Championship

Transfer Battle: Marcelo Bielsa vs Chris Wilder

The Championship table is tight at the top with both Sheffield United and Leeds United making good starts to the season.

The two sides are in contention for Premier League promotion and have impressed in contrasting ways, largely due to the different philosophies of Marcelo Bielsa and Chris Wilder.

With that in mind, how do the Leeds and Sheffield United managers compare?

Marcelo Bielsa

Bielsa has made an instant impact at Leeds since his arrival over the summer. In his previous stints at the likes of Athletic Bilbao and the Chile national team, Bielsa grew a reputation for playing a very attractive brand of football, something which is already being seen at Elland Road.

Under the Argentinian coach, Leeds have become a team who constantly look to play the ball out of defence, retain possession and attack in numbers.

Given Bielsa has only been at the club since June, it has been a surprise to see the Leeds players take so quickly to his philosophy.

Upon his arrival, many questioned whether Bielsa would have the kind of individuals needed to implement his idea of football, while having zero experience as a Championship manager was also a point critics constantly raised

The 63-year-old, however, is proving all of his doubters wrong.

TT Grade: A-

Chris Wilder

While Bielsa lacks experience in the English game, Wilder is blessed with it. Following stints with Halifax Town, Oxford United and Northampton Town, the 51-year-old is now enjoying a very successful spell as Sheffield United manager.

He oversaw their promotion from League 1 to the Championship back in the 2016/17 season before leading the Blades to a 10th place finish upon their return to English football’s second division.

And now Wilder has his side mounting a Premier League promotion charge with a by any means necessary approach on the pitch.

“If you look at the successful periods the club has had, there are common factors,” Wilder said when speaking about styles of football back in 2016 (via The League Paper). “We’ve always been competitive. We’ve always been on the front foot, not so much emphasis on possession and build-up. We’d always got after teams.

“They want to see you run around. They want to see you battle. Sometimes a big header or a crunching tackle or chasing a lost cause gets more appreciation than 20 successful passes or a Cruyff turn. That’s the DNA of this place.”

TT Grade: A

TT Verdict:

Comparing Bielsa and Wilder, in terms of his ability as a coach, the way his teams play and his overall experience in the game, the former easily comes out on top.

However, the job Wilder has done at Sheffield United since succeeding Nigel Adkins has been brilliant while he must also be given a lot of credit for the position he has the Blades in now.

Individual for individual, there is no way Sheffield United are a team as strong as Leeds, yet they are in practically the same boat as far as the table and promotion aspirations go in this moment of time.

Therefore, Wilder wins this battle of Championship managers.

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