Euro 2020 Special

A Breakdown of Leeds United’s Season Opener against Wolves

The Premier League is finally back after 75 days for the 2022-23 season and safe to say, we all have missed it. There has been plenty of movement in the transfer window ahead of the new season as teams look to rebuild their squads for a fresh start. Our beloved Leeds United are one of those teams undergoing a massive transformation to be more competitive this year. Likewise, Leeds’ season opener served as a testament to the rebuilding process under the management of Jesse Marsch.

Let’s take a look at the opening fixture between Leeds and Wolves to see how the Whites fared.


Four new players start for Leeds

Jesse Marsch decided to start four of his new players in the starting XI against Wolves. Rasmus Kristensen started at right-back, Tyler Adams and Marc Roca were in the central midfield and Brenden Aaronson at the right wing.

Kristensen was tasked with containing Wolves’ Pedro Neto, who looked dangerous from the left wing. In the first half, it looked like the 24-year-old right-back found it difficult to cope with Neto’s agility. However, the Norwegian got back his groove and played a vital role as Leeds went on to secure their first win of the season. The highlight of his debut was his last-ditch effort to block Rayan Ait-Nouri’s charge towards keeper Illan Meslier. A clean sliding tackle inside the penalty area took the ball away from the dashing full-back’s feet, ending the attack.

Tyler Adams and Marc Roca looked in complete sync in midfield. Their ball distribution from the midfield to the wings was spot on, allowing their teammates to make forward runs. However, it was Brenden Aaronson who stole the spotlight from his debuting teammates. His movement on and off the ball showed his high work rate. He was involved in almost every attempt for a goal. His rapid movement forced Wolves to score an own-goal in the second half, which otherwise would’ve been an easy tap-in for the young American on his debut. No wonder he won the man of the match award.


Illan Meslier saves the day

Illan Meslier remains a crucial player for Leeds after his outstanding goalkeeping against Wolves. Leeds conceded the opening goal of the match in the first half. A lofted cross by Pedro Neto to Hwang Hee-Chan was headed to Daniel Podence, who then volleyed it onto the turf, which bounced over a diving Meslier and struck the bottom of the crossbar and went past the goal line. In all fairness, that attempt was unstoppable and there was nothing the young Frenchman could have done.

However, the 22-year-old made up for that goal by making crucial saves, including a point-blank save against Leander Dendonker and denying Hwang Hee-Chan in a one-on-one. Meslier’s masterclass was for all to see as he kept the Wolves at bay, making five saves in total.


Overall form

Leed’s defence looks strong with Robin Koch and Diego Llorente in the centre. Mateusz Klich, who started multiple games for Leeds last season, is another impressive defender in the squad. The Leeds players can fall back against an all-out attack, wherein the wingers play at full-back position and the midfielders crowd their own half to block passages. Safe to say, other teams might get fed up with this stubborn Leeds defence.

Patrick Bamford led the Whites from the front in the absence of captain Liam Cooper. With Cooper’s return in doubt, Bamford will probably continue to lead Leeds in the following fixtures. The 28-year-old is one of Leeds’ most prolific forwards in recent times, helping them reach the Premier League after 16 years and being a threat to some of Premier League’s big clubs in the past couple of years. With the captain’s armband, Bamford continues to provide results, showing signs of a leader.

Following a relegation escape, Leeds look set to be more competitive in the Premier League. Jesse Marsch and his recruits look confident and with the transfer window still open, we can expect the Whites to make a few more signings. As things stand, Leeds are off to a great start but there is a long road ahead.

Also Read: Why Are Chelsea Lagging in the Transfer Window of the 2022-23 Season?




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