Inside the Analysis Department at Leeds United

By Duncan Ritchie

01-July-2021 on Users

6 minute read

Since arriving at Leeds United, Marcelo Bielsa proved to be a revelation at Elland Road. Leading the Yorkshiremen from the 1st division to the Premier League in his first season and then taking them to a respectable 9th place on their return to the top flight, Bielsa seems to be a perfect complement to work that has been done at Leeds over the years, both on the pitch and in the backroom.

Anyone who has taken any interest in the Argentine coach’s career will know the importance of video analysis to Bielsa, both of his own team and their opponents. It’s a well known fact that, before taking charge of a new team, Bielsa watches each and every game that his new club played in the previous season...sometimes twice!


An Analysis Department with a Spanish Accent


When thinking about Leeds United, it’s understandable if the image that comes to mind is that of Bielsa, but there are many more people behind him at Elland Road. Let’s start with Victor Orta, Sports Director since 2017 and the man who engineered Bielsa’s move to Yorkshire. With a mind that is constantly thinking about football and analysis, Orta shares many of Marcelo’s passion for football and analysis.


willy alonso video analysis leeds united


It was Victor Orta who decided that the video analysis work done at Leeds should play a more prominent role. As such he incorporated Willy Alonso, an experienced Spanish analyst, as the Head of Analysis.


Under Orta, Willy Alonso was responsible for the development of the Analysis Department and, today, there are four permanent members of the team, himself, two other Spaniards and an Englishman.


Additionally, several members of Bielsa’s coaching staff carry out video analysis work, although they aren’t part of the Video Analysis Department.


How the Department Works


Time is money, and effective organisation is key in the day-to-day running of the Analysis Department at Leeds United, especially when there are two games per week and the analysis time is cut in half.


video analysis presentations at leeds united


For opposition analysis, five games per team is the minimum in terms of analysis, but, as Willy Alonso explains, this very much depends on the time and human resources available. Five games may be the absolute minimum but, generally speaking, more is better.


“The more match data you have, the more behavioural patterns you can identify in the opposition”, says Alonso. Because of this, they try to analyse as many games as possible for each opponent, regardless of the competition.


The person in charge of delivering reports from the Analysis Department to the coaching staff is Alonso himself. These reports contain a compilation of the characteristics of the opposition that are of interest to the coaches.


video analysis with Nacsport at leeds united


Meticulous Post-Match Reports


Matches are analysed live in real time with two computers set up to capture the images. Although the analysis is not used by the coaching staff throughout the game, as soon as the match ends they are handed a report which contains an analysis of the game. 


This post-match report is carried out following guidelines set out by the coaching staff and, according to the importance that Bielsa places on video analysis, they are especially thorough. Within these reports, the analysts make appraisals which will serve to guide the players individually and as a collective team.


Perfecting Team Coordination


All the video analysis work is carried out in a coordinated structure between the Analysis Department and coaching staff and, usually, works on the premise of one game per week.




The structure was developed by Willy Alonso himself when he arrived at the club and is carefully reviewed after each season in conjunction with the coaching staff.


“The objective is that, if we leave the club, we have a structure for the analysis in place as a legacy for those that come after”, explains Alonso.


Well Deserved Success


Getting inside the workings of Leeds United, it’s easy to conclude that their success over the last few seasons has been no coincidence.


Since the creation of the Analysis Department and the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa on the bench, the Yorkshire club has gone from strength to strength. In the first season, they came within touching distance of promotion, in the second, the emphatically achieved this goal and, in the third, they climbed to ninth place in the Premier, a feat virtually unheard of for newly promoted teams.


Without a doubt, video analysis works at Leeds and we wish them all the best in the coming seasons.



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