Leeds United have been a breath of fresh air this season in the Premier League after spending the previous 16 years in the Championship. At the beginning of the season many expected Marcelo Bielsa’s side to struggle for the majority of the campaign and go straight down, instead they have been, on most occasions brilliant.
Leeds won’t be winning anything this season but that was never the objective, only survival was. However manager Bielsa had something else in mind, the Argentinian realised that the best form of defence in the Premier League is attack, plain and simple. Playing like that means they will lose heavy one week and win heavy the next and there has been a clear trend of that occurring. It has been wonderful and very entertaining to see.
Leeds United’s best games so far this season
Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United
Even though Leeds lost this game it was a statement match that the club were going to be a force this season. It was the opening weekend of the league season and the newly crowned champions Liverpool were ready to defend their title against the newly promoted side in Leeds. And what a game it was.
Leeds kept coming back when maybe they were not expected too and we were properly introduced to the likes of Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison who both scored. Liverpool won the game but it didn’t feel like it, that was the type of impact that Leeds had made.
Leeds United 4-3 Fulham
In Leeds very next game they were involved in another seven goal thriller but this time they won the game. Heider Costa had scored in the 5th minute to get the ball rolling and he would end up scoring a brace and Bamford got on the score sheet again. It was an important win and told everyone how Leeds can bounce back from defeat.
Leeds United 5-2 Newcastle United
Newcastle under Steve Bruce were expected to win this game mainly because of the experience that the club had gained in the Premier League. But Leeds attacking flowing and relentless football overwhelmed the Magpies and following goals by Bamford and Rodrigo, Leeds scored 3 goals in 11 second half minutes to smash Newcastle and end up winning 5-2 at home. By now in the season another player had emerged of quality in the team and that was Stuart Dallas who also scored in this game.
Leeds United 5-0 West Bromwich Albion
Given how poor West Bromwich Albion have been this season Leeds were expected to win. However for the most part whilst the Baggies have been losing games they have also been stubborn in defence. But they had no reply to the way Leeds were playing this game. An own goal flew into the back of the net inside the first ten minutes which set up this game nicely for Leeds. Another 4 goals followed- all by different scorers and some lovely ones to boot in an easy win for the home side.
What has made Leeds such a brilliant attacking side?
The simple answer is Marcelo Bielsa. Leeds have only really shown that passion and fight since Bielsa was appointed as manager. In his first season Leeds did well in the Championship and got to the play-offs but lost it, that would have been agonizing. In the clubs 2nd attempt they made no mistakes, this, after being stuck in the second tier of English football since 2004.
Bielsa has implemented a team that work hard and work the ball out from the back. The club are not afraid to bring their defenders forward and commit and some of their dummy play in midfield has created spaces and more opportunities to score. What has been revealing is that Leeds are a team who do not give up. Even earlier in the season when they played Manchester United and lost 6-2. Even at that score Leeds played as if they were just looking for one goal to level it up.
Of course the Manchester United defeat revealed when the tactics can go wrong, when Leeds play to attack against a very good attacking side, yes they will score a few but could lose heavy. But for the neutral and surely for the Leeds fan it is a joy to watch overall. Bielsa seems to prefer the 4-3-3 formation but you get the feeling that he would be happy to change that up to. Though hell would have to freeze over before he played 5 at the back, his philosophy on that is clear, what’s the point?
Leeds Top 3 performers this season
1. Patrick Bamford 59pts
2. Jack Harrison 44pts
3. Mateusz Klich 31pts
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