MOT View: Underperforming Leeds have big chance to go on table-topping run over the next 6 games
Leeds United have been underperforming this season, that much we know.
In fact, according to a fascinating but depressing graph from Ben Mayhew on his @experimental361 Twitter page, Leeds have been underperforming for the majority of the time Marcelo Bielsa has been manager.
The graph below shows that Leeds also underperformed in the final third of the 17/18 season under Paul Heckingbotton, but the biggest peaks of pink have come in the last three months.
The blue line is the Leeds goal difference and the red line is the expected goal difference. If the red line is higher than the blue line, you’re underperforming – and the amount of pink shows by how much.
Given the level of underperforming, Leeds are doing well to still be in touch at the top of the table and the club’s brilliant defensive record has played a big part here.
But it’s time to go on a run. And an interesting stat from Infogol shows the next six games are the time to do it.
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Leeds have got the easiest run of games in the entire Championship, alongside Stoke, with opposition rated by their final forecasted position by stats site Infogol.
It means that Saturday’s opponents, Luton Town, are predicted to finish 23rd and get relegated. Leeds follow Luton with games against Reading (predicted to finish 19th), Middlesbrough (20th), Huddersfield (17th), Hull City (12th) and Cardiff City (seventh).
🏴 #SkyBetChampionship Strength of Schedule 📊
Newly-appointed Michael O'Neill and #SCFC have the easiest run of fixtures in the next 6 games, alongside 3rd placed #LUFC. #FulhamFC have the toughest run, while league leaders #WBA face a testing schedule in the coming weeks. 👇 pic.twitter.com/tnhn7WnwBp
— Sporting Life Football & Infogol (@InfogolApp) November 20, 2019
What about the teams around Leeds?
Preston and West Brom, both above Leeds, have tough runs (11.5 and 10.8 respectively), while Bristol City and Fulham have the toughest two sets of fixtures in the entire division.
The games come thick and fast now as well. The next six games are set to be played in just over three weeks, with three games in eight days from Saturday.
We’re not being complacent about any of the teams Leeds are set to face and it’s not like Leeds are masters at putting away teams they should be beating easily (Wigan last season anyone?) but there’s no doubt this is an absolutely key period in the season.
Top by Christmas has to be the aim.
In other Leeds United news: Should Leeds take QSI money and should Radrizzani retain control?