Leeds’ August Review: more adaptable?

With a two-week break from the Championship for internationals, this is a good time to review how all 24 teams have looked in their first five league games. Here’s our assessment of Leeds United.

What we said in pre-season

“The task for Thomas Christensen will be to maintain the solidity Leeds United showed under Garry Monk, whilst introducing tactical flexibility. New midfielder Mateusz Klich will be key to this evolution while Pontus Jansson’s permanent deal makes Kyle Bartley and Charlie Taylor the only first teamers missing from last year. We could see a better-rounded outfit. 4th

Have they surprised us so far?

They haven’t surprised us by their excellent start, but the left-field nature of Christensen’s appointment meant they started the season as an unknown quantity in the eyes of many. Far from going backwards under him, they are playing some excellent football and look a more complete side.

The positives

As well as Monk did last season, his philosophy involved binary roles. Two holding midfielders would sit while attacking midfielders would be asked to get the ball in the box for Chris Wood at the first opportunity. That worked to a degree, but it did make Leeds easy to read at times. Now, attacking and defending is done collectively and every player is confident in more than one phase of play. With Samuel Saiz, Ezgjan Aliosky and Kemar Roofe all in good form, there is a multitude of potential goalscorers.

The negatives

They are yet to win or score in a league game at Elland Road. The first of the two  saw them unable to net against 10 man Preston in the last half hour, though it was largely the one man, goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, who kept them at bay. Three days later, they only managed one shot on target against Fulham in a goalless draw. Leeds begin September with fixtures against Burton and Birmingham in West Yorkshire, which offer an opportunity to correct their home form.

Late business?

With Wood leaving for Burnley, some suggest they still need another striker. Hamburg’s 6’2″ front-man Pierre-Michel Lasogga has been linked, but any target man that joins should only be used as a Plan B. Christensen’s Plan A does not need much changing.

The Football Lab’s Grade

It’s early days, but we’ll go out on a limb and say Leeds have a better team now than they had last season. A