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The Bielsa Way: Goals galore as Whites smash ‘Frank Lampard’s Derby’

Leeds put in yet another top performance and now find themselves as the bookies’ favourites to win the league, but heads must be kept.

Leeds United v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship
Kemar Roofe takes two Sky Bet man of the match awards from the first two games of the season.
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Words such as ‘swarm’ have been popping up on twitter when describing how Leeds have been handling their opponents. The constant pressure proved too much for home side Derby as Leeds fired four past keeper Scott Carson as each and every player showed their class on Saturday evening. Mateusz Klich has come back with a bang, scoring an absolute beauty. It all began at the other end of the pitch, Alioski had been dispossessed on the far left and Derby’s counter had been slowed by the rigid form that Leeds took having lost the ball. The ball had eventually come to Derby’s Max Lowe on the near side and he fancied himself against this swarm of Leeds players, he was wrong. As Lowe brought the ball inside, the Leeds shape collapsed in on Lowe as Kalvin Phillips and Klich stood in-front of him while Liam Cooper temporarily separated from the back four to close off any other passing options to leave Lowe all on his own in United’s trap. The ball was then quickly poked away and Leeds flooded forward. Derby had committed their midfield and now left the back four vulnerable in a high line, Samu Saiz brought the ball out and this open space had been taken up by Hernandez and then Klich. By the time the midfield had arrived, Klich had the ball on the edge of the box, it was down to him to apply the finishing touch. His curling strike was nothing short of spectacular, giving the keeper no chance.

Tom Lawrence equalised with a fantastic free-kick as the wall blocked the view of Peacock-Farrell which did him no favours when trying to stop his venomous strike. Leeds would re-take the lead in the 21st minute, this time it wasn’t especially fluent or tactical, but instead quality and direct football. Bielsa’s side have been meticulously picking up the second balls and this goal is a great example of why. Barry Douglas catches the Derby clearance and sends it back to the left-wing, Ezgjan Alioski’s hanging cross was met by the head of Kemar Roofe who launched the ball back across the keeper and into the far bottom corner to score a wonderful goal.

A magnificent third followed on the hour mark, a Derby throw was not not dealt with well by the receiver, his high ball into the middle was won by a combination of Saiz and then Phillips who picked up yet another second ball and a mini scramble for the ball, Phillips quickly finds Klich who in turn finds Roofe with a lifted ball. Roofe brings the ball down with his left, spins his body and ball with the right. From here he has plenty of space on the left side of the box, he sets himself before blasting the ball home to put away his second and to fire Leeds towards the three points.

Leicester City v Leeds United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round
Klich has found himself being a big part of Bielsa’s plans since returning from his loan spell with Utrecht in the Eredivisie.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The fourth comes from great desire for the ball and the rewards of chasing the ball. It’s not quite clear whether Leeds would have won a corner from Liam Cooper’s long ball from the free-kick on the other side. The ball dropped over the head of Fikayo Tomori and Pablo Hernandez continued to chase the ball right to the by-line. He catches the ball and slides to cross the ball into the penalty area. His pin-point ball found the head of Alioski before heading home for 4-1.

Leeds are now the bookies’ favourites to win the league after just two matches, they and fans alike are excited but Klich and Roofe in their interviews showed their levelheadedness while Marcelo Bielsa praised the team but made it clear that no conclusions can be drawn at this point in the season. The Whites have put in two wonderful performances so far and long may the wonderful performance continue from Leeds United for the Elland Road faithful.