Leeds put in a vintage Marcelo Bielsa performance to return to the summit of the Championship on Wednesday, and a couple of unique stats show exactly how they did it.
Leeds have lost five times in all competitions since the seven-game winning spree that catapulted them clear at the top of the table, but they returned to top spot on Wednesday night.
The Whites beat Swansea 2-1 courtesy of goals from Pontus Jansson and Jack Harrison, and Norwich’s 3-1 defeat at Preston leaves Bielsa’s side one point clear at the top.
While some of the play with the ball on Wednesday night was stunning, the team’s work off the ball was what really made the difference, and the stats show that Swansea will be having nightmares about this trip for quite some time.
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Much has been made of Bielsa’s “pressing”, and there have even been suggestions that the Argentine’s rigorous training methods are responsible for the club’s injury woes, but Wednesday night showed exactly what happens when the system works.
According to LUFCDATA, Swansea boast the highest pass accuracy in the league this season at 82.2 per cent, but managed to complete just 77 per cent of their passes at Elland Road.
The Swans have only recorded a lower passing percentage than this on four other occasions this season, and only once in a defeat (76 per cent vs Derby).
According to Whoscored, Bielsa’s side won 21 tackles in the match, nearly double the total (12) recorded by Graham Potter’s side, while the Swans were also dispossessed a whopping 16 times compared to just six for Leeds.
When considering that Leeds also had 61 per cent of the possession, the fact that they caused so many turnovers is remarkable, and a testament to Bielsa’s attention to detail.
Only the very best tacticians can achieve such an utterly dominant pressing performance, and if Leeds are fit enough to put in a shift like this 32 games into the season, it bodes very well for the rest of the campaign.