Leeds United are clearly one of the best attacking sides in the Premier League but their is work to do on the shooting front after a three-game barren run.
According to data issued by Twitter account ‘TheOther14‘ Leeds are by far the most successful team outside of the Premier League elite ‘top six’ for getting the ball into the opposition penalty area.
Their tweets highlight the good or bad work being done by the teams not in the so-called established elite of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hostpur.
Completed Passes into the Penalty Area per Game from TheOther14 teams in the #PL season so far. @Other14The @LUFC successfully passing into the box the most.#LUFC #AVFC #BHAFC #LCFC #twitterblades #EFC #FFC #WHUFC #SaintsFC #twitterclarets #CPFC #Wolves #NUFC #WBA pic.twitter.com/MVok9TSr2N
— TheOther14 (@Other14The) January 25, 2021
This latest table by ‘TheOther14‘ shows Leeds have no problem working the ball into dangerous areas of the pitch.
Per the figures they have completed 200 passes into the opposition’s penalty area in the Premier League this season with an average of 11.1 per game.
That is a much higher rate than any of the other 14 sides with Aston Villa their closest challengers at 10.2.
So where are the goals in 2021?
Leeds can clearly get the ball in and around the goal so why are they enduring a goal drought and yet to score this year?
Per Wyscout the Whites are not seeing significant drop-offs in terms of their build-up play passes to the final third standing at 89, 62 and 60 in their games v Brighton, Crawley Town and Spurs respectively.
Given that their average for the 2020/21 campaign is 61.8 there is no great decrease with the contest against Jose Mourinho’s side the only one to fall slightly below that mark.
However there has been a significant downturn in their expected goals (xG) total which has averaged at 1.78 this season.
Wyscout have recorded xG totals of 0.66, 0.79 and 0.99 across Leeds’ last three games which is a massive decrease from their usual levels.
One reason for this might be the styles of play adopted by those clubs.
United have recorded possession percentage figures of 64.88, 69.7 and 63.17 in 2021 but their season average is actually 60.09%.
So it looks like the opposition are happy for Bielsa’s side to keep the ball and camp on the edge of their penalty area.
This was seen in the Brighton game at Elland Road when the Seagulls named five centre backs in their starting XI all of whom are comfortable with dealing with balls into the box as natural defenders.
It has therefore been difficult for the Whites to create obvious openings in the defence with such little space in behind.
Teams have wised up to them now and have identified their obvious attacking strengths which sees them as the top scorers in the bottom half of the Premier League with 30 goals, despite not registering a goal in their last two games.
They might have to switch it up at times and take more risks with their shots.
Per WhoScored they take 63% of their Premier League shots in the 18 yard box, a higher percentage than any other team, with only 32% coming outside of the penalty area. Only Sheffield United and West Ham record are ranked lower in this regard.
This is all the more bizarre with the stat that United are actually the most successful long-distance shooters in the Premier League with eight goals coming from outside the box, two more than any other team.
With such accuracy perhaps and coming up against increasingly deep defences perhaps Bielsa should instruct his players to try their luck from range more often.
In other Leeds United news, Whites receive timely injury boost to three players.