Many coaches in world football would dream of being heralded as the world’s best by Pep Guardiola – one man who can though will be at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday 20 July to face off against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Marcelo Bielsa is his name – one of the brightest and most meticulous minds to ever grace the football coaching world.
The Argentine has had a massive impact at Leeds United after one season, this impact is nothing new to those who have been influenced by his tactical and theoretical philosophies.
Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino are two such coaches personally influenced by Bielsa’s approach to football.
Just a few short months ago, Bielsa had his sights firmly fixed on joining the pair in the top-flight of English football.
Through the first 24 rounds of the 2018/19 EFL Championship season, Leeds lost just three league matches.
A rich run of form that had many fans daring to dream of Championship glory and promotion to the Premier League.
Unfortunately, that dream failed to materialize for Bielsa and Leeds.
After missing out on automatic promotion, the Whites rollercoaster season eventually came to an end at the hands of Derby County in the Championship play-off semi-finals.
Leeds’ 2018/19 season still proved to be a dramatic leap forward for a club determined to return to its former glory, despite failing to gain promotion.
Bielsa had catapulted Leeds away from mid-table obscurity with an injection of passion, dedication, and panache.
His preparation, scouting, and analysis of opposition clubs is a big reason for his success and Leeds fans quickly discovered the extreme depths of his football taxonomy after the infamous ‘Spygate’ fiasco last season.
Bielsa’s sides thrive on overloading wide areas of the pitch, positional rotation, and relentless pressing.
Bielsa’s Leeds are always dangerous on transition thanks to a direct counter-attacking style that has been a signature facet of his teams.
In attack, Bielsa commonly employs a front three with a playmaker in behind, this closely resembles an unconventional 3-3-1-3 formation, but it is one that Bielsa has had success with throughout his coaching career.
To perfect his game plan and implement his extensive analytical approach, Bielsa demands a high level of fitness and discipline on the training pitch from his side.
Two of Bielsa’s key personnel, Kalvin Phillips and Kemar Roofe, became focal points of this high-energy style last season.
Both players have been attracting interest from other clubs in the current transfer window and Leeds fans will hope to see them board the plane to Australia later this week.
Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom for Leeds fans with a handful of new faces joining the Bielsa revolution at Elland Road in recent weeks, most notably Hélder Costa on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Portuguese winger is tipped for big things at Leeds and Wanderers’ players will be out to test Bielsa’s new addition on Saturday 20 July in front of a jam-packed Bankwest Stadium crowd.