Match: Barnsley FC v Leeds United
Date: 25 November 2017
Time: 12.30 GMT, 7.30 EST
Television: Sky Sports
Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)
Streaming: WatchESPN.com in the United States, check your local EFL rights holder for more information. We will also post a “How To Watch” post about two hours before the match as well.
All-time Record: Leeds United v Barnsley 23W 17D 20L
Leeds United, for what is getting all too common an occurrence, look to rebound after a loss by getting a good result in a Yorkshire derby. And once again, Leeds look to put their troubles behind them after a bad loss on the road, where they have been less than successful this season.
Leeds has also already lost two Yorkshire derbies this season, losing at Hillsborough to Sheffield Wednesday and at home to Sheffield United. And while position in the table may currently favour Leeds, Barnsley have only lost one in their last five matches while Leeds have only one win in their last five matches. Leeds lost last January in their trip to Oakwell, and have not fared very well against their Yorkshire neighbours in the recent past.
Barnsley are only six points behind Leeds in the table and they will be looking to climb even further up the table. Barnsley’s manager, Paul Heckingbottom, was heavily linked with a move to Sunderland recently until the Wearside club named former Wales boss Chris Coleman as manager. The owner of Barnsley, Patrick Cryne, is terminally ill with cancer and had to step away from the day-to-day operations of running the club last year, and told recently told supporters that he fears he won’t live to see the end of the season. Cancer truly knows no colours, and we wish both him and the club the best. Due to his ill health, Cryne is selling the club. An agreement with a consortium that features American Billy Beane, of Moneyball fame, and Chinese billionaire Chien Lee is currently in the works.
Leeds played the exact same lineup two matches in a row for what felt like the entire season so far this week, with extremely different results. And while the club did fight back to grab a goal against Wolverhampton, the sending-off of Ronaldo Vieira turned the match in to a rout.
Vieira now serves a one-match ban at Barnsley. Christiansen didn't want to discuss Lasogga's fitness. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) November 22, 2017
Up front, the status of Pierre-Michel Lasogga remains murky, with rumours out of Germany whispering that his “illness” is him falling out with the manager, and Thomas Christiansen’s refusal to discuss his fitness will only add fuel to the fire. Look for Kemar Roofe to once again get the start as the lone striker, although Caleb Ekuban might be preferred if Roofe needs to be rested.
In the attacking midfield, we might, finally, see a recall given to Stuart Dallas, as the winger came on in the second half against Wolves, and his form was much better than Pablo Hernandez. Jack Robshaw, one third of the Mighty Whites Podcast and one of the writers here at TIAT, said at the beginning of the year that he wouldn’t play Hernandez away from home this season, and despite a few good performances, the League Cup matches against Leicester City and Burnley coming to mind, Hernandez largely has been a passenger away from home, especially if he’s not been given a full week’s rest. While TC usually is good for a couple surprises, Dallas coming in for Hernandez on the left wing makes too much sense for it not to happen.
Superb goal by #Alioski to get one back for #lufc— Dean Raymond (@deanoooh) November 22, 2017
Reminds me of the #Platt #England goal against Belgium...but #Ezijans is better #MOT pic.twitter.com/shsiL3tidQ
As for the other winger position, look for Gjanni Alioski to get the start. He was a difference maker against Middlesbrough and while he didn’t look that great for large amounts of the Wolves match, he did score the only goal for Leeds, and to be quite honest, most of the team looked like crap during the match.
Samu Saiz will likely get the start at the attacking midfield “number 10” role, if for no other reason that he’s the best player at Leeds right now and it would take something very dramatic for him to not get the start.
Vieira, who is on 4 cautions, will miss the trip to Barnsley due to 1 match ban after his red last night . By the Villa game on Dec 1 he will have passed the deadline of Nov 30 to receive a further 1 match ban should he pick up a fifth yellow card. Saiz is on 4 cautions. #lufc— Adam Pope (@APOPEY) November 23, 2017
In central midfield, with the red-card shown to Vieira last match, the central midfield pairing is likely going to be Eunan O’Kane and Kalvin Phillips again, as Mateusz Klich has not done enough to justify his place the lineup. Vurnon Anita has spent most of his career as a midfielder, but he has been used only as a fullback by the club, so don’t expect him to be in frame for a position in the central midfield.
Speaking of fullbacks, Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi will both likely get the start against Barnsley. Ayling has played an incredible amount of football this year, as he’s played in every single match for Leeds this season, but without a good replacement, he looks to once again take up on the right side of defence. Berardi could be replaced by Anita, but as poor as Berardi looked last match, Anita has also struggled. With Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s fitness still a question, look for Berardi to once again get the start.
In central defence, Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson will likely start. If Leeds are going to get better defensively this season, a more consistent partnership in central defence needs to be determined, and despite Matthew Pennington’s talent, Cooper and Jansson look to have the best partnership right now, even if it’s a toss-up in terms of ability between Pennington and Cooper.
Between the sticks, looks for Andy Lonergan to once again get the start. Felix Wiedwald didn’t exactly do himself any favours in the match against Leicester City when he was recalled for the League Cup match, and even if Lonergan looked shaky against Wolves, if TC didn’t drop him after the Bentford match, he’s probably not going to drop him after the Wolves match.
Despite all evidence of this team’s inability to get a result away from home in a hostile environment, I still think that Leeds can pull this out. While sacking TC would still be a dumb move at this point, at some point the players have to be playing for their places in the squad. The January transfer window is just around the corner and the silly season rumour mill is already starting to heat up. Victor Orta will have some money from the Chris Wood sale burning a hole in his pocket, and while certain players like Saiz, Ayling, and maybe Jansson should be comfortable in their starting role, no one else should be. Winning away from home in a derby match would do wonders to keep TC’s faith in the players that are currently at the club, and the players need to be motivated beyond their normal desire to win. Leeds 2-1 over Barnsley in a match where Leeds will get ahead, make a dumb mistake in the second half and everyone will get heartburn waiting out the match.
Leeds United: (4-2-3-1) Lonergan; Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Berardi; O’Kane, Phillips; Dallas, Saiz, Alioski; Roofe
Barnsley FC: (4-1-4-1) Davies; Fryers, Lindsay, MacDonald, Yiadom; Williams; Barnes, Potts, Moncur, Hammill; Thiam