If there is one club in the Premier League that is overly reliant on a single player for their entire attacking nous, it is Leeds United and the player is the ever selfless and talented Patrick Bamford.
The 27-year-old picked up a knock in their 1-3 away win at Leicester City as they shocked the Foxes who had not lost for the past 10 games. Bamford scored an absolute scorcher while he set up 2 goals, one being the deftest through the ball you will see this season, the other being an incredibly selfless pass to Jack Harrison to score into an almost empty net.
But on to the bigger picture
Questions were asked at the start of the season if Leeds can cut it in the Premier League and if Patrick Bamford can replicate his Championship form into the big time. If there were still any question marks over Leeds United, there certainly are not any over Patrick Bamford. At 27 years of age, he delivers the same maturity, guile and finishing nuances that would make you believe that he is a seasoned striker in the Premier League and not somebody who before this season had only 19 Premier League appearances without any goals in the past 10 years.
Moreover, it is not about statistics. Apart from the fact that he has contributed to 43% of Leeds’s goals in the Premier League, he is an instrumental player in involving his teammates in the game by holding the ball or even providing key passes during the relentless and effortless counter attacks that Leeds have made themselves famous for.
In their first match of the season against Liverpool, Leeds were brave, adventurous and did not hesitate even for a moment to bring the game to the reigning Premier League champions. At the helm of all of this, was Patrick Bamford, who did not think twice before competing aerially with Virgil Van Dijk, somebody who came 2nd in the Ballon d’Or awards not so long ago.
This is just a tiny anecdote to portray the philosophy that has been drilled into this team and Patrick Bamford by the tactical commander-in-chief that is Marcelo Bielsa.
Bamford was brought to Leeds by Bielsa himself as he saw that the former Chelsea loanee had a quality that not many strikers at that point had. He required somebody who can counter teams relentlessly and score goals for fun but also have a calming presence to pick the right pass when needed. Patrick Bamford was the right answer and boy has it paid off as, in the past 1 and a half seasons he has contributed to 33 of Leeds’s goals and has become the big part player for this club.
This, however, comes with its own set of problems. The differences in the level between Bamford and the 2nd best striker at the club is huge, at least in terms of output if not skill. Rodrigo was brought in over the summer for this very reason and it is safe to say that things have not gone well for the Spaniard till now, who ironically, also got injured in the win against Leicester and has remote chances of coming back before their game on Wednesday against Everton who will be hungry for a win after their 0-2 loss to Newcastle United over the weekend.
This leaves Raphinha, who also picked up a knock in the game against Leicester, Poveda-Ocampo, Tyler Roberts, or Helder Costa to deputise for the 27-year-old Englishman. It would not be an exaggeration to say that none of the aforementioned players are able deputies to the talented Bamford, who has already racked up 11 goals and 4 assists this season. When asked if Rodrigo, Raphinha and Bamford would be back for the Everton game, Marcelo Bielsa replied, ‘ I have the impression that Rodrigo won’t be available. It is just that Raphinha and Bamford have something simpler to overcome’.
For now, Leeds’s fans will not be worrying as much since Patrick Bamford might very well play against Everton but Leeds should not wait long on considering purchasing an able deputy for the club’s current top goal-scorer.