revealed had attracted interest over the summer, the 34-year-old Spaniard’s performances appear to have belied his age and has continued to prove how vital he is to Leeds’ efforts in trying to achieve promotion to the Premier League.
Having netted 12 goals and provided a further 12 assists in his 41 appearances last season (Transfermarkt), as well as being named the club’s Player of the Year, his early start to this year’s campaign would suggest he could better those figures this term.
However, another player looked as though they could have a crucial role to play throughout the current campaign for Bielsa’s side.
Stuart Dallas filled in at right-back for Leeds once again as Luke Ayling continues to spend time on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on an ankle problem (club’s official website), however his recent performance against Nottingham Forest may have given the Argentine boss something to think about moving forward.
According to the data collected by Sky Sports, the Northern Ireland international winger (who has seemingly been converted to playing as a full-back under Bielsa) recorded 1 tackle, won 1 foul, had 106 touches, made 74 passes with a 75.7% success rate.
He was also, perhaps, unfortunate not to have won the hosts a penalty late in the game as it appeared he had been kicked in the penalty box when going for the ball (Sky Sports Video).
The Yorkshire Evening Post also appeared to rave about the £1.8m-rated (Transfermarkt) man’s performance at Elland Road on Saturday as well, as they gave him a solid 8, stating: “Terrific, involved in so much of the play and defensively solid when Forest did try to come down his flank.”
Although Ayling may have been one of Leeds’ best defenders last season, according to WhoScored – achieving an average of an impressive 2.2 tackles per game and 1.2 interceptions in the 40 matches that he was selected to play in – his injury record is a concern as he missed 30 games in the whole of 2018.
Should Dallas continue to have the opportunities to show Bielsa what he can provide the Whites with at the back and make a positive impression, the Argentine could have something to think about when the 27-year-old is finally fit and available.
Leeds fans, how do you think Dallas performed against Nottingham Forest? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below!
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