Leeds United will play host to Brentford FC tomorrow afternoon and, after a convincing victory against Reading on Tuesday, Garry Monk and the players will want to carry on the momentum against a Brentford team who have found some consistency of their own by winning their last two games.
Leeds will be without scorer Chris Wood, who picked up a hamstring strain against Reading. The hope is that he will only miss this match before the match at Preston on Boxing Day. Doukara is likely set to lead the line with Marcus Antonsson hoping to return and take his seat among the substitutes.
Eunan O'Kane is still out with a groin injury, so I expect Phillips will return from suspension to start alongside Vieira. Liam Bridcutt played 60 minutes on Tuesday, replacing the injured Wood, but I believe that he may start on the bench as he takes time to return to full-match fitness. The other absentee is Pablo Hernandez, though like Wood, he might be a factor after Christmas Day.
A Leeds win relies on three key points:
Taking control early on
The players have struggled this season to find that early goal and put the pressure on the other team. On Tuesday night, Garry Monk had the Whites come out with attacking intent, and Wood found the net in the 19th minute. Leeds then controlled the remaining 70 minutes through their strong midfield defensive effort. Leeds should focus on doing the same: grabbing an early goal and taking the sting out of Brentford.
Make sure they attempt to pin down Hogan
Scott Hogan has been in terrific form so far this season and has the ability to win the game for Brentford single-handedly. The Salford lad has already bagged 13 league goals this season and Bartsson and Company will need to be at the top of their game to ensure Hogan doesn’t run wild at Elland Road tomorrow afternoon.
Don’t become complacent
Leeds must be aware of the threat Brentford pose and, because of that, they need to ensure they don’t become complacent if they are in the lead. Against Rotherham and Burton, Leeds allowed both sides to grow into the game and the lack of quality in the end product from both teams was Leeds’ saving grace as we picked up the wins.
Brentford’s season has not gone to plan yet. However, Brentford do have quality and can hurt Leeds if they don’t stay focused and determined for the whole 90 minutes. They do sit eight places below 6th place Leeds in the table, but by points, Leeds is closer to Brentford in 14th than Brighton in 2nd, and a loss could see them slide down as far as 10th.
What we know about Brentford
Brentford started this season reasonably well and looked quite strong. However, after a decent August and September, their form started to dip and they only picked up one win in October and November. December also started poorly after they were battered by 5-0 by Norwich at Carrow Road. This seemed to cause a change within the Brentford squad and two consecutive wins later, the win does not seem as guaranteed for Leeds as it did two weeks ago.
Both sides will be feeling like they can take the points on Saturday.
Leeds have won three out of the last five games, including a strong effort and performance on Tuesday night against Reading. Defeats against the top two are the only blip on Leeds’ last 5 outings: L-W-W-L-W.
Brentford haven’t had a great season so far and currently reside 14th in the table with 28 points, 8 wins, 4 draws, and 9 losses. However, two solid wins on the bounce, against Burton Albion and Bristol City respectively, will have given the Bees some confidence: L-L-L-W-W.
In the last six years, Leeds have played Brentford on six occasions. They have failed to beat Brentford in any of these matches. The last time Leeds beat Brentford was back in March 1954. D-D-L-L-D-D.
Leeds United vs. Brentford FC
EFL Championship fixture
Elland Road, Leeds
beIN Sports, LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds, International Listings
Saturday, December 17, 2016
07:00am PT / 10:00am ET / 3:00pm BT
Leeds United predicted starting XI
Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, Phillips, Vieira, Sacko, Dallas, Roofe, Doukara
Brentford predicted starting XI
Bentley, Egan, Dean, Bjelland, Colin, Woods, McEachran, Field, Vibe, Hogan, Sawyers
3-1 Leeds. The home form so far this season has been one of the major factors in our chase for promotion. I believe Saturday will be another solid home victory: I think Leeds will start brightly and score twice early on. Brentford will get a goal back before the break but Leeds will come out in the 2nd half to dictate the game and score a third in the final 10 minutes and seal the victory.