The Whites have spread out their results equally with two wins, two draws, and two losses in the top-flight so far, whilst scoring 10 goals and conceding 10.
They avoided relegation back down to the Championship by the skin of their teeth last season as they finished three points above 18th-placed Burnley and will be hoping that they are further clear of the drop zone this time around.
Only Norwich (84) conceded more games than the Whites (79) in the Premier League in 2021/22 and their struggling defence has reared its ugly head again this term, with 10 goals conceded so far – including five against Brentford in their last outing.
Whilst the quality of the defending could be brought into question, Illan Meslier’s form has been a cause for concern over the last few months or so.
Out of the 42 goalkeepers used throughout the campaign, the Frenchman ranked bottom for goals conceded compared to the post-shot xG he faced. He conceded 7.3 more goals than the average goalkeeper would be expected to let in based on the quality of the shots against him.
This season, he ranks 19th out of 24 goalkeepers as he has allowed 1.4 more goals than expected after six appearances and these statistics suggests that he has been below par since the start of 2021/22.
The Leeds glovesman is – quite simply – not saving enough of the shots that he should be saving – if he wants to be a competent Premier League shot-stopper – and it is costing Marsch’s team on the pitch.
Fabrizio Romano described the gem as being “untouchable” during the summer transfer window but director of football Victor Orta could now land an upgrade on him by signing Yassine Bounou, who has been linked with a January switch to Elland Road, from Sevilla.
Journalist Josh Bunting previously claimed that the Morocco international has “outstanding reflexes” and his statistics back that up, as he ranks in the 92nd percentile among goalkeepers in Europe’s top five leagues over the last 365 days for goals conceded compared to post-shot xG – saving 0.20 more than expected.
During the 2021/22 La Liga campaign, he saved 76% of the shots that he faced and his shot-stopping statistics suggest that he would be a major upgrade on Meslier between the sticks and improve the club’s defensive record.
Over the last 365 days, he has also stopped a higher percentage (8.6%) of crosses into his box than the Leeds man (7.1%) and this means that the Sevilla man could be more effective at dominating his box.
Meslier, 22, is still learning and gaining experience in the game and spending some time on the sidelines as the number two to Bono, 31, could be a tough learning curve that he needs to go through to take his game to the next level.
He could learn from the 6 foot 4 Moroccan machine and improve his own performances and this is why Orta must bring the Sevilla man in during the January window because he can be an upgrade on the Frenchman in the short-term whilst also helping the young gem to develop for the future.