Are you all ready for some football? After a long summer, it’s time for Leeds United to start their 2016/17 campaign. And the first victim of the season is Queens Park Rangers, they just don’t know it yet.
Before we look ahead to Sunday and our trip to London, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t remind you all of the great work the Through It All Together family have done previewing the new season.
If you missed the TIAT staff making predictions (and possibly outlandish) headlines for the upcoming season, you should check this out. If you missed me trying to define what a successful season might look like at Elland Road, it’s your lucky day. If you missed the obligatory analysis of Massimo Cellino’s stewardship, we have you covered here, here and here. And finally, if you need any excuse to get excited about the upcoming season, I present you with the best Pablo Hernandez hype video / rave anthem on the internet. Aren’t we nice to to you all!
Now that I’ve returned the rave pants and glow sticks to the basement, please dont judge, it’s back to my overwhelming thought: let’s football!!!!
The trip to London offers us all the opportunity to start fresh and dream with clear eyes about what a new season can bring. But we cannot get ahead of ourselves, QPR is the first challenge and a good start to the season could be the boost we need to launch a promotion bid. Here are two quick questions ahead of Sunday’s big game.
New faces and new hope?
You all know the names by now - Kemar Roofe, Marcus Antonsson, Robert Green, Matt Grimes, Kyle Bartley, Hadi Sacko and Pablo Hernandez - these are the new additions to the Leeds United squad. But how many will play this weekend?
Every name on that list played minutes in United’s final warm up game against Atalanta, besides Hernandez of course who was only acquired this week. It seems like Garry Monk is ready to trust his new talent over what Steve Evans left behind. Expect plenty of new faces early on this season.
What to expect from Charlie Taylor?
Say what you want about Taylor handing in a transfer request, but he cannot feel good knowing the entire world is now aware of his desire to further his career.
With the club denying his request, hopefully Taylor can put this incident behind him and continue on from where he left off last year. For his part, Monk told BBC radio that he fully understands Taylor’s mindset, but expects him to remain focused on playing for Leeds United.
It’s the first week of the season so take this all with a massive pinch of salt, but both clubs look to be in good form heading into opening day.
Last time they met
The two clubs played out a 1-1 draw at Elland Road back in April. In what was a systematic performance, United held a late lead thanks to my favourite Kiwi Chris Wood, but threw away three points with defending which must be seen to be believed.
Want the performance summed up in a sentence? I just cannot go past the wise words from our Matt Robinson, who used the following to sum things up.
So close to earning a victory at home, until the error-prone back four give it away once again. Heard that story before? So have we.
Garry Monk, we need a hero!
Leeds United player to watch
Speaking of Monk, he is my player to watch this weekend. Yes, I am cheating by selecting the new gaffer, but he is the most interesting variable. There are just so many questions I want answered.
What formation will he adopt? How will he use Roofe? How does he maximise the skills of Hernandez? How will he cover for the loss of Lewis Cook? Can Wood and Antonsson play together? Who will start in defence?
All of my questions won’t be answered in 90 minutes of football, but the first game of the Monk era should reveal plenty.
QPR player to watch
Massimo Luongo. Luongo is a 23-year-old playmaking midfielder who is coming off the best year of his young career. He featured 33 times for QPR last season and has developed is a vital part of Rangers’ midfield. Oh, and hey, he is from Australia so that makes him awesome at everything. Not that I’m biased at all.
Like our Lewis Cook, he will not be at this level much longer. Plus, he is living proof somebody with the name Massimo can do great things.
QPR v. Leeds United
Football League Championship
Loftus Road, London
Sky Sports 1, BeIN Sports, BBC Radio Leeds, LUTV
Sunday, August 7, 2016
4:00am PT / 7:00am ET / 12:00pm BT
Leeds United's probable lineup
Green, Perico, Bartley, Bamba, Taylor, Diagouraga, Vieira, Mowatt, Dallas, Roofe, Wood.
Queens Park Rangers’s probable lineup
Smithies, Bidwell, Hall, Onuoha, Cousins, Chery, Gladwin, Polter, Shodipo, Luongo, Caulker.
1-0 Leeds. I’ll be honest and put my cards on the table, I have no idea what to expect on Sunday. It’s the opening game of the season, which means madness will likely ensue.
Part of me that thinks the expectations on Monk and his newly revamped squad will prove too large during the season’s first month. But I have four lovely words to counteract that theory: Robert Green revenge game.
The former QPR shot stopper returns to London and stonewalls Rangers as United take all three points. That’s my first prediction of the new season, and knowing Leeds like I do, it will probably end up being my first mistake of the season too.
Yep, this is a likely a mistake but I’m going to make it anyway because the only way to know it’s a mistake is to make it. Leeds have officially driven me insane!
At least there is now reason to hope. Thanks for reading and enjoy having this dyslexic football club back in our lives every weekend. #MOT.