Leeds United have appointed Javi Gracia as the club’s new head coach until the end of the season and here are three winners, and three losers as the Spanish gaffer arrives in the hotseat – if, Gracia deploys his double-pivot 4-4-2 system.

Gracia, 52, spent more than 18 months at Watford, clocking up 66 games. Taking his side to the FA Cup final in 2018-19, he used a 4-4-2 system in 44 of those. With that system, here are the winners and losers in the current Leeds side:

Three winners and losers as Leeds appoint Javi Gracia:


Junior Firpo – During his time at Watford, Gracia played with wingers in a 4-4-2 system that were central players. Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra played out wide. It allowed full-backs to get forward – and Firpo is better going forward.

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Patrick Bamford – In the 4-4-2 system, Gracia liked a no.9 that would dictate the centre-backs. That would then give space to his partner, to buzz about and create. Gerard Deulofeu partnered Troy Deeney. Bamford can be like Deeney.

Willy Gnonto – As stated, Gracia used Deulofeu and Deeney. Gnonto could be the one that goes up top with Bamford. But if not, Gnonto is still perfect for the left wing slot, given he likes to cut inside. So, Gnonto remains a key player.


Brenden Aaronson – Aaronson has lost Jesse Marsch. The manager that signed him, worked under him at Salzburg. His form dipped at the end of Marsch’s reign. The £25m man even played for the 21’s last night. Gracia doesn’t use a 10.

Pascal Struijk – If Gracia does use his 4-4-2 Watford system, he likes full-backs to get forward. To create with crosses. Struijk is a defensive full-back, given he is a central defender. At centre-back, Max Wober and Liam Cooper are ahead.

Sam Greenwood – Maybe slightly harsh, given Greenwood can play as a central midfielder or up top. But, Greenwood is best as a 10, or an 8. Able to shoot from long range. Again, if Gracia plays 4-4-2, there is little room for a Greenwood.

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