By David Woods

29th Dec, 2019 | 11:30am

MOT Tactics: Leeds' Achilles heel has resurfaced ahead of clash v Birmingham

This article is part of a regular series from Leeds United Twitter account 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


Time for another update on the big chances graphs.

As always – Big chances are over .3xG and are defined by Opta as a chance that should ‘reasonably be expected to score’. Close range efforts, one-on-ones for example. Penalties are always big chances. Leeds United still stand out.

Since these graphs were last updated, Leeds have dropped a little in terms of creativity, but still create comfortably the most big chances in the league. During the seven-game winning run the conversion % was rising towards the mean, but it has dropped off again unfortunately.

This has been Leeds’ Achilles heel for a long time and it seems ridiculous that we’re still talking about this, but here we are.

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On the big chances conceded graph, Leeds are also still the best, with them and Brentford the only sides to give up less than one big chance per game. Despite conceding more goals recently, only Glatzel’s equaliser v Cardiff and Mitrovic’s penalty were considered ‘big chances’.

The big chances created v big chances conceded graph shows Leeds are still the standout team in the division though.

Brentford look threatening, but as per these graphs, whilst Leeds fans will be panicking because of what happened last season, West Brom might think they’re sitting pretty, but the data doesn’t back that up.

In fact, they should be looking over their shoulder as they are dropping in terms of creativity and they are being kept at the top by individual moments of brilliance. They do have the players for that, but this is dangerous to rely on.

More concerning for them though should be the amount of big chances they are giving away. They give away almost exactly the league average for big chances against, which is not what you’d expect of a side competing at the top of the league. They would have to admit to being lucky.

Leeds blip in form in the last few games has meant that they haven’t taken advantage where West Brom have dropped points. However, where Leeds have dropped points whilst still dominating performance metrics, West Brom have drawn three and won one of their last four, despite ‘losing’ all four per xG.

Whilst the old phrase of ‘champions win whilst they’re playing badly’ might apply here, we’d say this is something they can’t keep up. Either their performances have to improve, or they will be the ones to drop back towards the chasing pack.

Leeds will need to put an end to this blip in form in order to put to bed the questions around their psychological state.

These are legitimate questions after last season, but one would hope lessons have been learnt and Leeds can turn their dominance of performance metrics into another winning run.

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