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FPL Deep Dive – Leeds United

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Leeds United

With less than two weeks to go until the start of the 2021-22 Premier League season, we take a look at the letter "L." Next up, we take you to West Yorkshire, where Leeds United will be our primary focus for today.

The Premier League is a league that takes a lot of energy out of players. If you were a Premier League player, you would need a lot of drive and ambition to help you get through a long, exhausting season.

Well, having said all that, Leeds are a team that has an enormous drive under their skin under the management of the Argentinian, Marcelo Bielsa.

He was known for his high tempo, free-flowing and swift football on the field when Leeds United were in the Championship. After 16 long years of missing out on top-tier football, Marcelo Bielsa has managed to bring this Leeds United side back to the fore-front where things get real in the Premier League.

On the training field, you would have to work your "toenails" off for Bielsa. There is no respite from the Argentinian manager to take it easy in training. Being on the training field for Marcelo Bielsa can be mentally exhausting. It could even make you quit.

Through it all, Bielsa has found a winning group of individuals who are eager and determined to work their toenails off and travel the extra mile on the training pitch as well as on the field when they take on the opposition.

Marcelo Bielsa led this Leeds side to promotion to the Premier League as they were champions of the Sky-Bet Championship. Leeds and their fans have endured a long and often painful journey back to the Premier League after reaching the Champions League semi-final in 2001.

When they were relegated to the Championship in 2004, the club was in dire financial straits, and though Kevin Blackwell-the first of 15 managers hired by Leeds since they were last in the Premier League-initially stabilised the ship and nearly brought them back up in 2005-06, they were placed into administration in 2007 and relegated to League One.

Worse was to come in the form of a 15-point deduction to begin the next season, and it took three seasons for Simon Grayson's side to gain promotion back to the second division.

Well, a lot more happened after that. But, they were just a jist of what the club had been through all these years.

Over the last few years, the sun has been shining brightly on West Yorkshire as Leeds United are back where they belong.

We look into every department that Leeds has to offer for FPL managers around the world that would want to consider a potential opening for Leeds United asset (s) to enter their teams.

Leeds United in 2020-21


Leeds played champions Liverpool away on September 12, 2020, in their first match after 16 years out of the top division, losing 4–3. Despite their defeat, Leeds were praised for their performance.

That opening game of the season for Leeds United was a sign of what they had under their locker as a team. They were quick, brutal in front of the goal and precise. They came out all guns blazing, ran ragged, kept firing on all cylinders and they kept pushing the 2019-20 Premier League champions to the edge of their comfort zone.

But, there were doubts as well, which arose from a simple question, i.e., "Can Leeds keep this up through the season?"

Well, Marcelo Bielsa was having none of those. He kept sticking to his highly aggressive approach while facing his opponents. A brave move by one of the managers who the world looks at, including the likes of Pep Guardiola, who has many memories of the Argentinian on and off the pitch.

In October, Marcelo Bielsa took on his friendly counterpart, Pep Guardiola. The game between Leeds United and Manchester City ended in a 1-1 draw. But, a draw against one of the strongest teams in the Premier League was not the result that Bielsa required. He aimed for 3 points week-after-week-after-week. His frustration can be seen clearly as to how much he yearns for his players to go out there and get the 3 points.

As the season progressed, Leeds travelled to the home of their greatest rivals, Manchester United. In a game where the magnitude is high, you would expect a manager to be slightly cautious in his approach towards an opponent that is good on paper.

Having said all that, Marcelo Bielsa had his own way of facing his opponents in the Theatre of Dreams. Leeds United ended up losing that game miserably in a 6-2 defeat to the Red Devils (Manchester United).

Even in a losing cause, Bielsa demanded more of his players. Manchester United took a 4-0 lead by the 40th minute of the 1st half. Yet, Bielsa asked for more from his players to press forward.

For large parts of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, Leeds have been highly criticised regarding their defending from set pieces. But, Bielsa gradually fine-tuned his Leeds United side defensively as well.

A few notable results that Leeds United will be remembered for last season were when they shockingly defeated Manchester City 2-1 despite being a man down, a 3-1 victory against Spurs, a 0-0 draw against Manchester United, as well as a 1-1 draw against Liverpool and a 0-0 draw against Chelsea.

What to Expect from Leeds United in FPL?


To start off, it is always good from an "attacking perspective" to see a team being led by a manager of this calibre. Leeds have shown multiple times that they can provide points from players that reside in every department of their squad.

They are a free-flowing, attack-minded team. But, they have also shown greater influence when it comes to their defense. They have been compact in the latter stages of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.

Adding to that, they have players that are really fit. It can not be denied that Leeds United are a team that is fitter than the rest. This serves well for Fantasy Managers as you can expect points from this Leeds United side even when the game might be on the edge.

A good example to explain the above point is the game where Leeds United travelled to the Etihad to take on Manchester City. Leeds were being pushed to the limit right at the end as Manchester City kept hunting for the winner.

But, Leeds were accurate when they had the chance to hurt Man City. Usually, a team would just look to clear their lines and run the clock down. But, Leeds were on a mission when Stuart Dallas burst through like a tracer bullet and found his way into an open area as he found the net in stoppage time to give Leeds all three points.

Patrick Bamford is another good example. He had a dead leg but still managed to play 60 odd minutes 3 days later, where he scored a goal and did a lot of running off the ball.

This goes to show the metal that Leeds United are built on under the management of Marcelo Bielsa.

Players as Potential “Regular” Starters


Goalkeepers

  1. Meslier - £5.0m - Illan Meslier was phenomenal in between the posts for Leeds last season. At 21 years of age, he has shown enormous courage and determination to be the number 1 for Leeds in goal.

    He has taken over the reins from Kiko Casilla, who has moved away from West Yorkshire in search for regular playing time.

    Illan Meslier does have the odd-bad day in him, but he is extremely reliable in goal for Leeds. There is no doubt that he will be the 1st choice for Bielsa in the 2021-22 Premier League season.

    Last season, Meslier was priced at £4.5m, but this season he has got a £0.5m extra pound in his overall price, which he rightfully deserves.

    Last season, in 35 Premier League appearances, he tallied a total of 141 saves as he ended up as the 4th best in the "Goalkeeper saves" category.

    Our Opinion? - He provides really good value even though he is priced at £5.0m. Since Leeds United have fine-tuned themselves defensively, we can expect Meslier to be more rewarding for FPL managers who decide to own him.

Defenders

  1. Firpo - Left-back - £5.0m - This young lad is a perfect fit for Marcelo Bielsa as well as FPL managers worldwide. He has the potential to have a season that was similar to Stuart Dallas in the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.

    After the departure of Alioski, Junior Firpo is set to be the mainstay of Bielsa’s set up as he fits into Bielsa’s style of play perfectly.

    Even though he is classified as a defender in the FPL, he can play as a left-sided midfielder too. He is a colossal threat to opposition defenders as he is smooth and silky on the ball.

    Adding to his decisiveness with the ball, he is extremely quick too. When Leeds are on the counter, expect Junior Firpo to bombard right up front along with Bamford, Harrison and Raphinha up front.

    He comes to Leeds United after a disappointing time at FC Barcelona where he played second fiddle to Jordi Alba.

    Although, while he was at Real Betis, he showed really good signs of what he was capable of from the left-hand side. He got up really close to the penalty box and created a number of potential goal-scoring opportunities. He keeps the ball well and finds a really good through ball at times. The only negative aspect of his game is that he commits fouls often, which may lead to him getting a few yellow cards. Below are his stats during his time at "Real Betis":

    SeasonMatchesGoalsAssists
    2017-181422
    2018-192434

    Our Opinion? - If you aim for defenders who contribute significantly in attack, then Junior Firpo should be on your radar. Do consider his first 3 fixtures before planning on getting him in.

    Overall, he is a good fantasy asset.

  2. Cooper - Centre-back - £4.5m - Liam Cooper was priced at £4.0m last season and he has provided a fair few FPL returns as he made 25 Premier League appearances last season.

    He is currently the captain of the side and is essential to how Leeds build from the back. He is the voice of the team in the back-line along with Luke Ayling.

    He has been with Leeds during their time in the Championship, where he has been a key figure that played a part in Leeds achieving Premier League status after a 16-year gap.

    He has won the most aerial duels with his Leeds teammates.

    Below are his stats in the Championship (Influential campaigns) and the Premier League:

    SeasonMatchesGoalsAssists
    2017-18
    Championship
    3011
    2018-19
    Championship
    3831
    2019-20
    Championship
    3820
    2020-21
    Championship
    2510

    Our Opinion? - Avoid.

  3. Llorente - Centre-back - £4.5m - Diego Llorente arrived last season from the Spanish side - Real Sociedad. He was a key asset for Real Sociedad and contributed significantly to the Spanish side.

    He was given the call by Marcelo Bielsa to join Leeds United and he arrived on West Yorkshire turf.

    His start to the season was halted due to hamstring and groin injuries respectively. Although he recovered from injury and entered the main frame pretty soon into Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

    He has been a significant contributor to a large portion of the defensive improvements that Leeds have implemented in their game.

    He has made a minor 15 appearances for Leeds United towards the end of the Premier League campaign. But, as mentioned earlier, he has made his impact on the team by contributing defensively. He also gained a minor 3 bonus points along with clean sheet points.

    Our Opinion? - Wait and Watch. You may invest in him if he remains fit and significant again.

  4. Ayling - Centre/Right-back - £4.5m - Luke Ayling has been another figure in the heart of the Leeds United back-line.

    He began as a right-back initially at the start of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign and gradually became a centre-back who did most of his work defensively.

    He shows a good work ethic and Marcelo Bielsa can depend on him highly. There is no doubt about his place in the starting XI for Leeds yet again.

    His fitness levels are impressive. Last season, he went forward in multiple attacking areas, but his crosses were not of the highest quality.

    He does have a really good goal-scoring instinct in him, but he has not yet found his scoring boots.

    He had a fair few opportunities in front of the goal, but he either mistimed them or he didn’t really get the ball under his feet.

    But, he is a really good tackler of the ball. He gets a lot of interceptions and he wins aerial duels as well.

    Eventually, he did score a goal, but it was ruled out due to offside. Below are his stats from the Championship:

    SeasonMatchesGoalsAssists
    2016-174203
    2017-182701
    2018-194026
    2019-203744

    Our Opinion? - Wait and Watch. If he scores goals or even provides assists, he will be a really good fantasy asset available at just £4.5m. Adding to that, he is a very good defensive asset too, as he could provide clean sheets and bonus points as well.

  5. Koch - Centre-back - £4.5m - The German centre-back was primed to be Marcelo Bielsa’s prime candidate in the back-line for Leeds United.

    Although he didn’t really make an impact on Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

    A knee injury prevented him from coming into the main XI.

    He made 17 appearances for Leeds United in the Premier League last season and was also used as a Central Defensive Midfielder at times to protect the back-line.

    Our Opinion? - Watch out for the minutes he plays.

  6. Struijk - Centre-back - £4.5m - Last season, Pascal Struijk was used as a bench option by many FPL managers as he was a starter or he was given the opportunity by Bielsa in the final 10-15 minutes of games to seal the deal.

    In the 2020-21 campaign, he has made a total of 27 Premier League appearances where he has a goal to his name as well, despite playing a relatively small portion of Premier League minutes.

    At times, Marcelo Bielsa has used him as a Central Defensive Midfielder who would hold and protect the Leeds back-line. He has been relatively good and impressive for Leeds United in the Premier League.

    He is physically strong and has a thundering header in him. He has got into multiple goal-scoring positions, but he lacks accuracy with his headers.

    However, if he gets them on target, he tests the palms of the opposition keeper.

    Our Opinion? - Watch out for the minutes he plays.

Midfielders

  1. Raphinha - £6.5m - The Brazilian winger, who is classified as a midfielder in FPL, provides a really good option for Fantasy Managers to consider. His numbers up front may not suggest the potential and talent that this Brazilian winger has under his belt.

    Since he joined Leeds United in the summer of the 2020-21 Premier League season, he has been a player that Marcelo Bielsa and the Leeds fans can bank on.

    Raphinha made 30 appearances for Leeds last season, where he scored 6 goals and provided 9 assists.

    If you watched Leeds United play last season, Raphinha was at the core of the attacking build up that Leeds had begun.

    He is quick and electric when he is in charge. He is a swift and silky mover with the ball as well.

    He has been at the pinnacle of the number of chances that Leeds have created. Last season, he created a lot of chances which could have resulted in more FPL points in terms of assists, but his teammates were not able to convert them.

    He is a prime candidate when it comes to set-piece duty, which further boosts his potential to provide FPL managers with more FPL points. There is no doubt regarding the talent he has and Marcelo Bielsa will need his Brazilian winger to fire on all cylinders if Leeds are to have another impressive Premier League campaign.

    The only concern, if you are a Raphinha owner, is that opposition defenders will mark Raphinha much more than they did last season.

    Our Opinion? - We believe that he will start and end the season on a strong FPL note. Even mid-way through the season, he will provide fantasy managers loads of FPL points. Get him in!

  2. Harrison - £6.0m - Jack Harrison is a Leeds United FPL asset that has gone under the radar for many. Last season, the spotlight was on Stuart Dllas, Raphinha and Patrick Bamford for Leeds. But, through it all, Jack Harrison was the silent assassin in front of goal.

    He began his Premier League campaign on a high note when he scored against 2019-20 Premier League champions Liverpool.

    Leeds United secured the transfer of Jack Harrison, who was on loan from Manchester City. He is a really good asset for FPL managers to look at.

    He’s got a vicious left-footer in him which is capable of providing loads of FPL points.

    Midway through the season, he was used by Marcelo Bielsa from the bench often. But, by the end of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, he had been sensational in front of goal as he scored goals for fun and raked up really good FPL points.

    His overall stats prove that he can be a really good FPL asset for FPL managers. His numbers in the Premier League and Championship are down below:

    SeasonMatchesGoalsAssists
    2018-193943
    2019-204668
    2020-213688

    Our Opinion? - In case you are looking to avoid the crowd and go for an FPL asset under the radar, then, Jack Harrison is a good investment that you would be making.

  3. Dallas - £5.5m - Last season, Stuart Dallas was a dream player that every FPL manager wanted in their teams. He was classified as a "Defender" last season, but he took up many attacking positions which provided him many goal-scoring opportunities.

    At the same time, he has the class, the touch and the composure of a top-class striker in front of goal. He has been phenomenal for Leeds United in attack and defence.

    His energy levels are through the roof!

    Last season, Stuart Dallas racked up 171 points as a £4.5m defender. It is fair to say that he has delighted FPL managers world-wide.

    He carries a significant threat up front when Leeds are on the attack. He may not get the ball on a regular basis when Leeds are on the attack, but he is surely in a position where he finds a pocket of space and scores goals for fun.

    This season, even when he is classified as a midfielder, he can still provide you with an ample number of opportunities for FPL points.

    Stuart Dallas had found spaces and had 19 attempts at goal last season, which we have to consider as well as FPL managers.

    There is no respite from him. He will keep tempting you to get him into your FPL teams. Below are his stats in the Championship and the Premier League:

    SeasonMatchesGoalsAssists
    2015-164556
    2016-173123
    2017-182921
    2018-192840
    2019-204553
    2020-21
    Premier League
    3882

    Our Opinion? - If you don’t have the funds to fit Raphinha into your FPL squad, do not be discouraged. As mentioned earlier, opposition defenders will mark Raphinha much more than they did last season, whereas Dallas will get many more open spaces up front and score goals.

    If you can’t afford Raphinha at £6.5m and Jack Harrison at £6.0m, get Dallas in!

  4. Klich - £5.5m - The polish midfielder got off to a good start and he was in the eyes of many FPL managers. He was a key part of Marcelo Bielsa’s side as he kept the ball well in midfield and found a pass well for the Leeds attack to flourish.

    Last season, he was in the eyes of few FPL managers as he was on penalty duty at the start of the season.

    Last season, he scored 4 goals and provided 5 assists in the Premier League.

    As the season progressed, he did not find himself in the playing XI regularly and consequently, he transferred his role as a penalty taker to Patrick Bamford.

    Our Opinion? - You can think a bit about considering him. Not an attractive option though.

  5. Costa - £5.5m - Costa was another player who was under the spotlight in this Leeds United squad. He was an impressive player on the pitch when he had the ball on his feet. He is quick, gusty and agile while he is on the attack.

    Unfortunately, a back injury forced him out a bit later in the season when he was starting to find his groove again.

    Last season, he recorded 3 goals and 3 assists for Leeds United in the Premier League.

    Our Opinion? - Avoid.

  6. Phillips - £5.0m - Kalvin Phillips was widely used as a defensive midfielder under Marcelo Bielsa. Although, after his recent performances for England at the Euros, Marcelo Bielsa might have a thing or two to consider while selecting Kalvin Phillips in his starting XI.

    Kalvin Phillips is an extraordinary footballer with the ball at his feet. His assist to Raheem Sterling in the opening game of England’s campaign for the Euros highlights his potential as a midfielder.

    Our Opinion? - If he keeps getting into advanced positions, he may be worth an investment for 1-2 weeks.

  7. Roberts - £5.0m - The Welsh international has been in the main frame for Marcelo Bielsa for a while. He has had a Premier League season where he did not deliver as much as he would like to.

    He used to get into many advanced positions, but he never found the killer pass or the killer goal on a regular basis.

    Last season, he recorded 1 goal and 2 assists for Leeds United in the Premier League in 27 appearances.

    Our Opinion? - He is set to have a secondary role at Leeds United this season again. Although it is an investment to be made for about 2-3 weeks only.

Forwards

  1. Rodrigo - £6.5m - Rodrigo Moreno’s Premier League season was halted largely due to injuries. He was signed from La Liga side Valencia.

    He has an incredible eye for goal and his left foot is a thing of beauty.

    He has been given the license by Marcelo Bielsa to roam and wander around the park in search of space and time. He is a lethal finisher as well.

    He finds pockets of spaces and generates enough power to get himself goals.

    He found his stride towards the back-end of last season where he found the net on a constant basis.

    He finds his teammates pretty well and delivers a very good through ball in between defenders. He holds the ball well and breaks forwards with real pace and venom.

    His stats for Valencia and Leeds United are mentioned below:

    Despite making 26 appearances largely as a substitute, he has been impressive in front of goal as he raked up 7 goals and 2 assists despite being injured at the same time.

    SeasonMatchesGoalsAssists
    2014-153134
    2015-162523
    2016-171953
    2017-1837164
    2018-193386
    2019-202747
    2020-21
    Premier League
    2672

    Our Opinion? - If he remains fit, he can be a really good goal-scoring FPL Differential.

  2. Bamford - £8.0m - Well, if you made it this far in this article, then we won’t leave you without mentioning Patrick Bamford.

    Last season, he was priced at £5.5m as a forward. It was not sure as to how many goals she would get after being promoted. The signing of Rodrigo had indicated that Patrick Bamford would play second fiddle to him, but he has earned the trust of Marcelo Bielsa and has been a regular starter for Leeds United throughout the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.

    This season, Patrick Bamford is priced at £8.0m fantasy pounds. This is a huge jump. Here is why Bamford deserves to be priced at £8.0m fantasy pounds. These stats are from his time in the Championship and the Premier League for “Leeds United.”

    SeasonMatchesGoalsAssists
    2018-192392
    2019-2045162
    2020-2138177

    Patrick Bamford just keeps getting better and better. In attack, he gets into really good scoring positions. At the same time, Bamford is an extremely good finisher in front of goal.

    He also links up really well with his teammates as he opens them up in front of goal. He has the killer eye for a pass and is going to be a handy FPL asset even in the 2021-22 Premier League season.

    He knows where the goal is and found it on a regular basis as the season progressed.

    The only downside of his FPL pricing is that he may be a touch too expensive at £8.0m. If he was priced at £7.5m, he would be a prime contender to be amongst the 3 forwards that FPL managers can get in their squad.

Final Word


Leeds United are a team that has multiple sources from which you could get FPL points. In case you want to invest in Leeds assets, then it depends on the Dynamic of your overall FPL side.