Leeds look to bounce back, after back-to-back defeats, in tomorrow night’s game against Bristol City. The level of performance has dropped somewhat in the past few weeks, and Garry Monk (along with all of us) will be hoping Leeds can get back on track tomorrow night in what has become a vital game in our season if we are to keep inside the play-off positions.
Garry Monk has a few absentees for the game. Charlie Taylor is still injured and not due back until March. Pontus Jansson missed the game on Saturday through illness, however, he seems to have recovered and should start tomorrow night. And Liam Bridcutt earned a red card late on Saturday, so that’s great.
In my opinion, a Leeds win comes down to these three factors:
Pace, Pace and More Pace
Leeds need to utilise the pace they have in the wide areas: Doukara and Dallas have had a decent run this season, but over the last few weeks Leeds have looked like they need something a little different early on. With all the pace in the squad, we need to employ more pacey wingers tomorrow. Both Sacko and Roofe added something after their introduction on Saturday, and where was Mo Barrow? Use them.
Score in the First Period of the Game
I believe, at this crucial part of the season, teams must adapt their style slightly to push on and achieve in the league. For the majority of games this season, Leeds United’s philosophy has been a solid and organised 1st half display and a more attacking approach in the 2nd half, leading to wins via solid defence and goals generally scored in the second 45 of games.
This strategy might be breaking down as the long, difficult Championship season takes its toll. On Saturday, the team looked tired.
However, if Leeds can put pressure on a team like Bristol from the outset, then Leeds could end up winning this match by a vast margin. We saw on Saturday the lack of goals within the first half (which we dominated) ended up costing us in the second, and we simply can’t afford for that to happen tomorrow evening.
What's Done is Done
We all need to forget about the last few weeks and focus on getting back to winning ways. This group of players has already achieved something most of us thought was unachievable, and I hope they can move on from the difficult period and remember what they have done so far this season.
If they do that, Bristol are in for a very difficult night.
What we know about Bristol City
Since Leeds last played Bristol at the end of September, things have changed at Ashton Gate. Marlon Peck’s goal meant Bristol City rose to fifth in the table after winning 3 games on the bounce. However, after a 1-0 victory at home against Blackburn in mid-October, Bristol started to struggle in the league with their only wins since coming against Ipswich in December and Rotherham earlier this month. They now sit in 20th. Yes, 20th.
Leeds have a decent record against Bristol – only losing twice in the last 10 meetings, winning 7 and drawing 1. The last time Bristol won at Elland Road was 1979. Last ten: L-W-W-W-W-W-W-D-W-L
Leeds United: W-L-W-L-L
Leeds are in a rut at the minute after suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time since the end of August/beginning of September. Then, it was a mid-week victory after these losses that would be the catalyst for a wonderful run. Hopefully, history will repeat itself and Leeds can take the 3 points and push on.
Bristol City: L-L-D-W-D
Bristol City’s form has been very poor after a decent start to the season: they currently reside just outside the relegation zone. However, Bristol have shown signs of improvement and they were unfortunate not to beat Derby last time out after going up 3-0, only to draw 3-3. Leeds will need to be aware of their attacking threat as both Abraham and Taylor can punish teams if given the chance.
Leeds United vs. Bristol City
EFL Championship fixture
Elland Road, Leeds
LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds, International Listings
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
11:45am PT / 2:45pm ET / 7:45pm BT
Leeds United predicted starting XI
Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, O'Kane, Vieira, Roofe, Sacko, Hernandez, Wood
Bristol City predicted starting XI
Giefer, Little, Flint, Wright, Golbourne, Cotterill, Hegeler, Brownhill, Bryan, Taylor, Abraham
3-0 Leeds. It might be the love in the air, but I have a good feeling heading into tomorrow night’s game. I think Leeds will bounce back in real style and win comprehensively, 2 goals from Wood and a 3rd from Cooper (yes, Liam Cooper) after a set-piece late on to fill all our hearts with love on Valentine’s Day. MOT.