Leeds United have a job on their hands tonight as they face Wolves, with the direct running of their attack a real concern, and Gjanni Alioski should be the man to drop out.
Marcelo Bielsa’s tactical structure has come under a lot of scrutiny this season despite guiding Leeds to within touching distance of safety after 23 games in the Premier League.
The man-marking system has been exploited on a handful of occasions by the top flight’s most ruthless sides, with individual quality quite clearly shining through more than it did in the second tier.
Arsenal highlighting the issue
Not only do the Gunners just have a superior squad on an individual basis, they clearly targeted an area of Leeds’ defensive structure that could be exploited.
With Leeds adopting their tried and somewhat trusted man-to-man system, Arsenal looked to carry the ball over large distances and at pace, with a number of their attacks coming from very direct attacking play.
The likes of Bukayo Saka, Hector Bellerin, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and others showed just how important breaching that first marker’s press could be in a variety of areas of the pitch.
Wolves certainly have the personnel to do the same to us, if not to a more damaging effect.
Stopping the Wolves threat
It’s no secret where the danger lies when you look at Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad.
The pace in attack of Adama Traore and Pedro Neto is enough to make any backline nervous.
First and third in the Premier League chart, respectively, for successful dribbles this season, they pose the biggest threat to us so far this campaign when we look at how to cope with players carrying the ball for large distances.
Combine that with the 13th-highest tally of Nelson Semedo at right-wing-back and you’ve got problems in the channels.
Gjanni Alioski was run ragged by Saka and he isn’t the man you want to be at the back when Wolves maraud forward, so Stuart Dallas should be dropping into left-back.
The Northern Ireland international has been incredible at left-back this season and made light work of Traore when the pair met at Elland Road.
Dallas is second for successful tackles (52) at Leeds highlighting his ability to cope with the threat more than the other options on the left side.
There are other question marks about how Bielsa will line up the defence with Kalvin Phillips out, but Dallas needs to be at left-back.