Klich went from strength to strength last season going from an outcast under Thomas Christiansen the season before, to a key member of the squad appearing in all 46 league games last season under Bielsa. It’s fair to say Klich owes a lot of this success to the Argentinian and there is a clear correlation between the rise of the Pole and Bielsa’s arrival. Now let’s analyse his amazing season and see why it all clicked for Klich.
Without even reading the graphic above you can instantly see that Klich is amongst the top midfielders creatively in the Championship and was also one of the biggest offensive weapons in Bielsa’s arsenal. He scored 10 goals last season and also had 9 assists which combined was the second most of anyone in the Leeds squad. One aspect of Klich’s game which is often unnoticed is his dribbling ability and how he runs with the ball. He ranks in the top ten percent of Championship midfielders for progressive runs per90. This shows his ability to pick up the ball in midfield and drive forward which moves the team into the final third, this helps us progress the ball when we find it hard to pass through the opposition. These runs also pull the opposition out of shape creating gaps that we can then exploit and take advantage of. He surprisingly completed the second most successful take-ons last season out of the Leeds United squad as well which is another showcase of his terrific dribbling ability.
Mateusz Klich’s biggest strength is his passing ability and how big a creative influence he is. For Leeds, he created the third most chances with 67 and the second most big chances created with 9 as well as having the second most assists. This shows how key he was to us as he was our second most creative player behind Pablo Hernandez. He wasn’t just good compared to the Leeds squad, he was great compared to the whole league. If you look at image one you’ll see that Klich ranked in the top 20% of Championship midfielders for passes to penalty area per90, Through passes per90 and successful smart passes per90. These stats show us that Klich is excellent at playing a forward pass and not just easy options. He plays some of the most difficult and high scoring passes out of all Championship midfielders as image two below shows us. He is always looking for a pass in between the lines or in behind to create chances
Klich was also our 3rd top goalscorer being only the 3rd Leeds United player to notch double figures with 10 goals. He did take a lot of shots though ranking highly in shots per90 and taking the third most in the squad. However, they were not wasteful as he also was in the top percentile for NPxG (non-penalty expected goals). Klich also took the most shots outside the box out of the Leeds United team which earned him a song and gave us some good memories. He received goal of the season for his spectacular curling effort from twenty yards or thirty yards out against Wednesday. One of the reasons for his goal scoring ability is how good his of the ball movement is. It’s a hard skill for statistics to really show but he always finds himself pockets of space to either turn and shoot or find a good pass. The fact he Ranks in the very top percentile for touches in the opposition box shows that he always has time to take a touch in the box because he puts himself in enough space before he receives the ball.
Klich is not amazing defensively but he presses the opposition very well and is great at picking up second balls which is key to our style as retaining possession and recovering it is essential and he made the second most ball recoveries in the Leeds team with 272. This shows that he is the engine room for Bielsa always churning away in the middle of the pitch, recovering the ball, driving it forward, then playing a killer through ball. He always is progressing the ball and Klich is such a key player to us and is often under appreciated. His sudden turnaround is also another demonstration of how Bielsa is the best coach in the world in terms of improving players and he has unearthed an absolute gem in Klich.
Written by TheYoungPeacock, Thanks for reading.