Leeds United suffered a setback in their pursuit to win the Championship last Saturday, as they lost to Stoke at the bet365 Stadium.
The Whites still sit at the top of the Championship, but their lead at the top has been reduced to just one point ahead of second place Norwich. However, whilst the result is definitely not what manager Marcelo Bielsa would have wanted, particularly after such a troubling week with off-field controversies, he suffered perhaps an even bigger problem.
Centre-back and talisman Pontus Jansson picked up a red card during his side’s loss, which now gives him a one-match ban. With Leeds’ defence already very depleted, as Bielsa is running a squad on its bare bones, the absence of the Swede will be huge.
Leeds travel to relegation threatened Rotherham this weekend, knowing that anything less than a victory will be a major disappointment ahead of fixtures against Norwich and Middlesbrough. Fortunately, midfielder Kalvin Phillips returns from his ban this weekend, and he will most likely partner Liam Cooper in the heart of defence for The Whites, as he has done already this season. Nonetheless, the club already have been playing winger Ezgjan Alioski as a left-back; to add another player that is not a natural defender leaves Leeds looking very vulnerable.
Of course, it is more important that Jansson is back for the fixtures against title-rivals Norwich, but at this stage in the season, any absence may prove crucial. Then again, Bielsa has thrived this season with limited resources, and there is nothing to say that he won’t thrive again.
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