I hate Maths; it’s too concrete with all its ‘adding up’ and ‘correct answer’ leaving no room for opinion; that’s why I became an English teacher. For the record I hate physics too but that’s a longer story. However, I like simple sums such as ‘passing + movement + accuracy = chances'; there’s been very little of ANY of those parts in any consistency at Leeds United this year…so far.

Fresh from the Hock-a-days, Neil Redfearn tears up the midfield, bringing in Alex Mowatt for his first start, giving new signing Casper Sloth (it’s pronounced Slott apparently) and promoting youngster Lewis Cook from his 3 appearance – 47 minutes of cameo to the starting line-up; all of this alongside an improving Tommaso Bianchi. Leeds’ fans must have shuddered when realisation dawned that ‘diamond’ was on the cards, but this one actually shone like a gem rather than a dully-polished turd.

Key

  • Green – successful pass
  • Red – unsuccessful pass
  • Blue – assist
  • Orange – key pass (leading to shot)

Graphic one – Leeds’ passing after 22 minutes.

Passing Bolton 1 (22)

The above graphic shows a much better cluster of passing around the central midfield area and team passing was at 80% accuracy. What is encouraging is the number of passes in/towards the ‘final third'; an area thus far this season unknown to the majority of Leeds games this season.

Graphic two – Leeds’ passing after 45 minutes

Passing Bolton 2 (45)

At half time, and with 81.75% accuracy, the Leeds passing continues to be concentrated in the midfield area with some use of the flanks being evident. At half time the Leeds’ midfield quartet returned the following passing accuracy: Bianchi 91%, Mowatt 87%, Sloth 76% and Cook 73%.

Graphic three – Leeds’ passing after 68 minutes

Passing Bolton 3 (68)

After 68 minutes, despite being put under more pressure from Bolton, Leeds’ passing is still neat, compact and tidy and the accuracy remains high at 82%. There is more use of successful passes in the ‘final third’ (2 more key passes) and an increased use of the left hand side of the Bolton area after Charlie Taylor relaced Stephen Warnock in the 55th minute.

Graphic four- Leeds’ passing after 90 minutes

Passing Bolton 4 (90)

The final quarter of the game saw a drop in accuracy of passing (down to 79%) as Leeds were under the cosh from an increasingly desperate Bolton side. Leeds continued to work the left and this resulted in two more ‘key passes’ in this area of the field. Final passing percentages for midfield players: Bianchi 88% (with 1 ‘key pass’), Mowatt 86% (with 1 ‘key pass’), Sloth 84%, Cook 73% and Benedicic 100% (6 passes in 12 minutes of play).

The phrase ‘chances were at a premium’ is used so often that it has become a cliché in football. Well, in football, chances have been so rare that Leeds’ fans are more accustomed to seeing new signings than shots at goal, let alone on target. Therefore, it is reassuring to see that Leeds midfield players are passing with more accuracy and with increasing intent of purpose and creating chances. One particular mention needs to be given to new Italian striker Mirco Antenucci for his contribution to today’s passing performance – 85% accuracy and 2 ‘key passes’ leading to Leeds chances. Added to this, before his departure in the 55th minute due to injury, Stephen Warnock was highly accurate down the left flank with 91% of his passes finding their intended targets.

Leeds’ fans have bemoaned the fact that a seemingly lightweight midfield has been over-run at times; today wasn’t the case as badly as other games. Leeds fans have also bemoaned the fact that ‘chances are at a premium’ but today seemed an improvement with Leeds managing 7 shots and at least showing encouraging signs; more needs to be done in this area though because without the formula of ‘increased passing + more key passes’ then you won’t get the result of ‘= more chances and shots’.

Leeds’ old frailties still remain in that they allow the opposition far too many opportunities to shoot (22 today for Bolton: 8 saved, 7 blocked and 7 off target) and were today indebted to the goalkeeping of Marco Silvestre who made 8 saves that, ultimately, kept Leeds United in the game.

  • bd

    Good piece,went to the game and big improvement,but away from home I think 5 in midfield and one up-front,or we will get battered.

    • Graham

      I do think that we need to pack the midfield somewhat; Brighton did it to us and over ran us.

  • TexasBob

    Like eddie grey said, most statts mean nothing. Cook and Silvestri were our best players

    • Graham

      Most stats are meaningless; I’ve always said it’s how you interpret them to be fair and what you can say about them. Top Championship midfield players have high passes per game with around 85% accuracy come the season’s end. It goes without saying that if you don’t pass with accuracy then your chances are going to be limited. What I was trying to show was that the Leeds midfield was populated more with passes and with a steady accuracy and in the areas where they need to be – I think we’d all agree today was an improvement over recent games.

      Silvestri, without a doubt, was awesome but Grey and Kirwin also said that Antenucci’s running and distribution was good as well.

      • TexasBob

        Yes lets hope the next coach sticks with the kids, as others have said id drop Bianchi for Adryan based on current form and keep the other three youngens in the side and let them gel
        We need one of the strikers to start putting the ball in the net though

        • Graham

          I’d not drop Bianchi but definitely not put Murphy back in. There’s no guarantee that Adryan is going to cut the mustard just because he’s Brazilian; remember Roque Junior?

          • spellz

            I entirely agree, I would never put Murphy back Bianchi is definitely improving, as for Roque Junior, Brazilians are best known for their flair and ability to attack something that Adryan does and he looks super talented and a very good dead ball specialist which we definitely need although Mowatt has been good recentely, I have nothing to say about Brazilians defence after Germanys outing IN BRAZIL.

  • Chris7286

    I’ve just spotted something the like of Neil Warnock and Sam Allerdyce have been missing for most of their managerial careers. Very long red arrows and short green ones. TSS make me feel like a right know all sometimes with their fancy articles lol

    • Graham

      There was a thick red one for the Bradford game but that was to send Hockaday to the Job Centre

      • spellz

        Ha ha that line certainly was thick.

  • oldschoolbaby

    You don`t like maths but you are really fond of the mathematical discipline of statistics.
    I don`t think anyone will remember this game in terms of passing accuracy. I actually suspect this game will be remembered as the first true game of the Cellino era. I`m feeling rather positive

    • Graham

      I dislike the concrete nature of Maths but I like how a story can be attributed to statistics or how they can help to illustrate a narrative. Also, they aren’t as concrete as other areas of Maths as the can be interpreted; that’s why I like ‘em. I prefer to think of them as ‘number pictures’.

      I’m feeling positive too.

  • Matthew

    We were never going to go from bad to good overnight, but even now, the difference with Redfearn at the helm is clear as day. Now, let’s hope Cellino realises that having a proper coach in-charge when Redfearn goes back to Academy can make all the difference.

    • Graham

      100% agree. One thing Hockaday did was get the midfield unit passing more; they were 35 passes per game last year; even Austin was up to 60 per game this year and he’s a DM. They need a coach to point them in the right direction and to develop that ‘killer ball.’

      • Matthew

        I’m just thrilled with the 3 points, the international break couldn’t have come at a better time. If Redfearn Is still at the helm come Birmingham City, I can easily see another 3 points. I’m just praying Cellino doesn’t appoint another Hockaday. All the pieces are there for some success, if Cellino appoints another nobody the season will be ruined.

        • Graham

          I agree. I’m not even convinced that Steve Clarke is the man for the job. Whoever we get, gotta be better than what’s just left

          • Matthew

            Absolutely, if Hock was still here we would have lost against Bolton, no way the clueless man would have picked the same team as Redfearn. Bolton easily were the best team to come to ER so far this season. Their league position doesn’t tell the whole story.

  • spellz

    First off love the pun Hock-a-days, we let them have far too many shots today and did not have many ourselves which is still alarming as we were at ER against a confidence lacking Bolton, who have shown little promise themselves at the start of the season, I mean Silvestre M.O.M was a understatement he was prolific total wall, I think they could have had 22 more and he still would have defied the laws of probability (outstanding today) the passing has got better though and if we can keep playing posession but threaten more frequently we might well climb the table, ty for the article very imformative.

    • Graham

      He kept us in the game. The first ever blog I did I said that we’d bought ourselves a shot stopper. Fair enough, he couldn’t do much against Watford with the free kick but, over the season, he’ll stop more than he’ll concede…hopefully.

      The pun was a last minute revision.

  • Jimmy

    Well l wouldn’t hang these pictures on my wall, looks like an ebola outbreak!

    I was at the match, thoroughly enjoyed it, atmosphere was cracking and it was great to see the young talent on the park! It’s been a grim 70+ days at LS11, and for me yesterday was the start of the new season. Two weeks international break now and three more new signings hopefully to add to the mix, the game against Reading on 17 Sep 14 will be the one to watch!

    Time to put our collective scepticism away for now and get behind MC and the team! Fingers crossed MC appoints a decent replacement for DH.

    • Graham

      I can’t wait for the International break to be over; I’ve always been behind Massimo Cellion and against those who say that not enough British players etc…

      • Jimmy

        Agreed Graham, obviously re above comment l meant Birmingham 13 Sep 14, really shouldn’t do this before second mug of coffee!

        • Matthew

          Hopefully attendances improve as the results improve also. 21.9k isn’t that great all things considered. We should be looking at least 25-30k outside of the Premier League weekly.

  • Ron

    Well done Redders for effectively picking a vastly different line up and one full of the future. Silvestri was too busy making saves for my liking, but bravo to him for a great performance. Now to work out what to do for 2 weeks without football.

    • Graham

      Much more creativity in the midfield; hopefully the 2 week break will allow the players to gel more and give Adryan a chance to bed into the midfield. Be hard to see who to remove but I’d say it’s between Mowatt and Cook.

      Much better performance though apart from allowing Bolton 22 shot attempts.

  • Scally Lad

    We’re going up!!!!

    • Graham

      5 games in and 3 points from playoffs; I’ll take that :-)

  • Phil Logan

    As is stated the passing game was good, on the back of this the long ball from Silvestre was a wasted ball we should play it out from the back like Bolton did. Let’s use wing backs.
    We had the agility in midfield but lacked strength and stamina. It looks like with time, the vision from midfield will be there as the team settle.

  • Lufc79

    Gutted to lose smith