Do Leeds miss Chris Wood's defensive work this season?

General view of Elland Road before the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds, England.

The former Leeds United striker was not just a goal-scorer.

Chris Wood of Leeds United celebrates scoring his second goal with Kalvin Phillips during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Leeds United at St Andrews (stadium) on...

When Leeds United sold Chris Wood to Burnley in the summer, the Whites were not only losing a proven Championship goal-scorer. They also waved goodbye to a player who did his fair share of work at the opposite end of the field.

The New Zealand international was vital when it came do defending corners and free kicks, regularly getting his head or a foot onto the ball and clearing the danger, before going up the other end and putting it in the opposition net.

Chris Wood and Robert Green of Leeds United claps the fans after the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds,...

Leeds manager Thomas Christiansen replaced Wood with some impressive additions, most notably Pierre-Michel Lasogga. However the loanee has proved far less effective at defending, albeit in just five appearances so far this season.

The same can  be said of Leeds' other attacking options, with Wood's average clearances last season far exceeding those of any of the Whites' current options.

  Effective clearances per gameEffective headed clearances per gameAppearancesMins Played
Chris Wood 1.2 0.86 44 3,625

Last season, Wood averaged 1.2 effective clearances with his feet and 0.86 effective clearances with his head.

Lasogga  gets closest to those figures yet still falls short, while Leeds' other options have plenty of work to do to ensure they are making a valuable contribution not only in the final third.

Leeds manager Thomas Christiansen looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Leeds United at Cardiff City Stadium on September 26, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales.

Leeds still have the majestic Pontus Jansson to call on, while Liam Cooper has upped his game considerably and summer signing Matthew Pennington looks a class act despite a recent injury setback.

But Wood's influence was not just determined by the goals he scored and that is something Christiansen needs to work on in the weeks ahead.

  Effective clearances per gameEffective headed clearances per gameAppearancesMins Played
Pierre-Michel Lasogga 0.8 0.6 5 418
Kemar Roofe 0.7 0.4 10 635
Jay-Roy Grot 0.6 0.6 5 98
Pablo Hernández 0.45 0.09 11 729
Ezgjan Alioski 0.3 0.1 10 737
Samuel Sáiz 0.11 0.11 9 714

Leeds may have had a dip in for in recent games but if they can get a settled back-four, replace Felix Wiedwald with Andy Lonergan and get their attackers doing their fair share of defending, they could still mount a serious assault on the top two between now and May.

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