Leeds have lost three out of their last four matches under Jesse Marsch and appear to be spiraling towards relegation. Key players are absent, while Marsch himself still struggles with understanding the Premier League structure – making escape difficult.
Recent defeats have exposed a host of issues for Newcastle United, not least in defence. But midfielders also need to be addressed as an issue.
Leeds have struggled to effectively defend set pieces this season and it could quickly threaten their Premier League status if this issue remains unaddressed.
Let’s examine two examples from last night’s game against Liverpool. Richarlison received the ball from Seamus Coleman’s throw-in and received it quickly before passing it on for another shot by James Milner.
Leeds defenders failed to follow him closely as he ran towards the central area, allowing him to get onside and beat Luke Ayling and Greenwood.
Victor Lindelof played a long ball to Bruno, who managed to slip past Leeds defence. Again, Koch failed to track him and allow Bruno to run past him and score.
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Midfielders aren’t good enough
Leeds are suffering from an absence of creativity in midfield, which often sees Raphinha being dispossessed by opponent centre-backs when trying to cut in centrally and win possession.
Weston McKennie is well known for his physicality, and this proved true against Manchester United where he made three tackles, three fouls and earned himself a yellow card on that evening alone.
Leeds are delighted to welcome McKennie into the club, who appears comfortable playing in this Premier League campaign. However, his injury may lead to Tyler Adams taking his place on the starting lineup.
Man-marking is a key aspect of Leeds’ game and Bielsa’s propensity for using it is an easy target for Solskjaer to exploit. He understood this and devised an offensive plan against Bielsa’s man-marking tactics.
Since the start of this season, injuries to several of Leeds’ star players have had a devastating effect on their performances. Tyler Adams will miss four matches including Arsenal home match while Willy Gnoto and Max Wober have suffered injuries on international duty as well.
Adams is an integral component of Yorkshire FC, who are fighting relegation from the Premier League. While he should return to training on Wednesday, his absence will have serious repercussions for their performances and could result in their relegation from league competition altogether.
Patrick Bamford has also been sidelined by injuries this season, which has limited his performance and impact. However, he will look to play an instrumental role in Leeds’ upcoming match against Crystal Palace as he did against Brighton previously and should feature prominently against their opposition once more in this contest.
Javi Gracia has done wonders in getting Leeds organized enough to win games under him, yet some aspects of his tactics may be hindering their performance – from formation changes and possession play strategies, there are numerous areas in which Leeds aren’t performing as they should.
Starting off, their defenders have been particularly poor this season. Out of four back four players in total this term – which only kept one clean sheet against Southampton! – only one was managed successfully while others found it easy to take good positions on the pitch against them.
The Spanish manager is an advocate of width and the use of central midfielders to overload the centre of the pitch in possession. Additionally, he encourages his fullbacks to remain free in space in order for midfielders to make runs behind them during breaks in play.
However, he remains uncertain of how best to get them there, given how poorly his team has played so far this season. Perhaps something needs to change to bring about change?
Source: koora live