Is Jesse Marsch the Right man for Leeds United?

patrick bamford leeds

Jacob Walstow

Is Jesse Marsch the Right man for Leeds United?

It’s the end of an era at Leeds United. Marcelo Bielsa, after almost four years in West Yorkshire, was sacked on Sunday evening after a nightmarish run of results, including a 6-0 defeat at Anfield and claiming an unwanted new record of conceding the most goals in a month in the Premier League (20).

With Leeds, just two points above the relegation zone, the hierarchy at Elland Road have brought in former RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch on a two and a half year contract.

But, how will the American differ to the Argentine and what can we take from his experiences in North America and Europe?

Leeds United Relegation Odds

skybet betting tip

LEEDS UNITED TO BE RELEGATED FROM THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2021/22 @ 7/4

Marsch in the MLS

Renowned as a midfielder, Marsch spent his entire playing career in the MLS, playing for D.C. United, Chicago Fire and Chivas USA. His first taste of working in the dugout came under Bob Bradley for the US national team, being an assistant manager at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The MLS was Marsch’s first experience of being a manager as well, taking charge of Montreal Impact’s first season in Major League Soccer in 2012, but, following a disagreement with the board over coaching philosophies, they amicably split after a 12th place finish with 42 points.

A three-year wait would come until Marsch got himself back to football and this time, he got himself into the Red Bull family, becoming the manager of New York Red Bulls.

It didn’t take him long to show his coaching credentials, leading New York to the Supporters Shield with a club record of 18 wins, with the MLS coach of the year narrowly losing to Columbus Crew in the Conference Finals.

Leeds United to Finish Higher Than Tips

skybet betting tip

LEEDS TO FINISH HIGHER THAN EVERTON IN THE 2021/22 PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON @ 15/8

Marsch’s Tactics & Move to Europe

Three years in the Big Apple was followed by a season under the stewardship of Ralf Rangnik at RB Leipzig. A successful year, where Leipzig finished 3rd in the Bundesliga and made it to the German Cup final, gave him the opportunity to manage in Europe for the first time, leaving for sister team, RB Salzburg.

Marsch’s philosophy is heavily inspired by the Red Bull footballing way, about playing faster than the opponent and thinking faster than the opponent. His tactics follow this fast-paced nature, with Marsch liking to press, especially using the gegenpress tactic seen most famously by Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

The 48-year-old’s prefered formation set-up, again synonymous with the Red Bull way, is a 4-2-2-2. The two wide midfielders in this formation tuck inside when on the attack, creating a narrow band when trying to create chances. This contrasts Bielsa’s overload style, where he would use the wingers and fullbacks to overlap on the wings to then cut back to the inside to the main attacking threats, such as Patrick Bamford.

Marsch, unlike the stubborn Bielsa, is willing to change his formation as long as the principles of speed, pressing and verticality are maintained. The stubbornness with Bielsa was most noticeable with his man-marking system, where even against the big boys, Leeds would mark man to man.

This downfall was evident in Bielsa’s final game, against Tottenham Hotspur where Harry Kane dragged Robin Koch from his position at centre-back to collect the ball and play a through ball to Son, allowing the South Korean to score Spurs 4th and final goal.

The Wisconsin-born coaches’ success with this style was evident to see in his time in Austria, where Marsch led RB Salzburg to back-to-back league and cup doubles and two consecutive Champions League group stage campaigns.

His most infamous performance from an English point of view was when he brought his side to Merseyside, narrowly losing 4-3 to Liverpool in a thriller at Anfield. Klopp admitted that his side had to “learn lessons'' from this game and they “lost control” to Marsch’s side. The reward for this success was a chance at the biggest club in the Red Bull stable, becoming manager of RB Leipzig in the summer of 2021 following the departure of Julian Nagelsmann to Bayern Munich.

Leeds United to Finish Higher Than Tips

skybet betting tip

LEEDS TO FINISH HIGHER THAN NEWCASTLE IN THE 2021/22 PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON @ 5/2

Why it Didn’t Work Out at RB Leipzig & How Leeds’ Players Will Fit the Bill

His time in East Germany was short, however, being sacked in December with his team 11th in the table and out of the Champion League. His so-called failure in Leipzig will have been heavily contributed due to the players the Bulls lost in the Summer, with Marcel Sabitzer and Dayot Upamecano following Nagelsmann to Bayern and Ibrahima Konate leaving for Liverpool.

With his hands tied behind his back, Marsch wanted to alter his style for this new Leipzig side, going against the wishes of the Leipzig board, ultimately leading to his demise.

Now that Marsch is at Elland road, the American will look to get the best out of players such as Rodrigo, who was used on a part-time basis under Bielsa and will look to lead the press from the attacking midfield position.
JoeGelhardt, who’s seen as one of the next big English prospects, will be hopeful of learning under the manager who has coached arguably the best young striker in world football, Erling Haaland.

Robin Koch and Diego Llorente will look to again assume their presence as a top centre-back pairing who Leeds splashed the cash on in the summer after promotion from the Championship.

Sacking El Loco was a massive risk by Andrea Radrizzani as fans adored the Argentine and were certain that he would be able to turn it around. With Leeds not facing any of the top seven in their next six games, Marsch will have to hit the ground running to make sure Leeds don’t succumb to relegation.

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