Leeds’ tactics under Marcelo Bielsa may continue to falter due to key duo

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

For Leeds on Saturday, things didn’t go according to plan.

They dominated the possession, amassing over 60% whilst also registering 21 shots.

To say it was down to a lack of effort would be incredibly harsh.

One of the main reasons was because of a lack of shots on target. Throughout the 90 minutes they had just three before Wayne Routledge’s late winner for Swansea.

It was a smash and grab performance from the visitors but it did underline an issue with Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics.

On the chalkboard

Bielsa’s tenure at Leeds has been dominated by the use of his favoured 4-1-4-1 formation.

For the most part it’s worked, something that’s evident in how they reached the playoffs last term.

But there are still faults with it, particularly since Adam Forshaw came into a more advanced position.

The midfielder has been a reliable performer and the fact he’s managed to complete 90.8% of his passes heading into the international break sums that up.

But it’s his role alongside Mateusz Klich that dictates they could continue to struggle after their first defeat. It may also explain why Leeds have only scored ten goals from over 17 efforts on goal per game.

Above is the heat map for Klich and Forshaw against Swansea on Saturday afternoon, per WhoScored.

As you can see most of the play comes down the right-hand side, leaving a glaring gap towards the left-hand area of the penalty box.

Within the segment just outside of the 18-yard area, neither player really touches the ball on the left-wing. As a consequence, it’s leaving a key position of the pitch uncovered and without exploitation.

Considering both are supposedly playing behind the striker, this should come as some concern.

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However, it suggests that Forshaw and Klich aren’t truly aware of their roles. The two players are occupying the same space and this ultimately hindered Leeds at the weekend, leaving Jack Harrison isolated on the left flank.

Klich has struggled for numbers this term and after claiming ten goals and nine assists in 2018/19, he’s set up just one strike so far in the Championship this season.

This perhaps shows the effectiveness of him playing alongside someone like Forshaw and for Leeds to get better the midfield duo must become clearer in their roles.

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Article title: Leeds’ tactics under Marcelo Bielsa may continue to falter due to key duo

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