Opposition Report: Leeds

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Leeds United

Manager: Steve Evans

League Position: 15th

Overall: Played: 40; Won 11, Drawn 15, Lost 14; For 39, Against 49, GD –10; Points 48

 

Last six away matches:

Brentford 1-1 Leeds United

Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 Leeds United

Cardiff City 0-2 Leeds United

Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Leeds United

Rotherham 2-1 Leeds United

Burnley 1-0 Leeds United

 

Short statistics:

Most goals: Chris Wood/Mirco Antenucci – 9

Most assists: Stuart Dallas – 5

Most starts: Marco Silvestri – 39

Worst discipline: Giuseppe Bellusci – 12 yellow cards

 

Season in brief: 

One very typical of the reign of Massimo Cellino. There has been far more talk about concerns off the field than there have been on the field. Leeds United remain arguably the biggest club in the second tier but the shannigans away from the pitch have been the main reason a lack of progress has been made on the field since their famous Champions League semi-final back in the early 2000’s.

It did not take long for Uwe Rosler, appointed in the summer as a replacement for Neil Redfearn, to receive the chop. His attempts at trying to build a new Leeds United with a free-flowing style of football did not come to fruition – he won 2 of his 11 matches losing just four. Steve Evans then immediately took the reigns and the tomato faced Scotsman has seen results come in fits and starts as he looks to create a more efficient outfit. Without a win in his last four, isn’t that sacking form for Cellino?

 

Style:

Steve Evans is a pretty uncomplicated man when it comes to style. There is a stereotype that his style is largely unpleasant to watch and overly direct but Steve Evans is not quite as stupid as he may come across at times.

Look past the abnormally tight-fitted suit, tie that looks like it might be choking him at times and the raw, red, raging face that accompanies his aggression from the touchline is a man who knows how to win football matches and is uncompromising in his will to do so.

He won’t accept the fact that Leeds have remained a largely inconsistent outfit since he took over and the Scotsman will make changes to recreate better times next season if he gets the chance to do so. After all, he has won two titles with Stamford and two promotions with Boston United, Crawley Town and Rotherham United. Leeds is the biggest job he has taken on so far but given time, he should be successful and it is the kind of fame he will revel in.

His issue currently is that he possesses a side that are not quite in tune with style and aggression. Between raw, young talent and experienced pros, finding the right balance has proven difficult, particularly for a group that was built in the summer to play an expansive style by Uwe Rosler. Talk about polar opposites.

It will not be pretty and the yellow card count certainly supports the point that Leeds like to be direct and physical but as young players continue to grow with a manager who has a winning mentality and experienced players come on board or are replaced with players ready for the fight for Evans, Leeds will get stronger.

 

How do we get a result against Leeds?

Catch them on a bad day and they will give us the result.

Leeds are the type of side that can give you a real battle in one game then roll over and let the opposition run riot the next. That mentality is improving a little bit under Evans but Leeds still remain a side that can beat themselves before you need to beat them.

The main thing will be winning second balls in the middle of the pitch. The game can be made scruffy so winning second balls, being strong in the tackle but remaining headstrong enough to remain focused on the game rather than the physical battles will be key. Wide areas are going to be key between two sides who use the centre of the pitch to win the battle and the wide areas to provide the quality in games.

Leeds possess Stuart Dallas who is a real workhorse and Mustapha Carayol who can do nothing all game then ping a 30 yard into the top corner. With Donaldson likely to be wide left for Blues again, expect much of Blues’ play to feature down the right hand side through Cotterill and Caddis’ link-up. Against the youthful Charlie Taylor who enjoys breaking forward to join the attack, space could be left to exploit.

This may be a game about the mentality of both sides as opposed to tactical brilliance, however.

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