How the Championship was Won: Leeds United Season Review 2019/20

Defensive Improvements

One area in which Leeds improved in their Championship winning season, was defence.

Ben White

When Pontus Jansson was shown the door at the end of last season, much of the fan-base saw it as an error. Certainly, many were expecting a much more impressive replacement than the 21-year-old (he turned 22 during the season) who turned up on loan in Ben White. Having only played at League One level, this was Bielsa’s (and Victor Orta’s) biggest gamble yet…

Continuing to Trust the Process

In attack, it has been much of the same. In 2018/19, Leeds were the division’s best chance creators, averaging 1.67 xG per 90 and scoring 76 goals. In Bielsa’s second year, they have improved slightly in terms of xG, averaging 1.82 per 90 and scoring 77 this time around.

Jack Harrison

Harrison’s first season at Elland Road left a little to be desired. He’d played a lot of minutes: 2861 minutes to be exact. However, he only had 6 goal contributions in the form of 4 goals and 2 assists to show for it. His xG of 4.95 and xA of 3.16 suggest that he underperformed a little but his underlying numbers weren’t that impressive in the first place. Certainly not what would be expected from a winger playing that many minutes in a side as dominant as Leeds.

Tactical Shifts

This changing rotation of personnel has seen Leeds shift a little tactically this season.

Pablo Hernandez

It’s impossible to speak about the attacking process of Bielsa’s Leeds without speaking about ‘El Mago’. The conductor of the orchestra: Pablo Hernandez.

Leadership Group

As Leeds unravelled at the end of last season, one of the biggest criticisms was a lack of leadership in the squad. Leeds finished 10 points clear at the top despite the pressure coming from Brentford, who went on a run of 7 wins after lockdown before eventually crumbling under the pressure when second place was in their hands. In part, this was the result of the fact that Leeds had leaders all over the pitch.

Unwavering self-confidence

We’ve barely mentioned Kalvin Phillips in this article, which is quite ridiculous, but there is one player that we can’t finish the piece without mentioning properly and that player is Patrick Bamford.

So, what next?

Most importantly, if Leeds are to kick on in the Premier League, they must sign Marcelo Bielsa up to another season. Victor Orta must then add four or five quality players to this team and will need to be particularly savvy in the market to get the kind of quality Leeds will need at a good price.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store