Having seen a number of players sustain injuries in the weeks leading up to this international break, Leeds United supporters will be hoping for some positive news when Marcelo Bielsa briefs the media in the coming days.

Updates on Diego Llorente and Kalvin Phillips will be on the agenda. And it would certainly be a huge boost for the Whites if Bielsa confirms that either or – dare we dream – both are fit to face Arsenal this coming Sunday.

Even if they are available however, it is surely going to take a lot for either to force their way into the starting lineup. They have both been out for some time. So starting them against the Gunners would be risky.

That could mean that Bielsa sticks by those who started against Crystal Palace before the break – but with one crucial change.

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At Selhurst Park, it was Pascal Struijk who started in the Phillips role. Unfortunately, it proved to be a tough afternoon for the youngster, as well as for Robin Koch and Liam Cooper behind him.

In truth, it looks most likely that the trio will keep their places against Mikel Arteta’s side.

But perhaps, this international break should leave Bielsa wondering whether it may be worth moving a couple of his players about and forming a brand new partnership at the back.

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That is because Koch was outstanding in holding midfield as Germany beat Ukraine on Saturday.

 

Koch shining in different role leaves Bielsa with food for thought

It has been no secret since his arrival at Elland Road that Koch is capable of playing slightly further forward.

But after such an accomplished display, perhaps Bielsa should be a little more willing to use him as Phillips’s replacement for however long the Englishman remains on the sidelines.

And with that, perhaps it may be worth using Struijk alongside Cooper.

Remarkably, the pair have actually not yet played together at centre-back.

But with Koch shining in midfield this weekend, perhaps a reshuffle may be exactly what Leeds need if the fans have to wait a little longer for Phillips’s return and Llorente’s debut.

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