When you look back at yesterday’s game between Derby County and Leeds United, the scoreline tells its own story. When you lose 4-1, you feel it.

Derby County felt it yesterday, and their 25,000-or-so fans had to endure it but there was no escaping from the fact that it was a Leeds United win. The 4-1 scoreline tell its own story, the performance from Leeds United (below) was glowing, and at times sparkling as the Marcelo Bielsa-led Whites continued their rich vein of form from the opening weekend 3-1 over Stoke city.

Bielsa has led Leeds United to two big wins, scoring seven goals and only conceding two, both these from set pieces. The Bielsa press and newly-installed style of play is plain for all to see. It has led the Whites to the two victories, it has suffocated Stoke and Derby starving them of chances, it wasn’t the only thing that led to the Rams downfall though.

The biggest battle that Derby County loss was in the ‘engine room’ of midfield, where Leeds’ control was far more clearer that the pressure exerted from Derby. This is no more clearer than in the following graphic:

Derby Leeds United

Derby (left – red) vs Leeds (right – blue)

The left-side of the graphic shows the areas where Derby’s central three midfielders (Mason Mount, Craig Bryson and Joe Ledley) made their 107 combined touches in the game. In comparison, the right-side of the graphic shows the areas where Leeds’ middle three (Kalvin Phillips, Mateusz Klich and Samu Saiz) made their combined 176 touches.

The heat map shows that Leeds United’s middle three were the most active, but again this is only a partial narrative, a narrative that can be broken down further.

  • Touches: Derby 107 (Bryson 58); Leeds 176 (Phillips 67)
  • Possession: Derby 8% (Bryson 4.4%); Leeds 14.8% (Phillips 6.5%)
  • Passes: Derby 67 (Bryson 37); Leeds 125 (Phillips 55)
  • Final Third Passes: Derby 17 (Bryson 8); Leeds 35 (Saiz 16)
  • Dribbles Completed: Derby 5 (Bryson 3); Leeds 8 (Saiz 5)

So, whichever way you choose to look at yesterday’s Derby County vs Leeds United it was a harsh lesson that Derby learned in a display where Leeds United dominated. That dominant display was no more illustrated than in the midfield, a midfield where Leeds United’s middle three were markedly far busier.

Graphic and data derived from WhoScored Derby County vs Leeds United match report page


About Author

Cynicism turned to optimism but without the woop woops and ringing bells. Leeds United supporter through thick and thin, more thin than anything recently. Write mainly about the Whites but turn my hand to other clubs. Lover of salted crisp sandwiches. Not a hipster.