Meet the opposition: Leeds United

12th February 2019
First team

As Swansea City head to Yorkshire looking to claim a first win over Leeds at Elland Road in 70 years, we take a closer look at Marcelo Bielsa's men.

What's their story?

Leeds are one of the best supported clubs in the land but it has now been 15 years since they played at Premier League level.

One of English football's traditional heavyweights, they will be hoping that Marcelo Bielsa can end that long wait with them well-placed in the hunt for automatic promotion.

They have three league titles, as well as an FA Cup and League Cup in the trophy cabinet, while they were beaten European Cup finalists in 1975.

Their last league title came in 1992 and they were a top-flight force around the turn of the Millennium, but they have since spent three seasons in League One and supporters are desperately hoping this ninth-successive year in the second tier will not lead to a 10th.

How's their form?

Not as good as they would have liked, even though Leeds remain in the top two as the season enters its final third.

The Whites enjoyed a superb run of seven-straight wins during November and December, but have not quite been able to hit those heights since a home defeat to Hull.

They have lost five of their last eight games in all competitions, winning just two and losing two of their last three at Elland Road.

Given how well they have fared historically against the Swans, they will be seeking to hit their stride again on Wednesday night.

Who's the boss?

Bielsa, a man whose coaching methods have been hailed by the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino. 

The 63-year-old retired young as a player and began a coaching career which has included stints in charge of a host of clubs including Newell’s Old Boys, Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao and Lille.

He has also had lengthy stints in charge of Argentina and Chile.

He memorably led Bilbao to the Europa League final, with their breathless, high-octane style seeing them dump out Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United along the way.

Former Swans striker Fernando Llorente, who played for Bielsa at the Basque club, called him a genius.

Bielsa has garnered a reputation for exhaustive, in-depth analysis, lengthy tactically-detailed training sessions and extended press conferences, and he has certainly made a big impression in Yorkshire.

Who are the key men?

Kemar Roofe is Leeds' top scorer with 14 goals to his name, and Swansea will need no reminding of his threat given he helped Oxford United dump them out of the FA Cup in 2016.

Another man the Swans will need no introduction to is Pablo Hernandez. The Spaniard plied his trade in SA1 between 2012 and 2014, and has been in fantastic form under Bielsa.

He has netted seven times, including one at the Liberty earlier this season, while his undoubted creativity and guile have seen him set up a further 11 goals to make him the top assist-provider in the Championship.

Young Welshman Tyler Roberts has enjoyed a fine season while, at the back, Pontus Jansson, Liam Cooper and Luke Ayling provide a solid base.