The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

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Breakfast Debate The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by Ellandback1 »



Good Morning. It's Wednesday 9th December, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...


Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

As Robin Koch prepares to go under the knife, which will keep the German International out of action until next Spring, Bielsa seems content to rely on players he already has at his disposal. Koch originally picked up the injury at Liverpool on the opening weekend of the season. Rob Price and his team have managed the injury for many weeks and Koch has been able to play 11 times in the Premier League, and three international appearances for Germany.

Cooper's tenure at the club, along with his leadership skills will be enough for the Scottish International to to keep his starting slot his! Koch injury has coincided nicely with a return to fitness of Spanish International Llorente. The experienced 27yo endured a baptism of fire last weekend at Stamford Bridge, an appearance which will play a big part in his recovery.

Both Kalvin Phillips and Pascal Struijk have both played centre back this season too. Talented youngsters, Cresswell, Casey and Drameh can all be counted upon if necessary.





FIFA now involved in Augustin dispute

Just when you thought the Augustin debacle was over, FIFA have got involved in the dispute between RB Leipzig and Leeds Utd over the Frenchman. The Bundesliga club believe they sold the former PSG hitman to the Whites in good faith. Leeds would have to part with 18m if they were to regain promotion. However, the paperwork states that Promotion would have had to take place by the end of June. Leeds will argue that the contract was void as the season had not finished by the end of June.

After months of threats , the sport’s governing body has finally confirmed it has received a formal claim against the Elland Road outfit. A FIFA spokesperson told The Athletic...

FIFA can confirm that it has received a claim from RB Leipzig against Leeds United. The matter is currently still being investigated and consequently we cannot provide any further comments.

As neither club wanted the striker, they both provided written permission, relinquishing any claim to Augustin's registration allowing the 23 year old to join French outfit Nantes. Last week Nantes made a statement saying Augustin would not be considered for their first team, until he got himself match fit!


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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by Ellandback1 »

FANTASTIC PIECE BY PHIL HAY

Explaining Leeds’ weakness at corners and the risk Bielsa feels is worth taking

By Phil Hay 6h ago 11

One visit to Stamford Bridge was enough to understand why set pieces are a trick up Chelsea’s sleeve. The combination of quick movement, aerial dominance and a proficient corner-taker in Mason Mount conspires to strip away any margin of error for defences tasked with controlling them.

Leeds United were always likely to be vulnerable to dead balls against Chelsea, because many Premier League teams are. The Londoners’ regimented organisation in those situations is clear to anyone who studies them closely and Kurt Zouma’s goal in Leeds’ 3-1 defeat on Saturday was one of four good chances thrown up for the home side by corners into the box.

“We failed to neutralise them in this aspect,” Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa said. “In the end, it was an important factor.”

Chelsea were superior in other areas of the game too — winning the midfield battle with the help of a clever performance from N’Golo Kante — but defensive set pieces have been a weakness for Bielsa at points throughout his time at Elland Road. The perception that dead balls find Leeds at their most brittle is backed up by the numbers and also by the confusion Chelsea succeeded in causing over the weekend.

Almost 42 per cent of the 105 regular-season league goals conceded by Leeds on Bielsa’s watch have come from set pieces (although it should be recognised that 13 were penalties and largely unrelated to the way his team defend as a unit). Notably, 17 per cent of all of those goals were a direct result of corners, a total of 18 and a quarter of all the club’s 35 concessions in the Championship last season. Though Chelsea also had the class to outwit them in open play, not many sides can dominate Bielsa’s men in that fashion. An easier advantage can be gained through set-piece moves which exploit his method of marking at the back.

As a whole, Leeds are not unduly defensively fragile under Bielsa (even though their goals-against tally in the Premier League stands at 20, with only fellow promoted sides Fulham and West Bromwich Albion conceding more). In his two-and-a-half years, they have conceded just over a goal per game but that stability is in no small part down to their control of possession and territory and a very high press when a match is in full flow. Bielsa’s mindset when it comes to defending well is that the opposition cannot score against you if they are in their own half. Quality attacking keeps Leeds tight at the back. He never prioritises height in his line-up and, as was seen when he moved Pontus Jansson out at the end of his first season in charge, he will readily take a ball-playing centre-half over an aerial aggressor. Leeds defend best by nurturing the ball, not the other way around.

Smarterscout is a site which gives detailed analytics on players all over the world, producing a score between zero and 99, a bit like the player ratings in the FIFA video games but powered by real data and advanced analytics. This table provides an overview of how Bielsa’s squad perform in the air, compared to footballers who play the same position as them.

As the analysis shows, Liam Cooper scores very highly as a centre-back but throughout the dressing room as a whole, Leeds are not built to win aerial duels. Their attributes are strongest in other areas and with a midfielder like Mateusz Klich, there is much more to be had from his bright interplay than his ability to negate set pieces.



The absence of overwhelming height — something Leeds built good form on when Jansson was partnered with fellow 6ft 4in centre-back Kyle Bartley in the 2016-17 season — is an obvious point of reference in any discussion about their management of set pieces (as the graphic confirms, Leeds are not an exceptionally strong side in the air) but there is considerably more to examine than that. Is the issue tactical? Are a high percentage of the errors individual? Or does a combination of factors expose Leeds to the marauding power of a Zouma or an Olivier Giroud?

The first point to look at is the set-up Leeds use to defend corners (corners are the best example to analyse because Bielsa’s players do not ship regular goals from indirect free kicks or throw-ins, and penalties are less relevant again). It is well known that Bielsa goes man-for-man defensively, both in open play and from dead balls, but since the very start of his reign he has enforced some other principles at corners.

One of his wingers or attacking midfielders will always position himself on the byline, as close as possible to the corner taker and ready to jump against the delivery. Raphinha had that job for most of the Chelsea match. This causes a distraction and a potential obstruction, although Leeds have only repelled one cross in that way all season, in October’s win at Aston Villa. It also puts Bielsa’s team in a position to counter-attack if the chance presents itself. As soon as the ball goes in, the man on the byline steps up quickly, ready to react to a turnover of possession.

Bielsa, in keeping with his tactics as a whole, also tries to ensure that Leeds always have an extra man in their penalty area. This is usually Patrick Bamford, who occupies the ground by the near post and is almost zonal in the way that he looks to attack the dropping ball. He can be a good line of resistance and has weighed in with 11 clearances in the Premier League so far, more than Kalvin Phillips. If Bamford is off the field, his replacement centre-forward steps in. Back in Bielsa’s first year as head coach, the task fell to Kemar Roofe.

When it comes to loading the box, a regular group of six faces are employed: Bamford, Phillips, Cooper, Luke Ayling, Robin Koch (or Diego Llorente, as it was for most of the clash at Stamford Bridge after the German’s early departure through injury) and whichever of Gjanni Alioski and Stuart Dallas is playing left-back.

On rare occasions, Bielsa will have someone such as Jack Harrison on the goalline by the near post but he prefers to use a shield of bodies on the edge of the penalty area; for example, Harrison, Dallas and Klich in a relatively flat three. Everyone has orders on who to pick up. So, at Chelsea, Cooper took responsibility for marshalling Zouma and Koch started by tracking Giroud until Llorente replaced him after nine minutes.

This still, from the Everton game the weekend before last, shows exactly how Leeds tend to set up:



Although Bamford’s presence can make a positive difference, his free role covers a small part of the grass in front of goalkeeper Illan Meslier. Elsewhere, Leeds’ man-marking has to be perfect and any lapses in concentration or collisions will leave them exposed. At the corner shown above and in the next image, Richarlison can be seen peeling away from Alioski as James Rodriguez’s corner arrives, poised to head the ball into the net. The effort was ruled out for offside but it highlights how a yard here and there (in this instance, given up by Alioski) can place Leeds in danger and with no one on hand to help, as a zonal defence might.



Twice in the first 10 minutes at Stamford Bridge, Giroud lost Koch and then Llorente with darting runs to the near post, something the France international does particularly skilfully. Mount made the most of his movement with corners which were perfectly on the money. In the second half, Zouma headed home unmarked after Cooper went down amid a tangle of legs (Giroud should have done likewise soon after when Llorente lost him again, but sent another corner over the crossbar).



Zouma’s opportunity, aided by congestion six yards out, was similar to Virgil van Dijk’s goal for Liverpool on the first day of the season. Koch was blocked off on the penalty spot and Van Dijk stole away from him at close range (below). A fine second-half save by Meslier at Villa Park came after Ezri Konsa nipped in front of Ayling and met the ball on the volley. If Ayling could not stop Konsa, nobody else was in a position to pick up the slack. This is one of the risks Bielsa is prepared to take.



Opponents appear to have worked out that a scramble of bodies as a corner delivery drops is an effective way of unsettling Leeds.

Chelsea’s tactic of lining attacking players up behind one another, forcing Leeds to mass in the middle of their box, has been seen in previous matches too. The idea is that if attackers sprinting in all directions cause confusion and knock Leeds out of their shape, it will be difficult for them to recover.

There are occasions when Bielsa’s players try to take matters into their own hands, like in this example away to Crystal Palace a month ago. Palace’s opener, credited to Scott Dann despite the ball coming off Koch’s head last, arose from a corner floated deep towards the middle of the penalty area. The following pictures show Cooper (No 6 — the rearmost defender) realising that Koch is unlikely to beat Dann to the first header and leaving his own man (Cheikhou Kouyate) in a bid to meet the ball himself. Cooper puts some pressure on Dann but arrives too late to prevent the goal.





In these set-piece routines, Meslier — a very impressive Premier League debutant so far at age 20 after taking over as first-choice late in the promotion season — is largely benign. There are some goalkeepers in the top flight, such as Newcastle United’s Karl Darlow and Alphonse Areola of Fulham, who attack crosses regularly but Meslier is rarely drawn off his line and has recorded just two catches and four punches in his 11 appearances this season.

A greater responsibility lies with the players in front of him and the tightness of Leeds’ marking. Chelsea got the first touch to seven of their eight corners on Saturday and on the basis of that imbalance, conceding goals was inevitable.

It could be argued Leeds’ shortcomings at set pieces are very much in line with the strengths of Bielsa’s team. They are at their most confident and most alive in open play and Chelsea were the first Premier League side to fully figure out their high press and regular attempts to cut through on the flanks. Picking Leeds apart in that way is never easy but from dead balls, the chances of profiting are much higher.

Repelling them has never been Leeds’ forte under Bielsa and the chinks in the armour are there again as he and his side attack and defend in the only way they know how.
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by Scoobychief »

well our hopes are very much pinned on cooper and llorente now not picking up an injury, otherwise that leaves only struik to cover.and both coops and llorente are pretty much prone. lets hope they hold up
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

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Scoobychief wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:19 am well our hopes are very much pinned on cooper and llorente now not picking up an injury, otherwise that leaves only struik to cover.and both coops and llorente are pretty much prone. lets hope they hold up
I noticed that Llorente was limping just after Chelsea scored their third. I'm not convinced he has fully recovered from his injury. We walk a tightrope.
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by Chilli D »

Ellandback1 wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:10 am FANTASTIC PIECE BY PHIL HAY

If there's a chart showing defensive clearing headers from corners, I bet Bamford comes out on top. He does seem to clear a lot, probably because he covers the near post.
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

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The flowers of common sense do not grow in everyone's garden
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by White Riot »

Nice post Elland :clap:

Very informative :tup:

You can bet our opposing coaches will be all over this, it feeds into the narrative that most teams will follow against us, sit back soak up the pressure and either catch us on the counter or from set-pieces. Interesting that Klich isn't in the box when he's 6 foot tall?
I think there's also a physical element here, Cooper is a tall, strong traditional CB who can also play a bit. We've also Ayling who can play at CB.

If we are continually exposed at corners, and also pose no threat from them do our players lack focus or confidence?

The better teams like LFC, and CFC, can beat us without relying on corners, but obviously Klopp and Lampard were able to spot the weakness and take full advantage.

Strange that were absolutely useless at posing a threat from corners, when most teams are able to convert set-pieces into goals.

We're missing out badly at both ends of the park.

Even a dummy like Southgate was able to get England to a World Cup semi by scoring goals from set-pieces :roll:
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

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Chilli D wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:30 am https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/news/leeds ... 423150.amp

Awesome!
Nice one Chilli :)

Wouldn't like to pay his leccy bill though :shock:

Good to see the Yanks are leading the way in preserving the world's natural resources ;-)
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by 1964white »

Chilli D wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:18 am If there's a chart showing defensive clearing headers from corners, I bet Bamford comes out on top. He does seem to clear a lot, probably because he covers the near post.
True Chilli, he clears many headers at the near post generally

Easy to forget the defensive contribution Paddy gives us at set-pieces
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by 1964white »

White Riot wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:42 am Nice post Elland :clap:

Very informative :tup:

You can bet our opposing coaches will be all over this, it feeds into the narrative that most teams will follow against us, sit back soak up the pressure and either catch us on the counter or from set-pieces. Interesting that Klich isn't in the box when he's 6 foot tall?
Strange one WR, how often do you see Klich heading a ball?

We haven't got a great header of the ball anywhere on the park tbh
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by weasel »

PHil Hay makes some useful observations but misses at least one point. The player that is near the byline, when the opposition takes the corner, is also in that position to make it so that the opposition have to curl it further outward than they would like to which takes it away from our 6 yard box. This then means that if the opposition do win the header they are far less likely to score. Looking at the diagram above and I think it is Raphina who is in that position but he has strayed far too far away from the touchline meaning that the crosser can curl it into the 6 yard box far too easily. It is not about the player blocking the cross, it has to be a really bad corner for that to happen but just to make it so the delivery has to go wide of him (not inside which is the case with Raphina moving too far from the line) and further away from the goal.

I used this ploy for my Sunday league team, probably Bielsa had his spies there! The opposition would regularly win the headers but not score, or even come close, to scoring. I think we conceded 1 goal in 4 seasons this way.

I also deployed my 3 best headers of the ball in position to attack the ball, zonally rather than man mark, so they could simply focus on reading the flight of the ball and meeting it.
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by faaip »

CB depth

Koch (INJ) Cooper, Llorente, Ayling, Berardi (INJ) Struijk, Davis,

Davis being groomed to play CB and If we need to go deeper then Kalvin has played there, Charlie Cresswell would be a decent desperation measure...
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by Fridge »

faaip wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:57 pm CB depth

Koch (INJ) Cooper, Llorente, Ayling, Berardi (INJ) Struijk, Davis,

Davis being groomed to play CB and If we need to go deeper then Kalvin has played there, Charlie Cresswell would be a decent desperation measure...
Agreed, the depth isn’t as bad as it first looks.

One more injury though and it’s time to worry.
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by White Riot »

Bielsa has said today that Llorente has a muscular problem and will be out for 2/3 weeks :(

This week just keeps getting worse.

https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/sport/leed ... a-19426402
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by faaip »

Meslier
Dallas
Ayling
Cooper
Alioski
Phillips
Klich
Raphinha
Harrison
Rodrigo
Bamford

Still looks a very good team
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by Ellandback1 »

White Riot wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:57 pm Bielsa has said today that Llorente has a muscular problem and will be out for 2/3 weeks :(

This week just keeps getting worse.

https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/sport/leed ... a-19426402
Thats nothing.

I just heard that Koch' amputation went well!!!!!
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by Byebyegeegee »

Regarding Augustin FIFA are saying “The matter is still being investigated”, but by whom I wonder? I hope FIFA are only involved as a matter of procedure and are not going to be the arbiters of the dispute. I wouldn’t like to think our fate will be decided by that shambles of an institution which has shown itself to be wide open to corruption (and no friend of English football) in the recent past - absolutely no faith in receiving a fair hearing from them. Surely it is a legal/contractual dispute and nothing to do with football as such. It’s also a distraction we could well do without with our 1st year back in the big time.
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by Chilli D »

faaip wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:22 pm Meslier
Dallas
Ayling
Cooper
Alioski
Phillips
Klich
Raphinha
Harrison
Rodrigo
Bamford

Still looks a very good team
From an attacking sense, yes
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by White Riot »

Ellandback1 wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:53 pm Thats nothing.

I just heard that Koch' amputation went well!!!!!
We seem to have more than our fair share of crocks over the past few seasons :roll:

Maybe one of them can donate a hip to Forshaw :duno:
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Re: The #LUFC Breakfast Debate (Wednesday 9th December)Bielsa not concerned by lack of depth in defence

Post by White Riot »

Chilli D wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:18 pm From an attacking sense, yes
I bet we're brilliant at set-pieces :lol:
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