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Photo – Look at Marcelo Bielsa in the background as Luke Ayling celebrated his stunning goal with the Leeds United squad

After all of the turbulence that they endured, this is looking to be Leeds United’s year after all.

After a fantastic start to their Championship season, the Peacocks endured some anxious moments in the middle of their campaign as they kept losing match after match from a winning position, partly due to a lack of defensive application and mostly due to keeper Kiko Casilla’s piss poor performances.

All of this, however, is firmly in the past now. Leeds have begun to look a formidable side once more, notching up comprehensive victories in five successive league games.

In fact, their most recent win, a score of 2-0 against Huddersfield, brought them back the coveted top spot that they had lost midway through.

In the midst of all of this, of course, is manager extraordinaire Marcelo Bielsa.

The gaffer has a glowing reputation of making sure the club he works in punches far above its weight, as he showed with the Peacocks in the latter half of last season.

This time around, his tactics did come under heavy scrutiny after Leeds United went through a nightmarish run of form through December and January. However, his pedigree has shone through and he is now back to being revered by the fans and has surely earned the begrudging respect of his detractors.

Of course, a glance at his expression would give a person absolutely no indication as to what he is feeling; the Argentinian is famous for his reticence in displaying any sort of emotion on or off the pitch.

His stonewalling, however, has only endeared him to both the players and the fans, who delight in finding instances of him doing exactly that. And, on Saturday, they got a perfect example of this behaviour.

The incident happened during Leeds’ win over Huddersfield, when a clinical show of passing and an incredible cross led to a fantastic acrobatic goal from right back and man-in-form Luke Ayling.

It was a goal that broke the deadlock between the two teams and Ayling naturally went to the dugout to celebrate with the rest of the squad.

All of them there were equally as jubilant and rushed forward to celebrate with Ayling, with the exception of one man. Of course, it was Bielsa, who was instead apparently looking at replays of the goal to see if it worked out properly: it emerged later that Ayling’s aerial display was no fluke but a result of intensely practicing that very same scenario a day before the match, on Bielsa’s behest.

It is most certainly undeniable at this point that it is this unassuming Argentinian that has brought about a sea change in the Peacocks; from the rag-tag bunch of also-rans from years past to the fighting unit with dreams of the Premier League it is now.

By Prahlad Rao

Extremely passionate about all things football (NOT soccer), I have been working as a freelance journalist for five years now. I am massively invested in the English leagues and would very much like the present season to make a comeback on the telly, thank you.

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