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Are we better equipped for promotion?

So far this season, we are witnessing a different but nonetheless effective Leeds style. We are more prepared to play the long ball, to hold possession for sustained periods and to defend strategically, rather than having players chasing up and down the pitch.
The football is not as exciting, but the results certainly are. We have reached the full-time whistle several times without the dreaded, simultaneous squeak of 35,000 backsides.
What has happened, and what does this mean for the rest of the season?
A few suggestions:
1) Bielsa is adapting to the Championship by playing in a style more similar to other teams. We don't feel the need to be amazing every time we get the ball. We are creating fewer clear cut chances, but our possession stats are much the same as last season, so the opposition have to work hard to score.
2) Ben White. I was very much in the 'keep Pontus' camp, but this lad is the real deal. Can anyone remember a better right half since we came down from the Premiership? He is the reason our defence has improved so much this season
3) Linked to the above, but deserving of mention, we are not giving the ball away in our own half as much as we used to. These two points together make it very hard to sustain attacks against us. I think this is what Mowbray was alluding to when he talked about how hard we are to break down.
4) We are not taking our chances. Is there a poster who has not smashed their fingers down on the ''f' and 's' keys this season? It is as though we are not capable of threatening the opposition unless we attack at pace from our own penalty area. Surely there is an easier way to score goals?
5) There is a core group of players on lengthy contracts, Bielsa's lieutenants, the first names on the team sheet. Other players have to wait for their turn, to fill in when a key player is injured. Even then, they are expected to contribute the same way as the player who is missing. Players with unique skills, such as Costa and Nketiah, find it hard to be their best in this set up and I often wonder if they get the full support of the rest of the team. A player on a lengthy contract, in his late twenties, I think, is less likely to be as motivated to get into the Premier League, as a younger player who is gunning for top honours in the game.
All in all then, we are seeing a steelier, more consistent and more balanced team. I do feel confidence in this team, in a way that I did not feel it last year. Yes, the element of surprise is gone and many teams have sussed us out, but we are getting harder to beat. Our League winning team in 1969 scored 66 and conceded just 26 in 42 games. Hopefully, we are heading in the same direction.

posted on 12/11/19

comment by Stevie "Oso Loco" Dee (U10061)
posted 21 minutes ago
That's a tactical issue rather than players.
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Players in the final third aren’t good enough.

posted on 12/11/19

Really good article. A solid defence that doesn't concede is a great foundation to build on and if we can find something to be more ruthless with our chances that would be critical.sadly though this could be disrupted by a lengthy ban for Casillas and if we don't have effective cover for longer term injuries.

I still think we need to strengthen in January.other sides will, more sides who have been promoted in the past strengthened than kept the status que.

I hear Bielsa's small right knit squad and not favouring bringing players in mid-season.To counter that I wonder how he thinks the intense style of play, the repeated trend of injuries being picked up works alongside that position. It is great to have footballing beliefs and the small tight knit squad but a healthy dose of pragmatism based on past results is needed too.

posted on 12/11/19

Great article, yes the best articles are based on facts and not just rants.

comment by Stoopo (U4707)

posted on 12/11/19

We seem to have toughened up that soft underbelly we had last season. Just a few more goals from all the chances we create and we would be flying.

No doubt White has exceeded expectations and imo is a better player than Jansson.

Phillips is like a well oiled machine - he just ticks over when needed but can slam the foot down when required as well.

So yes I think we are better equipped but so might other teams be

posted on 12/11/19

I think we are stronger.

Disagree that we don't create as many clear cut chances this season. Think we create a lot more. Problem is Bamford & others keep missing them. But Bamford is one of the biggest reasons why are creating more clear cut or better chances.

posted 1 month, 1 day ago

I'd love to see Leeds back in the Prem....sadly you are the Tottenham of the Championship though....

Maybe this term

posted 1 month, 1 day ago

comment by The Hayemaker (U14625)
posted 7 hours, 6 minutes ago
comment by Stevie "Oso Loco" Dee (U10061)
posted 21 minutes ago
That's a tactical issue rather than players.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Players in the final third aren’t good enough.
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Aren't good enough at what, Hayemaker? It's easy to say they are not scoring goals, but they do a huge amount of work providing cover and running the lines. We lose effectiveness in front of goal, we gain traction in the middle of the field. The team look like they know each other, but we don't have a player who can fit the Bielsa mold, gel with his team mates and score goals. As good as Nketiah is, he doesn't play the way Bielsa wants and I wonder if we will see him again in a white shirt. With Pablo back, it will be interesting to see the difference he will make. We have Luton away when the break is over, a team who are struggling to find their feet in this division. Perhaps this will be the moment when we kick into the third gear that we know is there.

comment by Jonty (U4614)

posted 4 weeks, 1 day ago

If you feel Nketiah doesn’t play the way Bielsa wants, why did we sign him?

comment by Jaz63 (U8369)

posted 4 weeks, 1 day ago

You've nailed it in identifying White as a major improvement over Pontus who lost his head too often, in my view.

Are we really stronger than last year? We'll only really know at the end of this season. Let's hope Bamford now starts knocking them in for fun. He deserves it. Players like Bamford, Dallas, Harrison have all improved. The players and coaching staff all know one another much better now, I would think.

I'm happy to compromise on the end-to-end stuff if we end up with an auto spot - Bielsa can then have some fun taking the Premiership by storm next year!

comment by Jaz63 (U8369)

posted 4 weeks, 1 day ago

He'd have to do a third year if we go up - it would present an attractive challenge to him.

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