At the moment, it’s all unravelling for Leeds United fans. From a glorious start to the season that dangled the promise of automatic promotion in front of their faces, to a stuttering 2019 and an Easter period where they’ve fallen away somewhat.
In truth, the Whites are in 3rd and only three points and a heft of goals behind Sheffield United who occupy the last of the automatic promotion slots. There’s still a chance they could go up automatically but that all depends on Leeds beating Villa and the Blades dropping points against bottom club Ipswich Town.
It has to also be remembered that coaching legend Marcelo Bielsa has accomplished all of this with the bulk of last season’s side that limped into a lowly 13th place finish. The way that the Argentinian has breathed life into what became a listless Whites outfit has been nothing short of amazing.
Not only have Leeds United now got an ethos, they also have a style of play that is becoming engrained in the club. It has led to players making massive strides, developing beyond what many fans might have thought them capable of.
Such has been the development under Bielsa that three Whites players have been named in the PFA’s Championship Team of the Season.
— PFA | Professional Footballers' Association (@PFA) April 24, 2019
The players from Leeds United that have made this representative side are: Pontus Jansson, Liam Cooper and Pablo Hernandez. Here’s a snippet on each of them.
Cooper, Jansson and Hernandez make PFA TOTY
Liam Cooper: much maligned by many Leeds United fans, Cooper has really grown in the heart of the Whites defence. He’s also exhibited that assurance that Leeds fans were looking for from their club captain. Here’s some standout stats (all per 90 mins):
- Tackles made – 1.8
- Interceptions made – 2.5
- Clearances – 4.2
- Blocks – 1.4
- Total Defensive Actions – 9.7 per 90 minutes
- Accurate passes – 55.6 (81.2% accuracy)
Pontus Jansson: immense was a word that was really justified when Leeds brought Jansson over on an initial loan deal from Torino. Not only did he perform for the Whites, they in turn resurrected his love for football and his international place. After a bit of an off-kilter season last year, the big Swede is back and firing on all cylinders. Here’s some standout stats (all per 90 mins):
- Tackles made – 2.6
- Interceptions made – 2.4
- Clearances – 4.7
- Blocks – 1.7
- Total Defensive Actions – 11.4 per 90 minutes
- Accurate passes – 53.2 (85.4% accuracy)
Pablo Hernandez: quite simply put, Pablo Hernandez is a magician and is playing out of his skin this season at Leeds United. Most of the good things that happen seem to flow through the diminutive playmaker. He makes the hard things look easy, the impossible becomes that much easier when he’s on fore. That’s what he has been this season, on fire. Here’s some standout stats (all per 90 mins):
- Accurate Passes – 46.8 (75% accuracy)
- Key Passes (creating chances) – 3.2 (6.8% total passes)
- Dribbles – 1.1 completed
- Shots Attempted/On Target – 2.9/0.8 (26.7% accurate)
- Goals Scored (total) – 12
- Goal Conversion – 41.4% (from on target shots)
- Assists (total) – 12
- Assist Conversion – 10.7% (from Key Passes)