Performance In Numbers

Four reflex saves: Leeds United ace doing well to mask potential pitfalls under Jesse Marsch

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While new signings caught the eye for Leeds United against Wolves, it was Illan Meslier once again as one of the top performers.

For the first time since promotion, Leeds are off to a winning start in the Premier League, thanks to their victory against Wolves.

Jesse Marsch’s men didn’t get off to the best start as Daniel Podence’s volley into the ground looped in off the crossbar after just five minutes, seeing Meslier picking the ball out of his net in double quick time.

However, as the side reacted very well to going behind, Meslier was on hand to keep the visitors from building on their fast start.

It’s almost par for the course to see the Frenchman pull off one or two smart saves, and this game was no different, with a figure of 1.31xCG (expected conceded goals) faced – via Wyscout.

Continuing in that vein throughout the season, he’d be in line to concede 38 goals from an xCG of 49.78, a solid outperformance when you scale it up.

Five saves in total saw him pull off four ‘with reflexes’ as he kept out efforts from Hwang Hee-chan, Pedro Neto, two from Leander Dendoncker, and a long-range shot from Morgan Gibbs-White – the pick of the bunch being Dendoncker’s first, from point-blank range:

As brilliant as the Iceman is, it should serve as a huge warning for Leeds that he’s not invincible, and letting chances in like this will eventually catch up with us – unless something happens to tighten up.

Wolves are a creative side when at their best, and this move is proof of that, but a player having the space for that shot nearly in our six-yard box doesn’t give Meslier much chance.

Thankfully, he’s a very good goalkeeper.

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Meslier wasn’t particularly tested in the air by the visitors, operating with quite a slight attacking trio, meaning he only managed one exit through the game while never seeming under pressure to stride off his line.

Distribution was a facet of Meslier’s game that drew criticism last season as passing went astray, but what has always been admirable is his willingness to continue playing that way.

This game saw likewise, happy to be a part of the build up, and Marsch’s style with a double pivot and a number 10 through the middle gives him much more chance to progress us up the pitch with short or long passing.

He wasn’t asked to do a great deal with Leeds high up the pitch often, but seven out of nine short passes and five out of eight long passes a decent output.

It’s not difficult to see why Meslier is so important for this team with his vital saves either side of the interval, as Wolves were in good spells, and it’ll be a real confidence booster for him.

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Leeds United season ticket holder since 2013/14, currently situated in the middle of the FA5 noise. From Pablo Hernandez to 5-1 drubbings, I've seen it all at Elland Road.