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Leeds United v Reading FC: Marcelo Bielsa’s well-oiled machine complete impressive two-season feat

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As Marcelo Bielsa looks towards completing his second season in the Championship, he will be looking at getting the best of multiple teams once again as the side sit at the top end of the table for the duration.

Arriving in the Championship from abroad is never easy for a manager or player, as they look to adapt to the gruelling demands of a 46-game season and the hectic pressure of trying to get to the promised land of the Premier League.

However, Marcelo Bielsa took to the second tier like a duck to water, immediately turning heads with his very intense management style that has captured the imagination of fans, pundits, colleagues and rivals alike as he has transformed the Whites into perennial promotion challengers over one summer.

With their form taking them to the very summit throughout the last 20 months, not yet seeing them achieve their ultimate goal of automatic promotion, but it has seen Leeds play some scintillating football, dominating the vast majority of their opponents from start to finish.

With the new season rolling around and Leeds remaining in the division, it has given Bielsa the chance to continue his great work, while other sides continue to struggle to get the better of his system.

Last week saw Lee Johnson visit Elland Road to go head-to-head with Bielsa for the fourth time and he was on the receiving end of a comprehensive performance and defeat against Leeds for the fourth time.

Others, such as Garry Monk, have had more joy. With Monk currently having chalked up three wins and a draw against the Argentine with Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Reading have seen a lot of change with three managers in the same time taking their place in the dugout. Former Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement, Portuguese boss Jose Gomes and now former Royals’ sporting director Mark Bowen have all faced El Loco over the past two seasons with very similar results.

The weekend just gone saw the Royals visit West Yorkshire looking to burst the Whites bubble of a recent turnaround in fortunes but couldn’t get the better of a cagey first-half where neither side managed to test the ‘keeper. 

A strong second-half performance from the hosts saw Pablo Hernandez react quickly to pick up his own blocked shot before a moment of real class and composure saw him weave towards the goal, prodding past Rafael and handing Leeds a vital three points to extend their lead to five points over third place.

Bowen is the third manager to face Bielsa and it was more of the same for his side as Leeds once again got the better of them, making it four wins out of four to boost their promotion hopes even more.

12 points out of a possible 12 for Leeds against Reading since Bielsa arrived at Elland Road, with many performances showing similar traits both home and away.

Their first meeting saw Bielsa face-off with Clement at Elland Road in a very tense televised encounter where Stuart Dallas’ close-range strike settled matters, but not before Bailey Peacock-Farrell denied Sam Baldock from the penalty spot late on with a superb save.

Clement departed in December for Jose Gomes and he was on the end of a thumping at the Madejski as Mateusz Klich’s calm finish set Leeds on their way before two stunning goals from Hernandez added the gloss to an accomplished performance.

The back-end of the first half of the 2019/20 season saw Leeds make the trip back down to Berkshire with another tense affair, seeing both sides create decent chances before a blistering counter-attack in the 87th-minute was started and finished by Jack Harrison to hand the Whites a third victory against Reading.

As aforementioned, the weekend obviously saw Hernandez’s match-winning strike to help Leeds generate some daylight in the promotion run-in.

While Leeds have won all four games, there can be arguments that Reading have been in with a shout of getting a result in all-but-one of those games, with three being narrow 1-0 wins. A saved penalty, a skewed Michael Morrison effort, and a Kiko Casilla forearm have denied the Royals points in those three defeats respectively.

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First of all, where did Leeds sign Patrick Bamford from?

Leeds have enjoyed a lot of possession against the Royals as they have against most teams they face, even the likes of Arsenal in the FA Cup. With an average possession against Reading of 64.8%, it shows their dominance in good positions as they have managed to get the goals to match with the territory. Ironically, the time Leeds had the least possession against Reading was in the game where they were the most comprehensive in victory, winning 3-0 at the Madejski back in March 2019.

Four wins and six goals scored with no goals conceded makes for an impressive record against Reading, another side falling to Bielsa’s sword over the last two seasons. Hernandez has netted half of those, each showing his individual quality to craft a goal out of virtually nothing.

With Leeds looking towards the Premier League, Bielsa and everyone else affiliated with Leeds will be hoping that their record will remain unblemished against the Royals beyond this season as they hope to clinch promotion.


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Leeds United v Reading FC: Marcelo Bielsa’s well-oiled machine complete impressive two-season feat

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