It has been a testing couple of months for Helder Costa. The Leeds United winger has been used just twice in the last seven Premier League games – both of which came in the form of substitute appearances against Everton and West Ham. However, in those brief cameo roles, he made quite glaring mistakes and has since been forced to watch from the sidelines.
Leeds take on West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night – just two days after securing a brilliant home win over Burnley. It is less than 48 hours between matches, and the Whites, given our style of play under Marcelo Bielsa, are likely to be tired. Rotation is not something Bielsa normally adheres to, but neither has he been a part of one of the most gruelling winter calendars in English football history.
He may have to make some changes when pecking his side for Tuesday night’s match. Certainly, the likes of Jack Harrison, Mateusz Klich, Stuart Dallas and even Patrick Bamford could be in need of a rest – given they remain mainstays in the Leeds side. Pablo Hernandez, Jamie Shackleton and even Leif Davis could be used against Sam Allardyce’s side.
Another is Portugal international Costa. The 26-year-old failed to make the matchday squad against Newcastle – days after conceding the free-kick against West Ham in which Angelo Ogbonna scored from. He missed a huge chance to put Leeds 2-0 up against Everton, and has since been an unused substitute against Manchester United and Burnley.
Costa was crucial for Leeds during promotion and although he was probably slightly overpriced at £16million, it was a no-brainer to get him permanently – a deal that was already agreed when he initially joined on loan. But with Raphinha impressing and Jack Harrison fourth in Premier League chances created this season – as per WhoScored – he is not getting a look in.
But they may need a rest and if they do need some time on the bench, then Costa is probably the first player Bielsa will turn to – over the likes of Pablo Hernandez and Ian Poveda. Hernandez has more of an impact off the bench while Poveda is still learning the ropes. Certainly, Costa has potentially hinted at a start on Instagram by posting a pre-match piece on his story – something which he does not regularly do.
Perhaps, he is suggesting a start could be on the horizon. Should he? His performances at the start of the season were fantastic but dropped off after that initial burst onto the scene. If we get the Costa at the beginning of the season – then yes, he deserves a chance. Consistency, seemingly, is missing from his game.