I’m the kind of person who loves data. From trend analysis, deriving insights and trying to substantiate wild claims with statistical evidence. As a result I have a spreadsheet of Leeds managers and their respective performance in that role – covering the number of games played, games won, lost and drawn, goals scored and goals conceded. From this I can ascertain win ratios, points-per-game metrics, average goals scored/conceded and useful things like that. It’s not been a happy bit of reading since Cellino took over, but Garry Monk has bucked the trend and created some interesting figures that are worth discussing.
Now, we tend to discount short-stint managers and caretakers because they become statistical outliers – after all, a man who takes control for only 7 games and wins just once (Clough) will have a terrible win ratio and unfairly look like the worst performer, but under Cellino’s reign we’ve had to go against this rule as otherwise we’d be discounting 3 entire people (as Hockaday, Milanic and Rosler combined managed less – 23 games – than any coach since Peter Reid who managed 22).
The reality is, Leeds haven’t been successful for a long time and you need to revisit Grayson’s era for not only a manager who broke the 100 game mark, but had a win percentage over 40%. Warnock, McDermott, Hockaday, Milanic, Redfearn, Rosler and Evans all limboed beneath this magic number. Larry, on the other hand, was sitting high and proud at 49.7% (albeit including a number of seasons in League One where you could argue the competition is weaker).
Monk, however, has created a Leeds United that we’re excited to watch and one that is firmly built on a robust defensive policy. We’ve not been a free-scoring weapon of mass destruction, but a more targeted and considered scalpel. We haven’t been routinely destroying sides 3-4-5 to nothing, but tight 1-0 and 2-0 games where clean sheets have mattered as much as goals scored. And here’s where the first interesting statistic comes in:
Monk’s Leeds have the second lowest goals conceded per game (0.98) bettered only by Don Revie’s record (0.95)
That is quite a factoid. Conceding only 39 goals across 41 league games and enjoying many clean sheets in the process, it’s clear that the strong performance of Monk’s squad is built on the bedrock of a solid defence. This is further exemplified by the respectively lower goal-scoring record (albeit one better than many predecessors).
Monk’s Leeds have averaged 1.31 goals scored per game, which is higher than every post-Grayson attempts (who managed 1.53). It’s a good record, but it’s not remarkable in that sense, it’s the defensive performances that have made the biggest difference.
In points-per-game terms, Monk is up there with the best too (though this data counts cup games in the points total, so be wary the real numbers may be slightly higher/lower), with 1.73 PPG. Only Grayson managed the same and Revie managed more. So again, as a factoid:
Only Don Revie has a higher points-per-game score than Garry Monk
Moving towards win ratios we see another area in which Monk’s Leeds are scoring very highly. With a 52.08% win rate that again puts Garry second to only Don Revie. In fact, few have even broken the 50% mark, with only Gary McAllister and Don Revie the other names on that list (discounting coaches who didn’t handle more than 10 games). So again, this factoid comes out:
Garry Monk’s win ratio is second only to Don Revie
And while the season isn’t over, you really have to consider the excellent job that Monk has done this season. Even if we lost our remaining few games, he would statistically be higher than most of his peers. When you consider how poor his start at the club was (as it took a number of games before he found the courage to stick to his tactical guns and field the formation and system he wanted to use), it makes it all the more impressive.
Consider that prior to Monk’s reign, Leeds had only recently been celebrating ending an 8-month winless run at Elland Road. Fast forward a few months and we’d be celebrating the third best record at home in the Championship. What an incredible job Monk, Pep, Beattie and co. have all done with this squad. Wherever the remaining games take us and whatever happens, the data attached to this season is quite remarkable. Especially considering where we were beforehand.
Note: As mentioned in the article, the data covers all games (domestic, European, cups and leagues). When calculating metrics such as points-per-game, this is done across the entire fixture-list rather than just games where league points were being earned. This may distort the figures very slightly.