Six games into the new season and Leeds United sit third in the Championship table. Sound familiar?
So will this. The overall performance data is very encouraging. Only missed chances and dropped points will cause panic for fans’ who saw Leeds just miss out last season. Looking at the performance data after just six games the analysts all back Leeds for promotion if they can sustain the same level which is much better than any other current Championship team. If the Whites create the chances they are and still continue not allowing the opposition as many; the consensus is that will be more than reflected in points achieved. Leeds are the best side in the division at creating high-quality goalscoring chances, and they also allow the fewest in the division. That’s relatively consistent with how the side performed last season, whereby Leeds came out on top in terms of the xG table as the joint-best attacking team and best defensive team. But United have actually improved when it comes to xG against and are conceding fewer scoring chances than ever before, since Ben White has come into the back four and Adam Forshaw has helped apply greater control from midfield. Using the expected goals data, Leeds would ordinarily have picked up maximum points from their six league fixtures so far. United are underperforming their xG, which suggests finishing has been a problem again this season. Kalvin Phillips has averaged 4.7 tackles per game. That’s the most in the Championship. Leeds average 17.7 shots per game, the most in the division. They have also averaged the most shots on target, 5.2 per game, but in this regard, they tie at the top with Fulham, who have been more efficient with their efforts. Patrick Bamford has averaged 3.7 shots per game himself, that’s the joint-most in the league alongside Hull City’s Jarrod Bowen and Brentford’s Sergi Canos.
Bristol City 1 Leeds United 3:After a third-place finish and play-off semi-final defeat by Derby last season, Leeds began their 16th consecutive season outside the Premier League with a scintillating 3-1 win over Bristol City at Ashton Gate thanks to goals from Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison. There appeared to be no play-off hangover from the Whites as they took the Robins to the sword straight from kick-off. Marcelo Bielsa sticking largely with the players that got them so close to the topflight but giving centre-back White his debut and bringing on another loan signing, Wolves' Portuguese winger Helder Costa, from the bench. United’s high-pressing, high-intensity style, which has become a trademark under the Argentine, limited a team, also with designs on promotion, to few clear chances. (Possession: City 41% United 59%)
Leeds United 1 Nottm Forest 1:A scrappy Lewis Grabban goal earned Forest a point after a 59th-minute goal from Hernandez had put United on course to start the Championship season with a second successive victory. However, when the Whites failed to clear a corner, Grabban scrambled the ball in from two yards to secure Forest's first point under coach Sabri Lamouchi. Both sides felt aggrieved with decisions going against them in the build-up to the two goals conceded; Forest claimed Bamford was offside before Hernandez was played through, while Grabban pulled back Liam Cooper off the ball in the move that led to the corner from which he scored. Leeds also had legitimate claims for a penalty in the closing stages, with Jack Robinson's ‘challenge’ on Stuart Dallas going unpunished. (Possession: United 68% Forest 32%)
Wigan 0 Leeds United 2:Bamford scored twice from close range to give Leeds victory in an ill-tempered affair at the DW Stadium. The striker tapped home unchallenged after Forshaw's header came back off the crossbar to put United ahead in the first half and then sealed the points by tucking home a second-half corner on 65 minutes. Wigan had been reduced to 10 men after only 20 minutes as Joe Williams was sent off for a second bookable offence on his home league debut following fouls on Dallas and Bamford. Echoes of April when 10 men Wigan won at Elland Road. But this time United had chances to win by even more. Forshaw dragged a shot wide and then saw a header well saved by ‘keeper David Marshall. (Possession: Wigan 24% United 76%)
Leeds United 1 Brentford 0: All the pre-match hype was about the imminent Elland Road return of former fans’ favourite Pontus Jansson, but it was substitute Eddie Nketiah who took the spotlight after scoring on his Championship debut to earn United a late but fully deserved first win at home against Jansson’s new club Brentford. The 20-year-old, on loan from Arsenal, tapped in from fellow sub Costa's perfect square ball within four minutes of coming on. United had the better of the game, especially in the second half, and victory gave them 10 points from a possible 12, seeing them top the early Championship table on goal difference above Swansea. For Brentford, the defeat was their second from their opening four league games and their first loss away from home. (Possession: United 70% Brentford 30%)
Stoke 0 Leeds United 3: United were back to their sparkling best away from home in a real top verses bottom clash at the 365 Stadium. After a quiet start, with the home team making several changes, a brilliant team move led to a sublime Hernandez pass to Dallas who stroked home beautifully to give United the lead and further goals after the break from Ezgjan Alioski and Bamford gave Leeds their fourth win from five games and left the Potters rooted to the bottom of the second tier, with just a solitary point from a draw at Derby. The margin of victory could have been even greater but for replacement ‘keeper Adam Federici keeping the score down in the latter stages by saving great efforts from Costa and Forshaw. (Possession: City 35% United 65%)
Leeds United 0 Swansea City 1: Leeds were top at the start of the day thanks to a better goal difference over their visitors. But substitute Wayne Routledge struck in the 90th minute to maintain Swansea's unbeaten start under Steve Cooper and inflict a surprise first defeat of the season for Leeds. United had dominated the contest but their finishing let them down. United started like a train with Mike van der Hoorn almost turning a Dallas cross into his own net while Alioski and Bamford had two decent chances apiece. Substitute Nketiah almost scored late on, heading wide from a Dallas cross when under pressure from ‘keeper Freddie Woodman. The Whites profligacy proved costly when they failed to clear a corner allowing Routledge to fire home a low scrambled effort. (Possession: Leeds 62% Swansea 38%)
White and Bamford were both shortlisted for the PFA Championship Player of the month title for August and White came on top with 44% of the vote.
xG Data via https://www.infogolapp.com/