Helder Costa was left out of the Leeds United squad as the Whites thumped Newcastle United 5-2 at Elland Road on Wednesday night.
A stylish brace at home to Fulham saw his only two goals this season so for Leeds along with two assists, coming against Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Since Raphinha has gained full match fitness, he’s shown his top-drawer quality having come from Champions League outfit Rennes.
Competition for places is healthy and expected at all clubs, but the lack of depth that Leeds have always had under Marcelo Bielsa means players can little afford to miss out on matchdays in key positions unless they’re injured.
Leeds came into last night’s clash against Newcastle with an unchanged starting lineup from the defeat to West Ham, however, there was no place for Costa on the bench off the back of a sub-par performance against the Irons.
It wasn’t like we needed the Portuguese winger, with Raphinha and Jack Harrison lighting up Elland Road in a stunning 5-2 win, where the latter notched an assist before capping off his performance with arguably Leeds’ goal of the season so far.
However, despite Bielsa not really needing to call upon Costa at any point, it was peculiar that he wasn’t even a presence on the bench for the game.
Bielsa only raised further questions when he was asked if the winger had picked up an injury during his post-match press conference: “No, no injury.” He told Leeds Live.
We don’t know the situation with Costa on the training ground but with how Raphinha’s getting on in his position, it’s quite clear he’s fallen out of favour at the moment.
It’s a shame to see someone so important to the promotion push lose his way, but if we’re to keep progressing, these are the sacrifices team have to make. We saw it at Wolves with him too.