Is Marcelo Bielsa concerned about Leeds United’s defensive frailties?
20 Nov 2020 09:37 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Question marks were raised over Leeds United’s defensive frailties after the first game of the season. Sure, we went toe to toe with Liverpool in an attacking sense but shipping four goals is always a concern. Leeds has come up to the Premier League with the intention of playing on the front foot and pundits expressed concern as to whether they could get away with it in the top flight. Supporters shrugged those concerns off though, Leeds had the best defence in the Championship last season and attacking is the best form of defence for a Bielsa side. It’s no shame the recent European and defending English Champions scoring four past you.
The games against Sheffield United and Aston Villa had proved Leeds can keep a tight ship at the back, but concerns have emerged again over the past two games as The Whites conceded a combined eight goals against Leicester and Crystal Palace. With seventeen goals against them, Leeds have now conceded the most goals in the Premier League so far this season, joint with West Brom.
Pundits and fans alike would be seeking out bet365 new customer offers tipping Leeds to concede at least one goal per game. But should we be concerned? Should Marcelo Bielsa be concerned about his teams defensive performances? During Thursday’s pre-game press conference he gave some analysis on the situation.
Bielsa told the audience that goals are conceded from disadvantageous positions and that to reduce the amount of goals conceded you need to prevent these disadvantageous situations. Of the seventeen goals Leeds have conceded this season four have come from penalties, which are ultimately preventable and not linked to defensive failings. Three have come from own goals and once which was the result of a preventable situation. None of these eight goals were linked to structural defensive issues, leaving nine goals to analyse in more detail. The teams who have conceded the least goals in the league have conceded nine.
There are seven ways in which a team concedes goals according to Bielsa, four of which Leeds have been very good at defending. Leeds commit very few fouls and as a result concede very few goals through direct free-kicks. Set plays were an issue against Liverpool, three conceded, but since then Leeds have only conceded one in the following seven games. A common weakness in the Championship was conceding goals from long balls from the opposition half, but Leeds have not conceded any this was this season. Leeds have also not conceded any goals from throw-ins this season.
For the remaining goals Bielsa says you must analyse a team’s offensive performance to judge their defensive performance. Defending is easy if you decide not to attack! Along with Liverpool, Leeds are the two most attacking teams in the Premier League, they create the most danger. Leeds have scored an important amount of goals this season which has put them mid table. Without their attacking style, relying on defence only Leeds may not have so many points on the board.
It’s clear Marcelo Bielsa will not abandon his attacking instincts, they have served Leeds so well over the last two seasons and they will do so again this season. To defend well Leeds will have to avoid situations where they are at a disadvantage. Bielsa will have analysed every goal, every situation and the team will learn. The return of Kalvin Phillips will stop Leeds getting into a lot of disadvantaged situations and Diego Llorente will bring experience to the defence. It’s clear though, that we should expect Leeds to take the game to Arsenal on Sunday just as they have to every other team this season.