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Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa out-managed by Monk again

Four games, zero wins. That’s Marcelo Bielsa’s record against Garry Monk in the Championship.

The former Leeds boss has consistently got the better of the Argentine over the past two seasons with both Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday.

You may want to point to Bielsa’s tactics just being a mismatch to the way that Monk likes his teams to play, but on Saturday the 40-year-old beat the former Chile boss by using a completely different style.

Going forward

Bielsa’s side lost twice to Birmingham City last term, and it was really obvious as to why.

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The Argentine’s backline simply couldn’t deal with Monk’s rough and tumble style as they were bullied time and again by the aerial threat that is Lukas Jutkiewicz.

The Pole won 24 aerial duels across two games against the Whites, and he allowed the Blues to create chance after chance off the back of those.

Of course, Monk’s time at St Andrew’s was cut short, but he wasn’t out of a job for too long as he returned to Yorkshire to manage Wednesday.

He employed similar tactics during his first meeting with Leeds while in charge of the Owls. Steven Fletcher’s battering-ram like presence saw him win six aerial duels against the Whites, but Bielsa seemed to wise up to this as Monk’s side failed to score that day.

On Saturday, the Owls had to change things, and they did.

Attacking an area that Phil Hay has described as Leeds’ weak spot was the order of the day. The Owls continuously ran the ball down the right to go one on one with either Barry Douglas or Ezgjan Alioski with Jacob Murphy completing four dribbles and Osaze Urhoghide making three.

The Owls weren’t dominant by any stretch of the imagination, but they were efficient when going forward as they didn’t waste time attacking areas where they knew they were outmatched.

At the back

One thing that shouldn’t go unnoticed in this saga is that Bielsa’s Leeds have only scored once in four games against Monk-led sides, and that’s down to the no-nonsense style the Englishman has incorporated.

With the rise of tiki-taka and passing football, clearing your lines has almost become archaic, but it’s been so effective against Bielsa’s system in these games.

In Leeds’ 1-0 loss at St Andrew’s last term Harlee Dean made 11 clearances, while Michael Morrison and Maxime Colin made five and six respectively.

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It’s a trend that was also evident in their September meeting as the back four made a combined 27 clearances on that day, and Monk once again used similar tactics on Saturday.

The two centre-halves made a combined 13 clearances which wouldn’t usually be a good thing, but against a side that presses like Bielsa’s outfit, it’s a huge positive.

It’s simply impossible to press a ball that’s just being heaved up the other end of the pitch every time, and the Leeds frontline were doing a whole lot of running without being able to force mistakes from their opposition.

Monk overcame Bielsa’s pressing style while also pressurising a weak-point of United’s defence down the other end, and that’s what won him the game on Saturday.

In other news, Danny Pugh has shown excitement about one of Angus Kinnear’s big plans for Leeds United.

Article title: Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa out-managed by Monk again

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