Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that he is hoping Leeds United secure a 1-0 win over Burnley on Sunday, as he wants to see Marcelo Bielsa’s side show more discipline following last weekend’s heavy 6-2 defeat to Manchester United.
With three minutes on the clock, Leeds were already losing 2-0 to United as Scott McTominay netted twice. Not long after, Leeds were 3-0 down and ended up conceding six. At this pivotal stage of the season, Bielsa’s men have conceded more goals than any other Premier League side with 30 – though they have scored 24, five more than Manchester City and double Arsenal’s tally.
Many pundits have since dissected the display at Old Trafford and the general consensus is that Bielsa’s team need to be more disciplined when it comes to defending – given the step up in quality from Championship to Premier League. But it must also be acknowledged that Leeds have had a tough re-birth to Premier League life in terms of fixtures.
They now face Burnley – a side that are excellent from set-pieces, and present a physical challenge. Sean Dyche’s side are in good form, too, having won two of their last four and unbeaten in those four outings. Indeed, they pose a threat to Leeds, who are struggling to cope with set-pieces. Martyn wants a more solid approach, certainly at the start, and is desperate for Leeds to win 1-0.
“He’s going to be very tight at the back, and capitalise on set-pieces and breakaways,” Martyn said. “It’s whether Leeds can break them down and go 2 in front, and make Burnley come out. But it doesn’t have to be in the first minute. They might have to go back playing a bit of an old-fashioned style, make them defend.
“Go long and get a corner or a throw-in out of something. Get them turned. Be a little bit ugly at the start of games. A 1-0 home win would be great for me. If they lose against Burnley and West Brom, then they are getting dragged into a fight. It is important to be more difficult to beat.”
It has been somewhat topsy-turvy for Leeds so far, losing half of their 14 Premier League matches but stopping Manchester City and Arsenal, losing with dignity to Liverpool, beating Everton and Aston Villa away and ending up on 17 points. At this stage compared to Sheffield United’s excellent campaign last season, they are just two points worse off.
But Burnley have their tails up and a defeat could see Leeds staring towards the bottom. Charlie Taylor and Chris Wood will face their former side after arguably being their team’s best two players in Monday’s 2-1 win over Wolves. A tough task, especially because Leeds have lost three of the last five meetings between the two sides – though the most recent match saw Leeds win on penalties in the Carabao Cup.
A win for Leeds could see them climb as high as 11th, if results go their way. But a loss, and Arsenal could leapfrog them into 14th.