Premier League 2020-21 marked the return of Leeds United back to the top-flight of English football after a gap of 16 years. Marcelo Bielsa’s team has been a delight to watch on most occasions and has slowly become everyone’s second favourite team in the Premier League.
In their conquest of becoming a mainstay in the league, Leeds United have been able to achieve some remarkable numbers in the Premier League 2020-21 season. Here we look at the numbers which stand out from the season post their match against Leicester City on Matchweek 21.
EXPECTED GOALS THEORY
When you take a closer look at Expected Goals (xG) and Expected Goals Against (xGA) then Leeds’ story of the season becomes much clearer. With an xG of 1.8, the Whites rank fourth in the Premier League 2020-21. It means that in the 20 games played by Leeds United, they should have around 36 goals to their name. In reality, they have 35 so far in the season and have more or less lived up to their high xG. Their xG in away matches is slightly better than the ones at home so that means they need to create more chances at Elland Road going forward.
Looking at the xGA, Leeds will be disappointed to rank fourth again in the list with 1.69. They should have conceded about 33 goals so far but have exceeded that by three goals. In the second half of the season, they’d look to improve on this. Their xGA at home is brilliant and that tells us that they are rock-solid at Elland Road defensively.
There’s no doubt that Marcelo Bielsa likes his team to play high-intensity football and requires his defenders to defend man to man. Leeds’ style of defending means that the players need to ensure that they are winning their one-on-one battle against their man and are ready to put in the tackles required to win the duel. With 386 tackles completed in Premier League 2020-21, Leeds rank second in the league with the most tackles committed. An indication that Bielsa’s tactics are being followed till the T by the players.
1,858 TOUCHES BY LUKE AYLING
The ever-present Luke Ayling has been a fantastic leader on and off the pitch for the Whites this season. In a season full of injuries to various centre-halves for Leeds, Ayling has been deployed as the centre back on many occasions, Ayling has the ability to play literally anywhere on the pitch. He ranks second in the Premier League 2020-21 with 1,858 touches, the reason for this is that most of the play goes through the wingback and he is exceptional in the build-up play.
17 PUNCHES BY ILLAN MESLIER
Leeds’ young shot-stopper has been fantastic in his debut season in the Premier League. He is good with his distribution and the ability to pick out a key pass from the back but at the same time, his keeping abilities have been top-notch. By nobody’s imagination, he isn’t a giant in the goal so he needs to make sure that he gets his punches and his high claims spot on to keep out the physical attackers of the league. With 17 punches to his name, he ranks second-highest in the league.
30 SHOTS ON TARGET BY PATRICK BAMFORD
Patrick Bamford so far has enjoyed his time as a Premier League striker. He has 11 goals to his name and is amongst the top goalscorers of the league. With 30 shots on target, the English striker has the second-highest shots on target in the league just one behind Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah. It’s not just his ability to get shots off regularly but his overall gameplay which makes him stand out in this Leeds United team.
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