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Leeds’ recent defensive lapse could be down to Kalvin Phillips

It’s fair to say that Leeds United have looked different recently.

The Whites haven’t been at the races whatsoever, and if it weren’t for a late winner against Birmingham City they’d have failed to win any of their previous four matches.

It’s no surprise that this poor run has coincided with a defensive lapse.

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Leeds still have the joint-best backline in the league, conceding just 20 goals in 25 games, but ten of those have been shipped in their last four outings.

So what’s going on? Ben White’s stats are still as excellent as ever, winning 11 interceptions in the last three games. The same, meanwhile, goes for Liam Cooper, who has amassed 20 clearances in the same time frame. So where is the defensive lapse coming from?

It’ll be hard for United fans to hear it, but blame for the Whites’ poor defensive record as of late may lie on the shoulders of Kalvin Phillips.

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The defensive midfielder has often been the rock in front of Leeds’ backline protecting the defence from any possible threats, but in recent weeks he’s been lacklustre.

The 24-year-old averages the third-highest tackles-per-game in the entire division, but in Leeds’ last four matches he’s made just two tackles overall, averaging 0.5 per match which is way down from the 3.1 he has been averaging this term.

That’d be ok if he was making up for it by winning the ball back in other ways, but his interception numbers tell a similar story as he’s made just two in the past four matches.

Is Kalvin Phillips Leeds' most important player?

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Yes

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No

There’s no doubting that Phillips is one of the main reasons for Leeds’ brilliant defensive record this season – his tackling stats up to this point have been nigh on impeccable, but his recent dip seems to be what has caused United to leak goals.

In other news, Phil Hay has named three positions that Leeds are looking to strengthen in January.

Article title: Leeds’ recent defensive lapse could be down to Kalvin Phillips

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