When there’s something worth learning, it’s worth learning from the experts. To find out more about Leeds United, we spoke to our sister blog - Through It All Together to learn about Marcelo Bielsa’s men. Pete Schlenker who runs the show over there was kind enough to offer a few words.
1. What’s the deal with Andrea Radrizzani? His company seems to be going belly-up, will it have any effect on the club?
As far as we can tell, any problems with the UK arm of Eleven Sports won’t cause any problems with Leeds United, as the two entities are totally and completely separate. It’s not ideal, of course, for the owner to have any financial problems, but Leeds are one of the top teams in terms of revenue in the Championship and don’t spend crazy amounts of money. Also, while Eleven Sports UK might be losing money, it’s doubtful that any of that money was actually his money.
2. How will Leeds deal with the sudden loss of Samu Saiz?
Leeds have been playing without Saiz in the starting eleven for a few weeks now, as he was taken out of the lineup, with Adam Forshaw seeming to be preferred to the Spaniard. Now, the two have very different skill sets and styles of play, but the point remains that Leeds have been able to win with Saiz out of the lineup. Also, Pablo Hernandez is a magician, and if he moves back to the attacking midfielder or “enganche” position, where he played before Saiz came to the club, then Leeds will probably be just fine, albeit missing a player who could come on and change the game.
3. Who should Villa vans look out for? Is there an unheralded player that will cause problems?
Pablo Hernandez is the best player at Leeds and will always be dangerous. The youngster that will probably turn some heads is Jack Clarke. The teenager has already proven to be a game changer, and Bielsa has been bringing him on in the second half lately, and Clarke has been making a huge difference. It might be too much to start him against Villa on the road, but then again, Leeds played another young player, Aapo Halme, at central defender against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, so anything can happen, really.
4. What kind of style will Marcelo Bielsa try to play?
Bielsa is the “high priest of the high press” and when Leeds are on their game, it absolutely shows. This team will run all day, put pressure on the other team in their own half, and generally try to get the other team to make a mistake and quickly move the ball into attacking areas. Leeds have had the majority of possession in all but one match this season, and that was the game against Sheffield United, as they’ve even had a great amount of possession in the games that this team has lost.
5. Predict the score?
Dean Smith has already beaten Leeds once this season, when he was managing at Brentford, but I actually think that will lend itself for an advantage for Bielsa. I don’t see many managers getting too many results over Bielsa in a season, even if the team is a little ragged at the back, if any manager can get the best out of this bunch, it’s Bielsa. 2-1 win for Leeds.
Thanks Pete, we love ya, but you’ll be shown no mercy tomorrow.