Totally Buzzed is previewing every single Premier League team ahead of the 2021/2022 campaign and now it is the turn of Leeds United.
How last season went:
There was so much anticipation regarding Leeds United’s first season back in the Premier League after 16 years away, and it’s fair to say that they more than lived up to the hype. Marcelo Bielsa’s side finished 9th after racking up 59 points and when you consider that meant they finished only three points behind seventh-placed Tottenham, they deserve a lot of praise. After all, seventh-place would have gotten them into Europe, granted the European Conference League – but still, being closer to qualifying for Europe than getting relegated just after getting promoted is no easy task. Leeds also impressed a lot of pundits, given they managed to impress by playing their highly entertaining Bielsa-ball and didn’t have to cave when it came to their manager’s football philosophy. As for other competitions, Leeds didn’t really cover themselves in glory, with finishing as high as possible in the Premier League clearly the priority. Bielsa’s team exited the EFL Cup in the second round as they lost to League One’s Hull City on penalties before crashing out of the FA Cup in the third round after losing 3-0 to League Two’s Crawley Town.
Leeds United’s Premier League Stats – 2020/21:
*According to PremierLeague.com*
Leeds United Player Stats – 2020/21:
Top Scorer Across All Competitions: Patrick Bamford – 17 goals in 38 appearances (0.5 goals per 90minutes, 180 minutes per goal)
Top Scorer – Premier League Only: Bamford – 17 goals in 38 outings (180 minutes per goal)
Most Assists Across All Competitions: Raphinha – 9 assists in 31 appearances (1.77 chances created per 90minutes)
Most Assists – Premier League Only: Raphinha – 9 assists in 30 outings
Most Tackles Per Game (On Average) – Premier League Only: Luke Ayling (2.8 per match)
Most Minutes Played Across Premier League Fixtures – Top 3:
- Stuart Dallas – 3411 minutes 2. Ayling – 3400 minutes 3.Meslier – 3150 minutes
1st five league fixtures:
Man United (A): Leeds had a night to forget when they clashed with Man United at Old Trafford last season as they recorded a 6-2 loss. It’s worth noting they were 2-0 down within three minutes during that game as Scott McTominay wasted no time scoring a brace. However, Leeds did fare better when hosting United at Elland Road in April as that match ended 0-0.
Everton (H): Leeds beat Everton on their home turf 1-0 in November before the Toffees got their revenge by beating Marcelo Bielsa’s side 2-1 at Elland Road.
Burnley (A): Leeds defeated Burnley on the two occasions they faced them last season, with Bielsa’s side beating the Clarets 1-0 at Elland Road, before securing a much more comfortable 4-0 victory when the pair clashed at Turf Moor.
Liverpool (H): Liverpool and Leeds had a thrilling clash in September last year with Jurgen Klopp’s side just about leaving Anfield with all three points by earning a 4-3 victory. Yet the pair couldn’t be separated when clashing at Elland Road in April, with that fixture ending 1-1.
Newcastle United (A): Leeds registered an emphatic win against Newcastle United at Elland Road in December, with them beating the Magpies 5-2. It was a unique game to watch as on the 65th minute it was 2-2, before Steve Bruce’s side crumbled spectacularly. Bielsa’s side made it two wins out of two against the Magpies last season when they beat Bruce’s team 2-1 at St James’ Park in January.
Leeds United Fan Perspective: Elliot (@elliothorbury on Twitter)
Best Player: Kalvin Phillips – he’s the heartbeat of our side and sets the tempo for how we play. He’s critical to how we attack and defend and when he’s missing we just aren’t the same team. I’ve seen his development under Bielsa with him going from an academy lad who was on the fringes and maybe about to get bombed out the side to the first name on the teamsheet for Leeds and England. I must add Raphinha is right up there with Kalvin in terms of importance to the team.
Promising Youngster: This is a tough one as we have a load of great young players. First-team players like Meslier and Struijk have shown last season they are good enough to start in the Premier League. I’m going to go for Cody Drameh, a right-back who has been tearing it up for the U23s since we signed him from Fulham last year. He’s pacey and powerful and looks equally good going forwards and when defending. Not sure how many minutes he’s likely to get as we have the ever-consistent Luke Ayling who will definitely start. But I hope to see him in the cups and if Ayling is ever injured or suspended.
The player who is likely to surprise people (underrated/less known): This is hard as the team played so well last season. I think Rodrigo may show his quality this season. He had a bit of a stop-start season last year with several injuries and catching covid. He came with a big price tag and I hope with a full pre-season he can get super fit and get loads of goals and assists.
Thoughts on the manager: Well what can I say about Marcelo Bielsa. He will go down in the history of Leeds United as one of our greatest ever managers. Not only did he get us back in the Premier League after 16 years away but the way we continued to play in the same style and finish 9th was breathtaking to watch at points. But what he has done, goes deeper and I believe he has changed the whole club culture. The owners and director of football have to take a lot of credit for taking a chance / persuading him to join a mid-table Championship club. Bielsa is an intense character which means a demanding environment for all around including the grueling fitness program the players have to go through. Ultimately I think Bielsa will decide when he’s had enough at Leeds. As long as the performances continue, and we’ve had 140 games in this same style so no evidence to say otherwise, then there is no reason the club would look elsewhere. It makes me sad thinking of a time after Marcelo at Leeds so I’m going to stop.
Worried About/Weakness of squad: Centre midfield – this is an area last season that when we played poorly looked the main weakness. When we are full strength we have no issues but we lack depth and if our starters don’t play then the drop-off in quality is large.
Dream Transfer: Haaland – obvious reason being he’s one of the best strikers around and so young, that he has the world at his feet. His pace would fit really well with our fast counterattacks. Reckon due to his Dad’s links he’s also a massive Leeds fan so sure he would be up for the move too. We can dream.
Realistic Transfer: Teun Koopmeiners – Leeds get linked with a lot of players that I don’t know a ton about. Koopmeiners is AZ Alkmaar’s captain and can play holding or box-to-box midfield. He’s young and I think he can help solve some of our midfield issues either when Phillips is out of the side or alongside him in the bigger games.
Player you fear leaving: Raphinha – he’s so good it’s a little unbelievable we signed him for just £17M in our first season back. A future Brazil international who has it all: goals, assists, takes set pieces, and has a flair that he matches with a great work rate. With a full season, I would expect him to get double digits goals and assists. A potential player of the year.
League Expectation: Better than last season’s 9th. It will be difficult but we have to try to aim for the tinpot conference, European places.
League Prediction: I think about the same as last year. Top half with hopefully a cup run.
Biggest Rival This Season/Love It If We Beat them: People used to laugh at me when I said our biggest rivals were Man United when Leeds were in League One. But we beat them then and definitely owe them one following the spanking they gave us last season. It’d be great if it meant something like stopping them from getting Champions League football for example.
Any Other Comments about Leeds United: Overall from my answers I’m sure you can see it’s pretty good to be a Leeds fan at the moment. There’s always a dark place in my mind saying it’s all going to go to shit this season but the rational side of my brain says we are a decent team who has strengthened and we are on the way up as a club. We have suffered for long enough so long may the good times continue.