Match: Bristol City v Leeds United
Date: 21 October 2017
Time: 15.00 BST, 10.00 EDT
Venue: Ashton Gate
Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)
Streaming: LUTV for overseas fans.
All-time Record: Leeds United v Bristol City: 20W 8D 8L
Leeds United travel to take on Bristol City in a little bit of a crisis, as the team has dropped three matches in a row after starting the season off brightly. And while the Championship is a marathon, not a sprint, it’s still concerning that Leeds have looked completely average after putting on some attacking masterclasses earlier in the season, and even grinding out results even when not playing at their peak.
Guessing what changes are in store have occupied a lot of the time of Leeds fans on Twitter, as fans seek to find solutions to the problems Leeds are currently having. And boy, have there been problems. The team can’t seem to score, and even switching some defenders has not been as successful as most would have hoped.
Bristol City has been a surprise this season, as they struggled last season and were almost relegated. This season, however, they’ve had a good run of form and sit 4th in the table, with 21 points, one point more than Leeds and two spots above Leeds in the table as well. They are, however, coming off of a 0-0 draw against lowly Burton Albion, a team that Leeds blew the doors off of only a few weeks ago. Football is a funny old game, isn’t it?
Re: Lasogga "German striker, who touched the ball 12 times in 77 minutes versus Reading" If true that's shocking, but not surprising. #lufc— Jo Bedford (@LoCo_JoJo) October 17, 2017
Pierre-Michel Lasogga has been isolated the past few matches, unable to get a sniff of the ball. Against Reading FC, the three centrebacks seemed to snuff out any attacks sent his way before they got started. However, it must be said that Lasogga was neutralized rather easily for a striker of his pedigree. While some changes will likely be made in other areas of the squad, unless Lasogga has another poor match, he will likely once again get the start up front. He’s too good to keep down for long.
The attacking midfield and wingers will likely see some change. I’m not sure that Christiansen will abandon the 4-2-3-1 formation, I could see him going to a 4-3-3, but for the purposes of this preview, we’ll assume he’ll go with either one of those.
Samu Saiz was a lone bright spot against Reading, and he’s been great, even if everyone else if the lineup seemed to be terrible against Reading. He’s bound to start no matter what. If Leeds go with the 4-3-3, expect Saiz to be on the left wing, otherwise expect to see Saiz in the more familiar number 10, attacking midfield position.
The wingers will likely be Gjanni Alioski and Stuart Dallas, although that might be bias on the part of me, as I think that Dallas needs to be given a start to freshen up the side. Alioski missed the match against Reading, and the team missed his pace coming down the right hand side. Hadi Sacko provided some pace later in the match, but Alioski could have made a difference early with his ability to strike from distance, not letting the centrebacks collapse on Lasogga so frequently. If a 4-3-3 is used, expect Alioski to play on the right wing.
Neil Redfearn suggests Ronaldo Vieira should start for Leeds https://t.co/c5CnYCIjEn— Whitesforever (@Whitesforever) October 19, 2017
Central midfield is where a change is most likely to been seen. Ronaldo Vieira has to start to give the Leeds midfield some bite. The only question should be if he should start alongside Eunan O’Kane in a two man central midfield, or if he should play behind O’Kane and Kalvin Phillips in a three man central midfield. At this point, I’d be surprised if TC plays them at anything other than a 4-2-3-1, but stranger things have happened.
At the back, Pontus Jansson, despite his claim that’s he’s played “like shit” has been fairly consistent, if not nearly as aggressive as we’re used to seeing him. Partnering him should be Matthew Pennington. Reading didn’t exactly set the world on fire on the attack, despite the goal, and Pennington didn’t look out of place at all during the match. Liam Cooper seemed to play worse once he was called up for Scotland, and either he’s returning to how he’s played throughout his career or this is just a blip in his form this season. Pennington should get the start over Cooper at this point until Pennington does something to warrant his benching.
Luke Ayling will lineup at right back, fresh off signing a new contract for the club. He’s been the most consistent player for Leeds all season, and can make a pretty decent claim to being the best right back in the Championship. At the other fullback position, expect to see a return of Vurnon Anita. Leeds got burned a bunch of times with him playing in the back four, but the team has looked worse with Gaetano Berardi in the lineup. Left back needs to be addressed in the January transfer window, but it’s still October, so you can only play the players on the roster.
At goalkeeper, it was quite a shock to see Felix Wiedwald dropped for Andy Lonergan. And while Lonergan didn’t keep a clean sheet, expect to see Christiansen play the hot hand in goal for another week.
Bristol City 1-1 Leeds United. Leeds get a tough, well fought draw on the road to stop the rot and get a result against another team looking to stay in the playoff places.
Leeds United: (4-2-3-1) Lonergan; Ayling, Jansson, Pennington, Anita; O’Kane, Vieira; Dallas, Saiz, Alioski; Lasogga.
Bristol City: (4-2-3-1) Fielding; Wright, Flint, Baker, Bryan; Leko, Brownhill; Paterson, Reid, Eliasson; Diedhiou