Unleashing the Leeds – or how to control your Terriers. Graham Smeaton September 20, 2014 Leeds United 29 Comments When that whistle blows at 3pm tomorrow afternoon, all Hell will be unleashed. 30,000 baying voice as one; a wall of sound, a veritable crescendo of pure, raw and visceral emotion. Leeds’ new ‘legiona stranieri’ will know what it is like to feel the heat of the M62 Derby with the noisy neighbours from the Kirklees area. Last year’s corresponding fixture at Elland Road started like the majority of fixtures we have had this season in that we went behind; Danny Ward opening Huddersfield’s account on 25 minutes. The thing is, it’s not that goal that sticks in the psyche of Leeds’ fans; it was quite a good goal; Ward inside the area, makes space for himself and shoots from the left-side about 10 yards out and across Paddy Kenny into the right-hand side of the goal. No, it was the Leeds response that they remember; a response kick-started by Ross McCormack’s 45th minute equaliser as part of a personal hat-trick from him. Other goals were a 50th minute effort from Jimmy Kebe, yes the Jimmy Kebe, and an 82nd minute coup de grace from Alex Mowatt. If the Terriers had been an actual dog, they’d have been put down at the end of this game and Leeds United would have been hounded by the RSPCA for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. Fast forward to Saturday 20th September and thoughts turn to what Huddersfield team is going to turn up. Leeds vs. Huddersfield – comparison of 2014/15 season What it seems we should expect is a pretty equal contest in certain areas between two ‘on paper’ seemingly even-matched teams. The only massive differences between the two teams are in two areas: ‘goals conceded’ and ‘chances created’. As it stands going into Saturday’s game Leeds have conceded an average of 1.43 goals per game whereas Huddersfield have been breached, on average, 2.31 times per game. Now, whilst statistics can mean very little at times, maybe this will give Leeds fans a little uplift knowing that Huddersfield have a defence that can be breached and has been with some regularity this season. In the last 3 games Huddersfield have conceded 6 goals, whereas Leeds have only conceded 2 times over the same number of games. In terms of chances created, Huddersfield, with 85 chances, have created 37 (77%) more chances than Leeds have (48) over the opening 7 games of the season . Now I like my numbers; strange though as I am not a big fan of Maths lessons but of the chances created, Leeds have turned a higher percentage into goals (14.60%) than Huddersfield (8.20%). The thing Huddersfield will have to be wary of is the fact that Leeds not only come into Saturday’s game on the back of a 3 game unbeaten sequence (WDW) where they have conceded only 0.67 goals per game and have a vastly improved performance in both defence and midfield. Defensively, Leeds have been much more solid since Guiseppe Bellusci paired up with Jason Pearce in the centre of defence – Bellusci’s steel seemingly having a positive effect on Pearce’s performances. Behind them, Huddersfield will find perhaps one of, if not the, most consistent goalkeeper in the Championship over the last 3 games in Marco Silvestre. I said in one of my first ever blog pieces that Silvestre was a shot-stopper and this can be seen in the last 3 appearances he has made. Silvestre has 18 saves over the opening 7 games but a return of 15 saves over his last 3 games and, combined with an improved defensive effort, this has resulted in only two goals conceded at a rate of 7.5 saves per goal. Huddersfield, it seems, will be meeting an improving Leeds United with an impressive stopper between the sticks in Marco Silvestre. OK, I admit it, I might have been wrong in recent criticisms of the Leeds United midfield quartet in articles both on this forum and elsewhere. Well, if taking into account the vastly improved Leeds midfield four in the game against Bournemouth then, yes, I was wrong. Leeds midfield passing vs Bournemouth Graphic – Squawka.com I accused Leeds’ midfield of playing tiki taka toe poke football with their passing and of being uncreative and stuttering in the fact they couldn’t get the ball adequately into attacking areas in the opposition final of the pitch; the so-called ‘red zone‘. The above graphic illustrates that not only is the ball being played into the depths of the Bournemouth attacking third (mainly the left-hand edge of the box but there were 9 passes into the box itself (3 accurate, 1 assist, 1 key chance and 4 unsuccessful passes). Whatever Huddersfield team turns up, whatever formation they adopt, Leeds United fans are hoping for the ‘Redfearn-Run’ to continue and for 3 points to be the ultimate outcome. Hopefully these Terriers can be tamed and sent back whimpering with their tails between their legs.