Leeds Thrash WBA On Their Own Game - ΑΘΛΗΤΙΚΗ ΓΝΩΜΗ





Τετάρτη 6 Μαρτίου 2019

Leeds Thrash WBA On Their Own Game

Τακτική ανάλυση της μεγάλης νίκης της ομάδας ΛΙΝΤΣ με 4-0 απέναντι στην West Bromwich Albion

 από τον The Football Issues by Alexander Maniatoglou

Image source: yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

Starting Line Ups

Leeds, coming from an unexpected loss against QPR faced West Bromwich Albion, one of the few teams that could boast that they had won Leeds fair and square. After all, their win 4-1 over Leeds on mid October was a sensational one, in a sense that their counterattacks had proven too much for Leeds. Moreover, West Bromwich Albion came to Leeds with the aspiration to win and get closer to the automatic promotion. On paper this spelled a tight game…

Game Plans And Formations

 No surprises here, as Bielsa himself had stated one day before the game that in this 3rd game in 6 days the same starting 11 would play. Many expected some changes in order to bring freshness and energy to the team, but were mistaken firstly at the press conference after the game with QPR where Bielsa defended himself and his staff, by saying that fitness was not the issue on QPR defeat and confirmed his belief and statement by putting the same starting 11 with WBA. And the players delivered a stunning performance, practically confirming his manager.
On the other hand, WBA manager Darren Moore, opted for a 1-4-3-3 on paper, which however had some tweaks, principally in defensive organization as we will see afterwards.

First Explosive 15 Minutes
Well, whatever plans each manager had prepared for his team, things changed right from the start, when Cooper won a decisive header and initiated a counterattack that Hernandez converted into a goal on the 15th second of the game!
An excellent start for Leeds that set the tone for the next minutes. Practically the first 15 minutes was a series of transitions here and there with the ball going back and forth . Leeds would press high, steal balls and launch counterattacks immediately. The pace of the game was relentless and Leeds’ players were up to the task.
WBA were unable to keep the ball as they were being pressured, and could not transport the game near Leeds’ box where they could be more dangerous. Huge merit in this must go to Leeds’ defenders Jansson, Cooper and Philips who intercepted at least 7-10 balls and stopped WBA’s attacks on their birth.
Three Leeds players put pressure on LCB and Jansson is ready to intercept his feeble pass

WBA want to counterattack but Philips with a decisive tackle gets the ball and suddenly the attackers become the attacked
On the 40th minute the tackles were 16 for Leeds and 4 for WBA, which shows the passion and determination Leeds’ players demonstrated.

Continuous Leeds Dominance
 After the first 15 minutes, the pace of the game slowed down a little and some tactical aspects could be deciphered. This was due to Leeds who continued to control the game and change it’s pace at will. WBA’s defensive approach was interesting enough. Even though on paper it was a 1-4-3-3, actually when one central defender had the ball WBA’s CF Rodriguez would drop to mark Philips and the two wingers would squeeze in as if they played with 1-4-4-2 diamond.
Jansson has the ball but Rodriguez initially controls Philips and then will go to press keeping Philips on his shadow. The two wingers come inside and RW is completely indifferent of Alioski’s high positioning.

However the most important part occurred when the ball eventually passed this 1st line of pressure. WBA’s CF would drop further back acting like a link to defense and wingers while wingers would stay up and open to stretch Leeds’ defensive line. So they defended with 4 plus 3 with CF and wingers waiting for the counterattack. The plan was when they would steal the ball pass it to CF who would be near and he would feed the wingers trying to put the ball or behind Leeds’ defensive line or at their feet to go on a 1v1situation with space to explore.
We can see that the player that goes to press Leeds’ full back (in this case Alioski) is the interior midfielder while right winger stays up for a counterattack
Another example, this time more concrete. Two WBA defensive lines close to each other, one of 4 one of 3. Wingers are nowhere to be seen, while CF is a little bit behind the referee.
Leeds responded in this plan by giving Alioski on the left side the liberty to push up while Ayling normally would stay behind and form a line of three with the central defenders and Philips would stay in front of them to cover (4v3 numerical superiority)
Leeds defending counterattacks. Cooper intercepts the ball, Jansson covers and Ayling (can’t be seen) marks WBA’s LW. However, some times even Ayling would push up and Leeds would risk by playing in a 3v3 situation
Notice WBA’s defense. Essentially, a line of 4 and a line of 3 mainly waiting for the opponent to come. CF is ready to receive and turn if WBA steal the ball.
Having dealt with WBA’s main strength (counterattacks), Leeds controlled the game and exploited the numerical superiority on the sides to advance the ball from there (either with a long ball either with fast passes) and in a situation derived from the left flank scored the second goal:

It was not the first time that Bamford showed his class as in the second half he scored a 3rd Leeds goal, when WBA were trying to press and win something out of the game. He positioned his body well, anticipating the duel and gaining momentum by it, and his well-timed shot found the net.
In the additional time, Alioski put the icing on the cake picking up a  4th goal.
Alioski gets rewarded for his continuous offensive presence.


After the loss by QPR Bielsa was questioned about his team efficacy and ratio between chances/scored goals. He said something insightful. “You can’t train efficacy i.e. you can’t train your players to score when they have a chance. What you can train however is the methods and ways to bring your players in position to score”. This came to my mind after a Leeds attack:
Now this is 100% trained. It didn’t lead to a chance, yes, but it was close enough and can give an idea about how certain things can be trained or not. If the ball had passed and Roberts didn’t score, that wouldn’t negate the fact that the training process paid off as it did get Roberts in place to score regardless of the final outcome.
This game is a prime example of Leeds strength when they get the lead. 16 times they scored first and they won in every single one of these games.
Sure enough, a goal at the 17th second is a huge boost but Leeds completely deserved this as their performance showed that the goal was not out of the blue, rather it would come anyways sooner or later. All in all a decisive win that Leeds needed in order to keep WBA on distance and show Sheffield United and Norwich that it will be a battle to the end.



Image source: flashscores.co.uk

All images source: wuscout.com unless otherwise indicated