When Liam Cooper headed home Barry Douglas’ corner for Leeds United at the weekend there was a clear and audible relief around Elland Road. Not only had the Whites gone 3-1 up against preseason title favourites Stoke City, they had managed to score from a corner-kick. Leeds inability to score from set-pieces has long been a running joke among the Whites faithful.
They were not much better at defending them, as these stats from April showed:
Leeds have now conceded a whopping 42% of their goals originating from dead-ball situations (including throw-ins) across all competitions this season (27/64).
— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) April 3, 2018
The fact Leeds could not defend or attack set-pieces with any credibility was all the more surprising, considering their appointment in October last year.
Former Fiorentina, AC Milan and Brentford man Gianni Vio arrived in 2017. Whilst better regarded as an attacking set-piece specialist he has also been working with the club defensively – as reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
This summer, Vio quietly departed, with Leeds fans none the wiser to what impact he made at the club.
Now he has popped up back in Italy. As reported by Lo Spallino, Vio has taken up a role at Italian Serie A outfit SPAL.
A former fan favourite at Leeds, Mirco Antenucci, will now be hoping to benefit from the appointment. The 33-year-old is the club’s captain and main goalscorer.
Judging by the result of Leeds’ set-pieces at the weekend, they are already better off without the so-called specialist.