Leeds United told of two reasons why famed Bielsa attack is misfiring

Date published: Wednesday 27th October 2021 1:41 - Steve Pearson

Marcelo Bielsa Leeds United manager

Leeds United are lacking two traits in the final third that Marcelo Bielsa’s sides are usually known for exhibiting, according to Jermaine Beckford.

Leeds United were kept scoreless in their EFL Cup fifth round tie with Arsenal on Wednesday night. The shutout was their third in their last six matches. That was despite fielding an eleven that more closely resembled their strongest side than Arsenal’s did.

In 12 matches this season, the Whites have plundered just 11 goals. Three of those came against lower league Crewe Alexandra in the EFL Cup second round.

Such a lack of potency would have been unfathomable just a few short months ago. Indeed, Bielsa’s side took the Premier League by storm last year with their free-flowing brand of football.

Former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford was working as a pundit on Sky Sports during their defeat to Arsenal.

Beckford acknowledged the absences of key forwards as one factor inhibiting their attacking output. Both Patrick Bamford and Raphinha were missing through injury.

However, Beckford also pointed to a lack of relentless and ruthlessness in the final third as a major issue currently afflicting Leeds.

One notable example of Beckford’s analysis was evidenced in a three-v-three break against the Gunners. With options left and right on the counter, Daniel James selected made the wrong choice, allowing Arsenal’s defence to crowd out the budding attack.

“Intensity wise it was right up there,” said Beckford (via Leeds Live). “Quality-wise, in the final third especially, not quite there. That has been one of the main issues for Leeds United this season.

“Getting into the final third, creating opportunities has not really been anything to worry about. But having some at the right place at the right time to put the ball in the back of the net, you have to be more relentless and ruthless in front of goal, especially at this level.

“They’ve missed key players. That makes an impact on sides with smaller squads in terms of getting the right players fit at the right times.

“Being able to show the quality on the field is the next step in Leeds United’s evolution under Marcelo Bielsa in the Premier League.”


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Bielsa’s Drameh verdict. delivers Raphinha update

Meanwhile, speaking in his post-match press conference (via Leeds Live), Bielsa gave his verdict on debutant Cody Drameh.

The Argentine said of the 19-year-old plucked from Fulham’s academy last year: “Presence was deserved. Best moment he’s gone through. In general lines, he was good.”

Leeds will be hopeful Raphinha is fit to start against Norwich at the weekend. In his various absences this season, the Whites have lacked potency in the final third.

Delivering a short and sharp update when asked if there will be any issues preventing Raphinha and Jamie Shackleton’s involvement on Sunday, Bielsa said: “We think not.”

READ MORE: Player ratings: Arsenal defenders shine as Gunners progress past Leeds to quarter-finals

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