Mitchell Waller / @MitchellWaller9
Leeds United come into this Yorkshire derby fixture in fine form: unbeaten in nine league games and five wins on the bounce see the whites at the summit of the table with forty three points after twenty games. Both teams come into the game after a win in their last games, Leeds United rode out winners against Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town by goals courteous of Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez. Hull City’s star man Jarrod Bowen came to the rescue once again providing two more goals to help the tigers secure a 2-1 win.
Last time vs Leeds
Nigel Adkins produced a masterclass in tactics in City’s 2-0 triumph over Leeds last season. Adkins introduced Will Keane into the side. This implementation left the City faithful perplexed, however his tireless ethic aided the side reach a 2-0 win away from home. The game as a whole was an exciting affair with Jarrod Bowen scoring twice to grind Leeds United’s run of seven successive wins to a halt. Nigel Adkins was quoted saying that: “The lads were great. It was a memorable victory. We defended well because we needed to – this is a tough place to come. Our shape was good. Grosicki and Bowen were a massive threat. Our two centre-back were also immense, but the whole team contributed.”
Leeds United boast the accolades of the leagues most watertight side when it comes to keeping the ball out of their own net. After twenty games; nearing the half way stage of the season, the whites have only conceded ten goals, which amounts to 0.5 goals per game. Their solidity at the back whittles down to their well disciplined defensive line captained by Liam Cooper; who also had a spell at Hull as a youngster. Accompanying Liam Cooper in Leeds United back line is young talent Ben White who has played all twenty championship games for the whites this season.
This, in comparison to the tigers defensive efforts is a major contrast. Throughout the twenty games played already this campaign, the Tigers have managed five clean sheets compared to Leeds United’s eight.
Additionally, city have a habit of conceding a handful of goals in some fixtures: a 3-1 home defeat to Bristol city, a 3-2 home defeat to QPR and a 3-0 away defeat to Huddersfield shows the sides vulnerability at the back. In contrast, Leeds United’s greatest defeat this season came as a 2-1 away defeat to Millwall; it should be noted that this is the only occasion where Leeds have conceded more than once in a game all season.
Defensively, Hull City’s Jordy De Wijs has completed the most amount of clearances this season with an impressive 141. Though this suggests City are on the back foot in games, it backs up their lack of errors leading to goals with danger immediately cleared. Ben White on the other hand, has completed 71 clearances which translates towards United’s philosophy of building from the back and playing through the thirds. Kiko Casilla has the most clean sheets in the Championship with an impressive 11, compared to George Longs 5.
City are amongst the leagues highest scoring sides scoring 32 goals so far this campaign; only two other sides better this statistic. Star man Jarrod Bowen has claimed 15 of these goals and will no doubt add more to his tally before the end of the season.
Leeds United on the other hand have managed 30 league goals with striker Patrick Bamford scoring 7. Marcelo Bielsa tends to play on the front foot with a high organised pressing game, they attack at every opportunity and punish space out wide with their full backs pushed high.
United don’t rely on a particular outlet either, with their 30 league goals spread out amongst the squad, it shows that any player for Bielsa’s side are dangerous going forward with match winners popping up all over the pitch.
In contrast, Grant McCann’s philosophy focuses on adapting to the opposition, for example: McCann’s game plan was executed perfectly against Fulham exploiting the wide areas and breaking quickly to secure a 3-0 away win, despite only having 25% of the games possession.
Leeds United are still left without Adam Forshaw, after he suffered a hip injury earlier on in the season. Jamie Shackleton and Tyler Roberts are suspected to return to the Whites in late December after both suffering Muscular injuries previously. Whilst the visitors are still without Jon Toral, Josh Magennis, Kevin Stewart and Norbert Balogh.
Predicted Line Up:
Leeds United: Casilla, Berardi, White, Ayling, Dallas, Klich, Alioski, Hèlder Costa, Hernandez, Harrison, Bamford
Hull City: Long, Lichaj, Burke, De Wijs, Elder, Da Silva, Irvine, Batty, Bowen, Grosicki, Eaves