This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Following a summer of frustration for many Leeds United supporters who had been concerned about the state of their squad coming into the 2019/20 Championship season, the Whites got off to a dream start as they beat Bristol City 3-1 at Ashton Gate on Sunday.
Goals from Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison put the Yorkshire club on their way to a big three points on the opening day, as they look to go one better than they did last term when they spent the majority of the campaign in the automatic promotion spots, before falling out of the top two in the closing weeks and losing to Derby County in the play-offs.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side may have had the inexperienced Kamil Miazek, Leif Davis, Mateusz Bogusz and Robbie Gotts on the substitutes’ bench, while Jack Clarke only has four Championship starts under his belt, but they were relatively comfortable against the Robins.
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One of the Argentine’s big decisions going into the clash against Lee Johnson’s men would have been who to start at left-back, with Ezgjan Alioski filling in there in Barry Douglas’ injury absence for the majority of 2019.
It was the latter who got the nod but he unexpectedly – especially after a first season at Elland Road in which he drew plenty of praise from his own fans – flattered to deceive as he stepped out for the first team for the first time since March.
Given he is an experienced head and played a key role in Wolves’ promotion in 2018, as well as picking up five assists in his debut season at Elland Road, it was a surprise that the 29-year-old provided little to no attacking threat against Bristol City.
He failed to complete a single dribble and was only accurate with one of his five attempted crosses, according to WhoScored.
The former Wolves man didn’t impress from a defensive point of view either as he failed to make a single tackle or interception, while committing two fouls.
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Perhaps the Scotland international is still getting back up to speed following his injury problems, but unless he shows a bit more in the future he risks losing his place to Alioski, who had to settle for a spot on the substitutes’ bench at the weekend despite playing in 44 of his team’s 46 league games last term.
Bielsa will surely want to see more from Douglas from both an attacking and defensive point of view when Leeds welcome Nottingham Forest to Elland Road on Saturday.