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Season Grade: Pablo Hernandez

Pablo was one of the few bright spots in Leeds’ dark season

Derby County v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Expectation

After an impressive 2016/17 season which saw Leeds take on loan and subsequently buy Pablo Hernandez, he signed a one-year deal that would keep him at Elland Road through the end of 2017/18. He had been very impressive, leading the team in assists with 8, along with scoring 6 goals. Despite being one of the oldest players on the roster at 32, he was expected to be an essential part of a promotion-bound team.

Performance

Hernandez was perhaps the only player who consistently performed at a high level in every game this year. He was first on the team with 94 key passes, which was also the fourth-best in the Championship, and also led in assists, again with 8. His pass completion percentage dropped significantly though, from 75.3% last season to 71.1%, 21st on the team. This drop is not entirely surprising however, as he went from creating chances with Chris Wood to the likes of Caleb Ekuban and Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

During the second half of the season, when Leeds were imploding, Hernandez often had to carry the offense by himself. Samuel Saiz was suspended for 6 games, and played awfully when he returned, Ezgjan Alioski disappeared often, making no impact on games, and of course the revolving door at striker did not help either.


Final Season Grade: A

Hernandez was easily the best player at Elland Road this year, taking home both Leeds’ Player of the year award and the Players’ Player of the Year award. He also signed a new two-year contract, despite a myriad of rumors that said he would return to Spain or rejoin Garry Monk at Birmingham City. Needless to say, keeping Pablo is a huge boost to the team and is one less spot that will need replacing this summer as Marcelo Bielsa starts to bring in his guys. Next year will have high expectations for the Spaniard, as he will again be looked upon as a veteran to help the other Leeds players adjust to what may be a brutal preseason under Bielsa. Hopefully with an improved offensive system and players, Pablo can be even better next year, while not being the only attacking threat for Leeds United.