Leeds United suffered their first loss of the season on the weekend.

At Elland Road, they were beaten 2-1 by Garry Monk’s Birmingham City. The former Leeds manager claimed his first win of the season against his old club.

Leeds are still top of the league and it is not time to panic. But Marcelo Bielsa knows his team is depleted.

Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford are both injured so third choice striker Tyler Roberts has to play. Also, Pablo Hernandez’s absence in attacking midfield is a big loss.

But for the first time this season, Bielsa has a real selection dilemma on his hands.

Does he stick with Kalvin Phillips – who he has trusted all season – or rest him and bring in Adam Forshaw?

We take a look at the arguments on either side.

The case for Phillips

LEEDS, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips vies for possession with Preston North End’s Daniel Johnson during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Preston North End at Elland Road on September 18, 2018 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Bielsa has placed a lot of faith in Phillips this season and he plays an integral role in the system.

 

The 22-year-old sits behind the midfield and in front of the defence, acting as the bridge between the two.

His energy, tenacity and ball-carrying skills in midfield make him a very useful player when he’s on form.

For the sake of continuity, it might be worth sticking with the Leeds academy product.

The case for Forshaw

LEEDS, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Leeds United’s Adam Forshaw is tackled by Birmingham City’s Jacques Maghoma during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Birmingham City at Elland Road on September 22, 2018 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

The other option for Bielsa is to drop Phillips and bring in Forshaw.

The first advantage of that is that he would be resting Phillips. With such a high intensity style of play, Bielsa needs his players to be fresh each game to match the work rate he expects.

But also, Forshaw is a very good Championship player. In midfield, he offers defensive protection and a good range of passing.

The 26-year-old could be given a chance from the start this weekend playing the holding role in midfield.

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