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0% shot-accuracy; no accurate crosses: Billy Sharp is not the answer out wide for Leeds

Leeds United lost 1-0 to Brentford on Saturday with Billy Sharp having little impact on the left of an attacking-midfield three.

After four matches undefeated and two consecutive victories Leeds United would have headed into their match against Brentford this weekend quietly confident of extending that run.

As it was, the visitors took all three points when Alex Pritchard scored shortly after the hour-mark. But for all Leeds’ frustrations at penalty shouts swiftly waved away and missed opportunities from Billy Sharp, the striker’s inclusion – out of position – played its part in the defeat.

Sharp is a striker who, when played through the middle, can be a considerable threat. Indeed his use as a late impact substitute in recent matches has paid dividends, most notably when he scored the winner against Huddersfield just minutes after coming on.

So why was he played on the left of an attacking midfield three behind loan front-man Steve Morison?

Wide-men dribble, provide crosses and offer a consistent outlet, but as can be seen from the statistics below Sharp’s only real contribution for Leeds from that position was a single key pass.

  Passing AccuracyKey PassesShotsShots on TargetOn-target Shooting AccuracyDribblesAccurate CrossesForward PassMins Played
Billy Sharp 74% 1 3 0 0% 0 0 8 90

Aside from that he failed to get any of his three goal attempts on target while he did not go on a single dribble or provide one accurate cross for his fellow striker.

That is no surprise because Sharp is more used to being up front than supplying for others in that position, and surely the 29-year-old’s performance will force a re-think from Leeds manager Neil Redfearn.

Leeds are not in a position for experimentation. They had a side that was winning in recent weeks and – injuries and suspensions aside – it should have been stuck with, certainly at home where another three points was a distinct possibility.

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