Although some lazy analysis on the part of Sky Sports has managed to weave and cement it’s way into the discourse following Leeds’ 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest, the headline that Leeds Were Made To Rue Missed Chances is far from the exact story.

The problem itself was not in the finishing or completion of chances, but rather in the creation of chances, good ones. Our fabled manager in his post-match press conference admitted “we didn’t have a clear connection with crossing & the player who needs to finish. At the same time we had four in the box. It might be something to improve.”

This is an issue that doesn’t lie at the door of Patrick Bamford, who by all accounts had one of his better games in a Leeds shirt today, but those in the bank behind him. Namely, Mateusz Klich, Jack Harrison and in some respects Pablo Hernandez.

Whilst Leeds, as ever, dominated possession, there was a distinct lack of clear cut opportunities where a finisher could reasonably be expected to complete the routine. Though Leeds were stymied in part by Forest’s low block, it perhaps highlights the seriousness of not having an out and out number 10 and why now we see that Marcelo Bielsa was particularly keen to bring Ryan Kent to Elland Road and mould him into that very position. Some might say, a Samu Saiz shaped hole exists in Leeds’ attack. Still.

On the crossing front, Leeds were left clueless. Jack Harrison and Ezgjan Alioski continued last season’s tradition of struggling to beat the first man. Pablo Hernandez showed glimpses but was largely frozen out of the game by the Forest shape which was to be expected. Mateusz Klich’s off the ball movement will always provide a chance for others to do their business, but for a player being asked to play behind the striker there is simply not enough on the ball action. The Jamie Shackleton substition that never was could have given Leeds the midfielder, who will simply carry the ball up the pitch in a more attacking manner, they were severely lacking throughout.

The data provided by Infogol here paints a startling picture. Numerous chances had by Leeds, but several with a very low probability of conversion.

So the question that will haunt Bielsa’s sleep tonight is how to convert so many touches in the final third into chances that arrive at Patrick Bamford’s feet where muscle memory ensures they find the back of the net.

Leeds found some purchase with the introduction of Helder Costa late on, a break down the right brought to a halt by a tactical foul by the Forest full-back may well have been the moment Leeds were consigned to just a point today. It can’t be too long before he’s rewarded with a starting spot.

But enough about the referee, eh.

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1 COMMENT

  1. if I had a criticism of Bielsa towards the end of last season it was his substitutions and his loss of nerve in playing time for the youngsters.
    For me yesterday we should have seen Clark, Shackleton and Costa for most of the second half. Forest were poor and having not put the game to bed in the first half it was time for a radical change.
    Leeds are the tenth club for Bamford which speaks volumes and much as I would love him to succeed at Leeds I just don’t see it happening. He was a questionable left field signing and his high wages are likely a stress point with other players considering his lack of individual success.
    IMO Shackleton, Costa, Clark and Nketiah need to be starters. If Clark doesn’t get game time then Spurs may well hook him out and who can blame them.
    I totally disagree with your summing up on good chances / bad chances. Any old striker can take the good ones but highly paid strikers are there to convert the half chances too.
    It’s early days but I hope Bielsa doesn’t leave us frustrated again come the end of the season.

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