Meet the opposition | Leeds United

30th August 2019
First team
Leeds United

As Swansea City head to Leeds United for Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash, we take a closer look at the Yorkshire club.

What’s their story?

Eddie Nketiah

Leeds are one of the best supported clubs in the land but it will soon be 16 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 at this time of asking after suffering further disappointment in last season’s play-offs at the hands of Derby.

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 10th-successive year in the second tier will not lead to an 11th.

How’s their form?

Ezgjan Alioski

Like the Swans, Leeds have started the season in impressive fashion by taking 13 points from a possible 15.

Their only dropped points came via a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest, a game which Leeds dominated but paid the price for failing to put the game to bed after taking the lead.

They produced emphatic away wins at Bristol City and Stoke as they look to bounce back from last season’s disappointment.

On that occasion a four-match winless run from the final quartet of fixtures condemned them to the play-offs and the resulting defeat to Derby, having looked likely to secure automatic promotion for much of the season.

Who’s the boss?

Marcelo Bielsa

Marceloa 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 despite being unable to deliver promotion last term.

Who are the key players?

Pablo Hernandez

One 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 started the season strongly, with two goals in five appearances, but it is his creativity and attacking influence that is arguably his most important contribution.

Patrick Bamford has netted four goals in five appearances, while loan signing Eddie Nketiah netted a crucial winner in the home victory over Brentford.

Manchester City midfielder Jack Harrison is back for another season on loan after featuring prominently last term, while Mateusz Klich and Ezgjan Alioski are two players looking to pick up where they left off from their thrilling form of 2018-19.

At the back loan addition Ben White has filled the void left by Pontus Jansson’s summer exit.

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