August 1, 2021

‘No formula’ to stop Crystal Palace’s Eze – Leeds United coach Bielsa

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The Argentine manager is aware of the threat the Nigerian descent poses to his team when Roy Hodgson’s side visit Elland Road on Monday

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa said Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze is a player they must stop in Monday’s Premier League fixture, but there is “no formula” for them to neutralise him.

Eze was a thorn in the flesh for the Whites when the teams battled at Selhurst Park back in November as he opened his Premier League goal account and provided an assist in their emphatic 4-1 win.

The 22-year-old’s stunning free-kick won Crystal Palace’s Goal of the Month for November but narrowly missed out on the Premier League award to Super Eagles defender Ola Aina.

Aside from the Nigerian playmaker, Bielsa is also wary of Wilfried Zaha’s threat, though the Ivorian forward won’t be available for the game due to a hamstring injury.

“I’m trying to find an answer that would be worth it,” Bielsa was quoted by Yorkshire Evening Post, when asked if he has learnt from their last meeting.

“If you saw the number 11 [Zaha] and number 25 play [Eze], they are very good, which is the most significant thing I can add or the left full-back [Patrick van Aanholt] is very good at attacking.

“Or that they have two players for every position in attack.

“They’re all things that are not going to be newsworthy for you or for the public. When you analyse an opponent, these are all the things you take into account.”

Eze has contributed three goals and three assists in 20 Premier League matches this season.

He has been involved in two of Crystal Palace’s last three goals in the English top-flight, however, Bielsa highlighted some defensive options he might consider to stopping him as there is no formula.

“To recover the ball you always need the same resources,” he continued. “It’s not about the resources, but the ability of the opponent, to be superior to them.

“It’s not there’s a formula which we have to neutralise the number 25.

“He moves in certain spaces and determines certain spaces on the pitch normally.

“We position players in that sector to prevent him from evolving or producing his best. When an opponent beats one of our players there’s an elective response we have allocated.

“To attribute a formula to neutralise one player is unreal.”