If last season’s Championship campaign taught us anything, it’s that, from the sublime to the ridiculous, Leeds United and manager Marcelo Bielsa are absolutely must see.
The 2018/2019 campaign may have ended in heartbreak for the Elland Road faithful, but for fans of the club it was one of the most exciting seasons they’d experienced in years, thanks to the madness and the genius of their Argentine boss.
Between ‘Spygate’ at Derby County, to a question of sportsmanship against Aston Villa, and finally, a gut-wrenching defeat in the playoffs, the season was filled intrigue and with ‘El Loco’ staying on for another year, Leeds United fans can expect much of the same as they kick off their campaign against Bristol City.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Bielsa may be set to unleash his revolutionary 3-3-1-3 formation, which he utilised to great effect during his time in charge of the Chilean national team, on the Championship.
The formation has never been used in English football before and Bielsa has already trialled it in Leeds’ 1-1 draw against Italian side Cagliari during pre-season.
Last season ,Bielsa played either a 4-3-3 or a 4-1-4-1 formation so this would represent a significant change to their style of play as they go into the campaign as one of the favourites for promotion.
In a nutshell the formation appears to have three central defenders, two wingbacks or wide midfielders either side of a deep-lying midfielder, a creative player in the number ten and three attackers.
According to @AllStatsArentWe on Twitter and confirmed by midfielder Adam Forshaw, below is how Bielsa set up his side for the Cagliari game.
In a thread, the account explained each player’s role based on the game, with Leif Davis on the left side operating as a wing back overlapping Helder Costa and Adam Forshaw on the other side coming inside to support Kalvin Phllips as the holder as well as supporting and switching with Mateusz Klich in the number ten role.
You can find the full breakdown here.
Against Cagliari, Bielsa set the team up in the 3-3-1-3 from the off (something confirmed by Adam Forshaw in his post-match interview). pic.twitter.com/R4IsmMLA9m
— All Stats Aren't We (@AllStatsArentWe) July 28, 2019
It’s a bizarre formation on paper but one that will likely excite Leeds fans with the likes of Costa from Wolves and defender Ben White from Brighton reportedly brought in with the 3-3-1-3 in mind.
There’s a method to Bielsa’s madness and all eyes will be on Ashton Gate on Sunday to see if El Loco will roll out his revolutionary formation.