Leeds United’s return to the top flight of English football after a sixteen-year absence has put smiles on the faces of many a football fan. Regardless of whether they support Leeds or not, people are delighted to see one of the big, traditional clubs, back in the big time where they rightfully belong.
The man responsible for guiding Leeds back to the Premier League is, of course, Argentinian manager Marcelo Bielsa. The sixty-five-year-old, who hails from Rosario, is a coach held in the highest of regard by some of the game’s biggest names. Bielsa, who joined Leeds in 2018, is known as much for his influence on the game as he is for being a fascinating character, with his antics already making him popular with fans of English football.
Leeds won promotion at the second attempt under the Argentinian, and many were left wondering how they would go about things on their return to the top-flight, especially in their opening fixture against champions Liverpool. And, while Jurgen Klopp’s men will have been favourites to come out on top with bookmakers such as SportingBet, if first impressions are anything to go by, Leeds proved themselves to be fearless competitors.
Leeds came from behind three times in the fixture at Anfield, before being condemned to a 4-3 reverse when Mo Salah bagged his hat-trick from the spot late on. But, it’s the fight, the fearlessness and desire to go toe to toe with the Champions which surprised a lot of viewers. But, would you expect anything else, or anything less, from a Marcelo Bielsa side? His teams come with the tagline of being relentless, they press high and hunt in packs, and have a never say die attitude. And, this will stand them in good stead as they announce their re-arrival in the best league in the world.
Bielsa’s boys were like a breath of fresh air, and caused Liverpool serious problems, especially at the back. The usually reliable Virgil van Dijk was forced into errors, one of which saw Leeds striker Patrick Bamford profit from. Their approach is similar to Sheffield United’s last season under Chris Wilder. They have come into the league and aren’t afraid of attempting to impose themselves. They’re here to win and will have a go against any outfit put in front of them, rather than trying to play it safe and stave off relegation by securing draws along the way.
Leeds have strengthened and will more than likely add a couple more before the window shuts, but in the main, it’s the side who got the team up who Bielsa looks set to put his trust in for now. And it makes sense, as the Argentinian is a creature of habit. He prefers using players who know his system and how he works inside out. He wants his boys to be fearless in displaying his footballing philosophy for the world to see, and if their opening fixture is anything to go by, they made everyone sit up and take notice.