Marcelo Bielsa has rejuvenated Leeds United. Last season, the Whites narrowly missed out on an automatic promotion spot and ended up flailing in the play-offs. Hopes of automatic promotion were once more ignited with a run of five wins in six games at the start of the season and another 11 games unbeaten from mid-October to Christmas.
Yet, since then United have won just once in six games. And, with a trip to QPR on the horizon coinciding with Leeds’ dismal run in London, will the Whites finally get back on the horse?
Marcelo Bielsa’s harrowing stat
For all the Argentine’s grace and preparation, he has never won a game in London with Leeds. United themselves have won just one game in the past ten in the capital and that was way back in December 2017. That victory was, however, against QPR which is perhaps the only positive United can take going into this weekend’s fixture.
In fact, Leeds have won just once in 19 trips to the capital and defeat to the Hoops at the weekend would give promotion chasers Brentford and Fulham increasing hope of catching United after the Yorkshire side had been 13 points clear at one stage.
Bielsa is hailed by United fans as one of the best managers they have had in a good few years – if not decades. But, there comes a time when the Argentine has to admit that his transfer policy has been lacking since taking over at United.
Patrick Bamford has been leading the line for United for the majority of Bielsa’s tenure, but he has scored just ten goals – eight behind Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic and Brentford’s Ollie Watkins this season. That’s just one goal every 200 minutes that the Londoner has played.
Bielsa had brought in Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, but the Gunners were disappointed with the amount of game time the striker was getting and so recalled him. Bielsa has, however, reiterated his desire to bring someone in that fits perfectly in his system and, likely, one that will play second fiddle to Bamford up front. That in itself is not exactly going to interest many strikers.
Despite United’s continued interest with Southampton’s Che Adams, Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has dismissed calls that he will go out on loan. If Leeds do miss out on the striker then Bielsa has admitted that he will not rush to go out and sign anyone for the sake of it. That’s a good policy to have, but not when it’s to the detriment of a team’s promotion hopes.
Victory at the weekend?
Leeds are 4/5 to end the London hoodoo this weekend, with a draw at 16/5 and a QPR victory at 7/2 on Bet365. Punters can get 6/5 on both teams to score, and overall, the odds, therefore, have United as clear favourites and with respect to both sides’ positions in the table – Leeds are second whilst QPR are 15th – the odds are perhaps how they should be.
But, the odds don’t take into account Leeds’ terrible form in the capital and a 7/2 flutter on QPR to win looks increasingly inviting when taking into consideration that Bielsa has never won in London.