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Match Preview: Leeds United v Burton Albion

Leeds look to keep rolling as September starts

Nottingham Forest v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Match: Leeds United v Burton Albion

Date: 9 September 2017

Time: 15.00 BST

Venue: Elland Road, Leeds

Television: None.

Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)

Streaming: LUTV outside of the UK and Ireland.

All-time Record: Leeds United v Burton Albion: 1W 0D 1L

Saturday’s match against Burton Albion will be the third all-time between the two clubs, with both the previous match-ups taking place last season. And while Leeds United was able to win the first match up, most would like to forget the loss, as it was ultimately the setback that permanently doomed Leeds to miss the playoffs and promotion after the team was flying so high for so much of the season.

A lot has happened since the fateful match in April, most of which has been positive for Leeds. New players, new head coach, and a new owner have all brought a new attitude and a new philosophy to the club. It’s telling that even though last year was perhaps the best season in the Championship for the club after it’s relegation from the Premier League, that the departures from the club, besides Chris Wood, were not met with predictions of doom. Of the players that took the pitch against Burton at kickoff last year, five of them are no longer on the roster from what could have been considered a full-strength side at the time.

Felix Wiedwald has replaced Rob Green as the club’s starting keeper and that’s really for the best, as Wiedwald really is the perfect kind of keeper for Thomas Christiansen’s system. It would have been unthinkable at the beginning of summer to think that Green would be gone, but here we are, Green’s gone and no one really seems to mind.

Besides Wood, the only other departed player that caused any heartburn among Leeds fans was Kyle Bartley. He was seen as a priority to be retained, but between the eye-watering price that Swansea was rumored to be asking plus the current play of the back four, he’s not been missed at all. Oh, and he’s injured as well. Hard luck to him. Liam Cooper will likely partner Pontus Jansson along with Luke Ayling at right back. Against Burton, Christiansen might want to give young Cameron Borthwick-Jackson a run out at left back, as he is the more attacking option, but there is a good possibility that Vurnon Anita plays at left-back as well. The defence of Leeds has been a brick so far this season, and there is little reason to think that it will change tomorrow.

In central midfield, the partnership last year was Kalvin Phillips with Ronaldo Vieira, and while Eunan O’Kane has been preferred this season at central midfield, he skipped out on international duty with the Republic of Ireland due to an injury and isn’t a guarantee to start on Saturday. If he isn’t able to go, look for either Vieira or Mateusz Klich to get the nod, with the defending young player of the year Vieira to be the more likely to start.

On the wings and at the number 10, the trio of Pablo Hernandez, Samu Saiz and Gjanni Alioski look to be firmly entrenched as the starting trio until one of them falls apart or needs a rest. Saiz and Alioski, despite having only played together during preseason and a few matches at Leeds, seem to already seem to have a telepathic link. Those three have made the “loss” of the other wingers and attacking players from last year an afterthought. I wonder, did anyone remember that Souleymane Doukara started on the wing against Burton last April? Doubtful.

Up front, Kemar Roofe should get the chance to be the striker, although Christiansen may wish to see what he’s got in Pierre-Michel Lasogga or Jay-Roy Grot. Expect to see Grot and possibly Pawel Cibicki at some point during the match either way.

Burton struggled last year, and the win against Leeds literally saved them from relegation. This year is likely to be another struggle due to the size of the club and the loss of Jackson Irvine, their best player, to Hull City. Leeds is rolling, and while in years past this might have been a speed-bump game that could have derailed a flying side, this edition of the team seems more focused and, despite a bad half against Newport, does not look like a team that will be allowed to take matches for granted by Christiansen.

Predicted Score:

3-0 Leeds. The team will look to start September the way it left August, scoring goals for fun while shutting down their opponents. Leeds is due for a big home win in the Championship after two nil-nil draws against Preston and Fulham.

Predicted Lineups:

Leeds: (4-2-3-1) Wiedwald; Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Borthwick-Jackson; Vieira, Phillips; Alioski, Saiz, Hernandez; Roofe.

Burton Albion: (4-4-2) Bywater; Naylor, Buxton, Turner, McCrory; Scannell, McFadzean, Murphy, Dyer; Akins, Sordell