Leeds United are a team dividing opinion this season in the Premier League, but it’s fair to say their attacking, pressing approach is much to be admired.
Marcelo Bielsa’s philosophy, in his own words, is very simple: ‘We run all the time’ – as he is quoted saying in Inverting the Pyramid.
This is demonstrated best by Leeds’ recovery stats for the season, averaging over 81 ball recoveries per 90 minutes [Wyscout].
Stand out performances include Newcastle at home (100), Crystal Palace away (93) and Spurs away (92). The two away games the Whites actually lost, but it shows their belief in the system to keep grafting.
In their first season back in the PL since 2004, the Whites find themselves sat in 12th place after 18 games, having won nine.
It’s a testament to Bielsa and his squad, as it was widely questioned if his tactics would work in England’s top-flight.
Leeds have has several big performers this season, most notably Patrick Bamford who has 10 goals in 18 games, and Mateusz Klich, both of whom are ever-presents in the league.
Credit where it’s due
One man who deserves more credit is Stuart Dallas. The full-back has also featured in every single match this season having never previously played in the Premier League.
He’s scored three times this season, this includes matches against Leicester and Manchester United.
Although Leeds lost these games, he’s proving to cause problems for some of the best defences in the division.
According to Wyscout, he’s averaging 4.5 interceptions per 90 minutes (81 overall), including eight against Newcastle, seven against Manchester United and five against Burnley. Dallas is also making 8.39 recoveries in the opposition half per 90 minutes.
This relentless work ethic personifies everything Bielsa is asking of his players with this philosophy.
Dallas, along with his teammates, is doing Yorkshire proud on their return to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years.
In other Leeds United news, this pundit has voiced his concerns for the Whites.