This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Leeds United beat Reading 1-0 on Tuesday evening, and while it wasn’t the most convincing performance of the Whites’ season so far, one man put in one of his best performances of the campaign up until this point.
Leeds were tested at the Madejski Stadium, and in previous weeks the Whites may not have kept a clean sheet and won this game, but Cooper’s return from injury allowed the Yorkshire outfit to put on such a strong defensive performance.
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The Scotland international has struggled with injuries in recent weeks, but the defender seemingly hasn’t missed a trick during his time on the sidelines.
Bielsa’s one and only change on Tuesday was to bring in his captain in place of Gaetano Berardi, and it quite clearly paid off.
He won more aerial duels than any other United player, while also bossing the tackling, interception and clearance statistics.
All in all, it was a ridiculously good performance from the centre-back as he didn’t just perform brilliantly in one aspect of defending, but he was superb in almost every way you could want a defender to be.
The centre-back is hugely missed by the team when he’s out of the squad, and this performance showed that Cooper has to be one of the first names on the teamsheet whenever he’s available.
Meanwhile, one Sky pundit has delivered a verdict that may mean news for many Leeds fans.