The international break would have felt particularly long for the Leeds United supporters feeling concerned about what the future may hold for Pablo Hernandez.
Hernandez had been dropped for the final game before the break (via Leeds Live). And that decision from Marcelo Bielsa came just a few days after the Spaniard had reacted badly to being substituted.
It appeared that Bielsa’s team selection for the game with Arsenal would be telling. If Hernandez was involved, that would suggest that the two had patched up any differences there were.
However, Hernandez – who earns £19,000-a-week, according to Spotrac – is too good a player to simply be left out. So if he was missing once again, some may have felt that it was an ominous sign regarding his future.
Ultimately, the 35-year-old was not involved. However, there was no sinister reason for his absence. Instead, Bielsa confirmed that he had suffered a minor muscle injury (via Leeds Live).
It is not yet clear how long Hernandez may be sidelined for. But given Bielsa’s previous comments, there may be scope for the playmaker to be in contention for this weekend’s trip to Everton.
However, Hernandez being available may not necessarily result in a return to the match day squad.
Of course, many supporters would insist that Hernandez must be named on the bench at the very least if he is available.
But Bielsa judged Tyler Roberts to be ahead of him in the pecking order for the game against Crystal Palace.
And, while Roberts did not play against Arsenal, the Wales international went on to produce a very impressive performance for the under-23s on Monday.
He bagged a goal with a well-taken finish after coming on at the break. And it may have been a display that restored some of his confidence after a tough start to life in the Premier League.
Obviously, facing Everton will be a much more daunting task than taking on West Brom’s under-23s. But given that Roberts seemingly already has possession of that place on Bielsa’s bench, his impressive performance may only improve his chances of holding onto it for now.
It should still only be a matter of time before Hernandez is back involved. But perhaps it is not a foregone conclusion that his return to full fitness will earn him the immediate return to the match day squad many fans surely want.