This article is part of a regular series from Leeds United stats supremos All Stats Aren’t We – the team also host a brilliant podcast that goes in-depth into the tactics of Marcelo Bielsa and a deeper look at the underlying stats
Some thoughts on 20-year-old Pascal Struijk, a player whose stock has risen a lot in the last few days.
He was thrown in at the deep end on Thursday and excelled. He looked the part starting on Sunday, albeit in a low-intensity game. Graphics once again by @Twenty3sport.
It’s interesting to see his defensive activity focussed on the left.
We’ve talked a few times over the course of the season about how Phillips would often fill in at the left channel in defensive transition and we can see that Struijk was doing that against Derby.
Something Leeds were lacking in their win against Barnsley on Thursday was somebody to help progress the ball during build-up.
Too often there were huge gaps between the defensive line and the midfield, with nobody really comfortable in the position Phillips has made his own.
In this viz, we can see Struijk’s average position and the primary movements he made to receive the ball.
This is much more what we would expect to see from somebody playing in defensive midfield. Positioned just ahead of the defensive line and coming out wide to receive it if needed.
Perhaps before the weekend, many wouldn’t have thought much of Sruijk’s future in the first-team, but it’s possible that he’s now knocking on the door as a backup option in a problem position for Leeds.
The data used to make these graphics comes from Wyscout, as always.
In other Leeds United news, ‘Leeds are done’ – Lee Bowyer delivers verdict on Elland Road clash, Addicks fighting for lives