Leeds United and Aston Villa take each other on this weekend in a game where both sides will be looking to win in order to stamp down their credentials for the playoffs and possibly even the title in Leeds’ case.
Over the summer, Leeds appointed Marcelo Bielsa as manager in a move that many thought would either send the club to the Premier League or set off a chain of problems at the Yorkshire club.
Tipped as a potential title candidate at the beginning of the season after reaching the final of the playoffs, Villa had a terrible start to the season but since former Brentford boss, Dean Smith arrived at the club, Villa have soared up the table.
Widely regarded as one of the best managerial minds in football but also one of the most combustible, Bielsa arrived at Leeds after short spells at Lille, Lazio and Marseille. Bielsa only lasted 13 games at Lille before he left and therefore, when he arrived at Leeds, it was unsure how successful the Argentine would be.
Since touching down in Yorkshire, however, the manager has completely changed the club. Going from a side known for its managerial merry go round, Bielsa looks as though he could be a long-term appointment by the club.
After a fairly quiet transfer market where he only brought in Barry Douglas and Patrick Bamford on permanent deals, Bielsa has transformed the squad into a dynamic, high-pressing team that currently sits top of the table, despite all the recent injuries.
He will need to be backed in the transfer market next month but it’s been so far so good for the former Athletic Bilbao man.
TT Grade: A
During his three years at Brentford, Dean Smith turned the west London side into one of the best attacking teams in the Championship and before he left this season, Brentford looked as though they could be surprise title contenders.
After a terrible start to the season, Aston Villa sacked Steve Bruce and brought in the Brentford man which as it stands, looks like their gamble might pay off. Smith has already helped transform the side into one of the best attacking sides in the league led by the likes of Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham. At the back, he quickly tightened the side up as they have conceded 14 goals albeit five of those came in one game against Nottingham Forest.
With the amount of talent at his disposal, Villa must be considered as one of the most dangerous sides in the league.
TT Grade: B+
Both clubs have two of the best managers in the country. In Smith, Villa have a boss who is largely considered as one of the best English managers in the country and with him at the helm, promotion is a very distinct possibility.
In Bielsa, however, Leeds have a boss that has that star quality that they’ve been lacking. Considering the huge changes he’s instituted at the club already, it seems Leeds may have picked the right man for the job.
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