He stepped up and planted the freekick in the top corner past the outstretched Sven Ulreich. The Bundesliga holders were humbled by Bayer Leverkusen. And it was a timely reminder to everyone who had forgotten the ability certain Jamaican donning the Leverkusen No.9.
A topsy-turvy 2018-19 season
Leon Bailey, after an impressive 2017-18 Bundesliga season, was riding through a rough storm. The new season didn’t go to plan for both Bailey and his team. Leverkusen struggled to create chances and find the back of the net despite boasting the likes of Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt, Kevin Volland, Karim Bellarabi and Leon Bailey himself. Der Werkslef were shipping in goals while carrying a disjointed attack and slumped to 9th in the table.
The wheels ultimately come off for the Herrlich-led side and the reigns were handed over to Peter Bosz. The Dutchman immediately binned Herrlich’s 4-2-3-1 and set his team up in a 4-3-3. With time, the attack started to flourish and Bayer Leverkusen finished in the Champions League places.
Leon Bailey -Player Analysis
A season ago Leon Bailey had been among the most talked-about players. But 34 games later, his value had dropped massively. Let’s look a the numbers to get a clearer picture.
Despite the clear drop off in the goals and assist numbers, the situation is not as pale as it looks. An xG of 5.09 and an xA of 4.09 (as per Understat) reveals that Bailey might have been a little unlucky.
The one downside to his game is the tendency to shoot from distance. Around 47% of Leon Bailey’s shots have come from outside the box. In comparison, Raheen Sterling takes scanty 27%. This problem can easily be coached out of Bailey’s game by Peter Bosz.
Experienced head on young shoulders
Leon Bailey is surprisingly thoughtful for someone of his age. In an age where players are quick to jump at a chance to join top clubs, he decided to join Genk and hon his talent.
“Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus, were all clubs that my name had then been linked with, contacted by. Everyone wanted me, but not everyone could get the paperwork in order. I did it (joining Genk) for my development, not the biggest club. I have to play at my age and progress.”
He picked a sensible option again in 2017 when the likes of Manchester United were circling. This is a clear indication that the youngster believes in his abilities and is willing to ready himself for the big stage. He might not be there yet but he isn’t that far away either.
Leon Bailey’s unimpressive season has dragged him out of the limelight for a while. If the youngster can get his head down and work towards minimizing his flaws, he’d be back in business. With age on his size and bags of potential in his locker, there is no reason why Leon Bailey wouldn’t end up amongst the European elite in a few years.