Would Bielsa gamble or stick to his ways in the Premier League?
31 May 2020 07:57 am, by YorkshireSquare
It may be too early to entertain such thoughts, but the very prospect of a Leeds United side coached by Marcelo Bielsa making waves in the Premier League is too tantalising not to think about. Say we do get promoted, whichever way it happens, would Marcelo Bielsa have to change his style for the Premier League? Does he stick or gamble like a wager at sites like onlinecasinobet.vip on a new way of playing. After all high pressing, high possession attacking Wolves found that they had to become a more counter attacking side after they were promoted. Norwich and Aston Villa have tried to play the same way in the Premier League as they did in the Championship and are both in danger of going down. So would Leeds and Bielsa have to adapt?
Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas and Gianni Alioski at full back have all have earned praise at times this season, but truthfully its rarely been for defending. You wouldn’t honestly say that any of them are particularly brilliant defenders. If we adapt the system would we need to change full backs as the adaptation would possibly lead to them having to do far more defending then they are used to. Liam Cooper has undoubtedly improved under Bielsa, but he has been rather prone to mistakes in the past. A less offensive system may make him susceptible to errors again as we have seen in his performances for Scotland over the last year. A change in system may also affect Kalvin Phillips, who with space can dominate and run games but when pressed can look uncomfortable.
Further forward, any change to make us a bit more defensive and less open would impact the attacking players. As we know, Leeds create a lot of chances but don’t convert a high proportion. Klich, Costa, Hernandez, Harrison and Bamford have been extremely wasteful with ball at times this season. This is fine in the Championship because we create plenty of good chances a game and law of averages goes in our favour more often than not. But in the Premier League we may get only three good chances a game if we played more defensively. With the best will in the world nothing about our current midfield or forwards suggests we would score anywhere near enough goals if that happened.
This Bielsa side has had the opportunity to test itself against Premiership opposition once, against an eighth placed Arsenal, who they played off the pitch for 45 minutes and should have been well in front before the Gunners inevitably came into the game in the second half. So, is it just a case of small changes required to hold our own should we gain promotion? Key, as Bielsa had demonstrated to great effect, is to improve the players in the system. That could be an individual improving their game, a player stepping up from the academy or a shrewd signing in a key position. Strachan was the key to Howard Wilkinson’s success, the leader of our midfield who no doubt helped the young Batty and Speed.
Using Norwich and Villa are bad examples, the better one to use is, as much as it pains me to say, Sheffield Utd who have played a certain way since Chris Wilder took over. The players are used to the system and have improved season upon season. Wilder has seen some players improve and, in some cases, signed better players. This is far more like the project we are seeing Bielsa undertake at Leeds, he has improved players who most of us would have written off (akin to Wilder making good Premier League players out League One players and cast offs) and then bought in or loaned players to improve the positions where we needed strengthening.
All systems evolve with a little tweak here and there, if we are promoted it is likely Bielsa would not make many changes, he doesn't seem to work that way. He inherited a squad that had been written off and improved them. He seems to like to improve players who want to improve rather than simply going down the Man City route of buying in players. It is likely we will only see a few new faces in addition to converting this seasons loans into permanent. Any new players wouldn’t go straight into the team anyway, it isn't the Bielsa way, unless it was a case of them needing to like White did this season.
Expect any Bielsa side in the Premier League to be a case of evolution not revolution. If we can play with anything like the intensity we did in that first half against Arsenal it should be on hell of a ride.