Sunday, January 29, 2023

How Bielsa Should Set Up Leeds United So That They Can Get A Win Over Derby County

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Ayush Chaurasia
Sports Management Graduate. Wannabe sports manager/writer and researcher. If not found disscussing about sports, will be seen talking about movies or tv shows. Miserable rest of the times.

Leeds United’s worst nightmares came true as they surrendered their supremacy on the top in the final month of the season. To rub more salt into the wounds, the Whites succumbed to a shambolic defeat against bottom-placed Ipswich Town where they managed to lose 3-2. Ipswich hadn’t managed to score three goals in a single game this season until then, and the Whites faithful must have been tearing their hairs out seeing the last few performances.

Bielsa’s men now cannot overthink about the previous losses, and they need to pick themselves up to face Derby County who seem to be peaking at the right time. They defeated West Brom 3-1 in their last game which was a virtual knock out game for them as Middlesbrough were breathing down their neck.

Leeds United have never achieved promotion by winning the playoffs, and their form has made them look vulnerable. Moreover, Derby can get one over Leeds United after the spy gate saga, and Lampard would be keen on showing his managerial chops. However, Bielsa and Leeds should be quietly confident after defeating the Rams twice in the league this season

Here is how Leeds United should approach this game.

Clean sheet should be a priority

The Whites have conceded eight goals in their last four games, and that is one of the concerning factors for the club. Things are not coming off in the final third for Bielsa’s men so the club’s playoff run might have to be built on a tight backline. Set piece defending has been an issue which is surprising to see as the Whites have two centre backs who aerially dominant. Lack of communication and misunderstanding has also been a significant problem at the back. Keeping a clean sheet at Pride Park would be a massive step for the club as the Rams have scored 14 goals in their last six games.

Defending the central areas

Derby County often takes the route of attacking from the middle. Both their wide players, Harry Wilson and Tom Lawrence, try to drift inside and the Whites can get outnumbered in central areas. Therefore Leeds United need to be careful during the transition phase, and players will have to drop back to help the centre backs.

Doing the basics right

An obvious statement but the Whites should focus on doing simple things right. Lack of communication between Ayling and Casilla resulted in a catastrophic mistake against Ipswich Town. A simple and loud call from either of them could have solved that problem. Midfielders and attackers are taking way too many heavy touches in the final third. Players are scuffing far too many shots from good scoring areas, penalty misses, set-piece defending, having a clean first touch; these are all the basics of football and the Whites need to make sure that they do that right.

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