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…
Leeds United’s defence has been nigh on impeccable this season.
The Whites have conceded just nine goals in 16 matches this term. However, there is still one area where they can look to improve.
Indeed, 44 per cent of the goals they have conceded this season have come from set-piece situations, and while United can be satisfied with their performances at the back this term, they should always be striving for perfection, and that is one glaring area in which they can improve.
The man in question is Daniel Ayala, and the above graph shows just how dominant in the air the Spaniard is.
In nine of his 16 matches this season the centre-back has won four or more aerial duels, and with Leeds struggling from set-plays this term, it seems as if he’d be a perfect addition to their backline.
It’s not just from set-pieces either, long balls and big strikers have caused United problems in the past.
A great example of this would be their two games against Birmingham City last season.
Lukas Jutkiewicz caused the club huge issues across those matches last term, and that wasn’t only down to his prowess from set-pieces. For a measure of how dominant he was, the Blues striker won a staggering 24 aerial duels across the two games he played against United last term as the Second City outfit did the double over the Yorkshire outfit.
Not only would the arrival of Ayala cut out the issues from dead-ball scenarios, but the £3.6m-rated defender could also help stifle any teams that attempt to have success by playing route one football against Marcelo Bielsa’s side.