Leeds United really are the great entertainers under Marcelo Bielsa – in fact, they pip PSG to the post when it comes to creating chances this season.
Runners-up in last season’s Champions League and perennial runaway Ligue 1 winners, the French giants have some of the best and most creative players in the world in Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria, but that matters little to Bielsa.
The strengths of this Leeds United side are shown in one key statistic unearthed by WhoScored.
According to their metrics Leeds have created more chances per game than PSG in the league during the current campaign.
👀 Leeds are creating more chances per game (10.8) than Paris Saint-Germain (10.7) in the league this season pic.twitter.com/OcrabYOQZe
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 3, 2021
Considering the ease at which PSG open up sides and the dominance they hold as the financial heavyweights in that division, allied to their superstar attackers, it is a brilliant indictment of the work done by Bielsa and his coaching staff.
He has cultivated a team who know their exact jobs in his set-up and this has led to the Whites scoring 43 Premier League goals – more than all clubs except Manchester City, Liverpool, Leicester City and Manchester United.
These teams all finished in the top five of the Premier League last season while Leeds were playing Championship football last season, so that is quite some company we are keeping.
Indeed all of these sides are vying for European qualification this season and are in top six, while our defensive deficiencies have seen us leak 44 in the division, beaten only by basement boys West Brom.
That is obviously a concern to address in itself but what is extremely encouraging is the rate at which we are creating chances.
We have seen managers like Sam Allardyce go into teams in the lower regions of the Premier League and make them difficult to beat which is one of the easiest things to do.
What that doesn’t bring, however, is longevity.
Because where is the plan in all of that?
Under Bielsa the system and way he wants to play football is clear, and that will lead to long-term success.
We spent (relatively) big on Raphinha and Rodrigo but they were our only two attacking signings and they have had a brilliant impact, despite the latter’s injury issues which have seen him start just 12 of our 26 league fixtures.
The Spanish international only has one assist to his name but he is 10th in the division for second assists per 90 (0.17) while Raphinha is 12th for actual assists per 90 (0.26), per Wyscout.
Raphinha himself only started to integrate himself into the set-up in November, starting his first game v Arsenal on November 22 before scoring against Everton less than a week later.
So, kudos to El Loco for the brilliant work done on the training ground in shaping these stars and improving the existing squad, and great work to the recruitment team for signing those two players.
We can only imagine what Bielsa will be able to do when he is given the funds to bring in more attacking talents on the same level, or better, than Raphinha and Rodrigo.
It is an exciting prospect and who knows, if we sort our issues out at the other end, it won’t be too long before we’re challenging the likes of PSG in Europe for years to come.
In other Leeds United news, Emile Heskey sounds an ominous warning sign to Tyler Roberts.