Martin Keown has told Match of the Day 2 that if Patrick Bamford could start every week for Leeds United – then Jesse Marsch’s side would be much higher in the Premier League table, following Sunday’s narrow 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Having started against Palace, 29-year-old Bamford was a surprise omission from the Leeds side against Arsenal. Jesse Marsch opted to start with Rodrigo – bringing in Luis Sinisterra for the England striker, instead of replacing Rodrigo.

It was the Spaniard at fault for Bukayo Saka’s goal – a cross-field pass Marsch said is something he encourages his players to avoid. It proved to be the only goal of the game in a topsy-turvy match that went Arsenal’s way on Sunday.

A missed penalty, a soft VAR decision to disallow a goal and then a penalty that was overturned by VAR. But Bamford, who came on for Rodrigo at half-time, made things happen. He caused utter distress for Arsenal’s back four.

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Keown gave his verdict: “If he could play every week, Leeds would be sitting higher. I felt sorry for him a little bit, I was hiding behind the sofa at times. I haven’t seen a striker give Saliba and Gabriel that amount of problems this season.”

Keown: Leeds would be higher if Bamford could start every week

Judging by Sunday’s second-half display, Keown’s point holds weight. While it is something we knew already, his introduction shows just how much better Leeds are when £74,000 a week Bamford plays. It was evident against Palace.

Bamford lasted 60 minutes against Palace. When he went off, Leeds’ attacking play in the final third was disjointed. The striker connects his attackers from midfield and transitional phases of play, into the final third. His goals will come.

That is lacking and his penalty was a big opportunity, missed. But Bamford reminded all that he causes danger and if Leeds are to have any success this season, it is crucial Leeds keep the no.9 fit – and ready. He has to start on Thursday.

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