Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has got it all wrong when talking to his club’s website, by saying that Leeds United have not changed much in style under Javi Gracia since the Spaniard replaced Jesse Marsch in the dugout.
For the last few years, Leeds have become renowned for being all-out attack and focusing on trying to outscore their opponents. That ethos remained throughout Marcelo Bielsa’s reign, continuing under American boss Marsch.
But the Leeds board recognised the need for change, eventually. Marsch’s Leeds were leaving way too many gaps at the back – and failing to score at the other end. A 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest saw the Leeds board take action.
Gracia has arrived. He has changed the way Leeds play. There is more defensive stability, defending in numbers, the desire to control games even if Leeds are not in possession. A more pragmatic approach, just what Leeds needed.
But Arsenal goalkeeper Ramsdale gave his verdict on Leeds, and the way Leeds are playing since Gracia arrived. The England stopper does not believe Leeds have changed much despite Gracia’s arrival – ahead of Saturday.
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“We’re expecting a tough game. They’ve had a change of manager, but the way they have approached most recent games is still very similar. They have the same sort of style, they want to dominate the team by out-running them.
“They had a great win against Wolves so it will be another tough test, and hopefully it’s one we can come through like we have done at the Emirates more times than not this season. Hopefully it will be another good day for us.”
Ramsdale gets it all wrong by saying Leeds haven’t changed under Gracia
Leeds have clearly changed. It is the first time in years that Leeds have thrown more emphasis on defending, rather than attacking. Under Bielsa, Leeds fans trusted him entirely but with Marsch, it was unorganised chaos at the back.
Gracia is giving Leeds belief, by changing tact and getting the defenders organised. If Ramsdale believes Leeds are still the same Leeds that left gaps open at the back then he will be surprised come Saturday, against a low block.