Leeds United have been rocked by the news that Helder Costa will miss the remainder of the Premier League season through injury.
The Lowdown: Costa filling in admirably for Raphinha
The Whites may have lost 2-0 away to Brighton last weekend, but they have still been in a good run of form, taking five points off Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United in recent weeks.
Costa has played his part in those positive results, filling in for the injured Raphinha against Liverpool and United, and performing well out wide, but Marcelo Bielsa is now really stuck for senior options in that position.
The Latest: Costa ruled out for the season
Unfortunately, the Angolan now joins his teammate on the treatment table, with Sky Sports reporting that he won’t play again this season.
Costa missed the Brighton defeat with a back injury and Bielsa has confirmed that the problem will keep him out for Leeds’ final four matches of the season:
“He won’t be able to compete again this season.”
The Verdict: Major winger shortage for Leeds
While Bielsa doesn’t have many injury absentees across other areas of the pitch, Costa being out leaves him threadbare in wide attacking areas, assuming Raphinha misses out again.
With both Costa and the Brazilian missing for Saturday’s visit of Tottenham, Leeds may again have to use Stuart Dallas on the right wing – a far-from-ideal scenario that also occurred at the Amex Stadium – with Jack Harrison on the opposite flank.
Granted, the Northern Irishman’s versatility makes him a solid option there, but he lacks Costa’s natural width, speed and unpredictable nature in that position, and Leeds lose an attacking spark without an out-and-out winger on the right-hand side.
Without the pace to get in behind defences, Bielsa loses a big part of the way his sides operate, able to transition from back to front on a moment’s notice.
It arguably means Luke Ayling needs to provide even more attacking thrust than usual, in order to help fill the void left, still looking to register his first goal or assist this season, so it really is a crucial blow to the side’s attacking style.
In other news, Leeds are thought to be eyeing up a move for an attacking player this summer. Find out who it is here.
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