Leeds United will be hoping to end their recent run of four Premier League games without a win with victory over AFC Bournemouth later today, with Javi Gracia’s men still very much in a scrap for survival with a matter of weeks left in the season.
The Whites’ hopes of avoiding the drop have been dealt a blow, however, amid the news that summer signing Luis Sinisterra is out for the remainder of the campaign with an ankle injury, the Colombian international having only just begun to hit form with three goals in his last five league appearances.
That frustrating injury setback has dealt the Leeds boss a real headache for the trip to the Vitality Stadium, albeit with it perhaps an opportune time for young Wilfried Gnonto to come back into the fold, with the Italy international having failed to start any of the last six top-flight games.
Will Gnonto start against Bournemouth?
That lack of action for the 19-year-old has been something of a mystery to both fans and pundits alike, with journalist Pete O’Rourke notably suggesting that maybe the former FC Zurich man simply “doesn’t have the trust” of his manager, while pundit Gabby Agbonlahor even went as far as to suggest that the teenager is “overrated”.
While the youngster’s goal record has been somewhat underwhelming this term – with just two goals and three assists to his name in 19 league games – it is difficult to agree that the dynamic ace is ‘overrated’, having been “sorely missed” in the side of late, according to O’Rourke.
The fact that the £35m-rated ace was not even able to make it off the bench last time out against Leicester City could suggest that something is amiss, despite the fact that Gracia has since hailed him as an “exceptional player”.
As the aforementioned Agbonlahor stated, it could be time for Gnonto to show he is “worth the hype” by impressing from the start against the Cherries, with the ten-cap ace having previously offered a real “spark” off the bench in the reverse fixture, according to former boss Jesse Marsch.
That 4-3 win saw the diminutive ace prove a real livewire after replacing Jack Harrison at the break, having notably registered three key passes from his 20 touches on the day, including providing the assist for the game’s winning goal.
That stellar impact earned the £20k-per-week speedster hefty praise from Leeds Live’s Beren Cross, with the respected insider awarding him an 8/10 match rating, while stating: ‘Everything apart from a goal. Picked up where he left off at Anfield. Tenacious, quick, snappy, strong, intelligent. The carry and assist for the winning goal was outstanding.’
Such a sensational cameo showed why Gnonto is a player that has “that X-Factor about him”, according to writer Casey Evans, with Gracia seemingly set to miss a trick yet again if he does not unleash the 5 foot 7 dynamo today.
#Leeds #Unleash #35mRated #Spark #Today