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Leeds United v Nottingham Forest: Match Preview, How to Watch, & Streaming Information

Forest come to Elland Road in a spot of bother

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

Match: Leeds United v Nottingham Forest

Date: 1 January 2018

Time: 15.00 GMT, 10.00 EDT

Venue: Elland Road, Leeds

Television: Sky Sports Football, BeIN Sports 2 Australia, Fox Sports 1 Africa

Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)

Streaming: WatchESPN.com in the United States, Foxtel Now & beIN Sports Connect in Australia, DAZN Canada

All-time Record: Leeds United v Nottingham Forest: 31W 32D 33L

Reverse Fixture: Nottingham Forest 0 - 2 Leeds United

Leeds United host Nottingham Forest for their first match of 2018, as Forest travel north to visit West Yorkshire in a bit of disarray. Mark Warburton, who was hired at Nottingham Forest in a rather strange way last season, was sacked New Year’s Eve. Some Forest fans were feeling a little underwhelmed by the club’s performance over the season, as despite the new ownership at the City Ground, and some new investment, the team sits 14th in the table, 10 points away from the playoff places and nine places away from the relegation spots.

Forest have one win in their last five, and their loss last Saturday at home to Sunderland seemed to be last straw for the former Rangers FC manager Warburton. Forest had a bulk of the possession and had 22 (!) shots to Sunderland’s one shot, but that one shot was enough to give Sunderland the 1-0 win over Forest at the City Ground. The new owner of Nottingham Forest, Evangelos Marinakis, reportedly has a replacement lined up, with former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka currently the “favourite” to replace Warburton.

Gary Brazil has (again) taken up the reigns at Nottingham Forest on a temporary basis. I would imagine that he’s not going to make any drastic changes to the lineup today, but since the club is (obviously) looking for a change, some of the players in the lineup might change a little bit.

This match isn’t a “must win” for Leeds, as almost no game in a 46 match season is a “must win,” but Leeds needs to at least look alive during today’s game. Leeds dropped points against a very poor Birmingham City side, and leaving aside the goal of reaching the top two and automatic promotion for a second, Leeds need to collect points in order to maintain their position in the play-off places and a good rebound from a bad loss is always the best way to put a poor performance behind a team. The team has the second best number of points in the last five games with 12, only trailing Derby County’s 13, so while the loss at bottom of the table Birmingham is not good, it’s not the end of the world.

As for Leeds, after the flat and lifeless performance against Birmingham City on Saturday, you would assume that some changes will likely be made to the starting XI today. Leeds head coach Thomas Christiansen often seems loathe to rotate very much, as the only time he’s seemed to have any drastic changes that wasn’t necessitated by injury was the match away at Cardiff City. That bad loss was part of the slide that sent Leeds tumbling down the table and seems to have “spooked” Christiansen into not making too many changes to the side for league games.

At the very least, Pierre-Michel needs to be recalled for this match. If Lasogga is going to take part in the rest of the season, he has to be involved in this match. Kemar Roofe has run his socks off the past month or so, and it’s time for him to get a rest. Roofe was on an island and barely touched the ball against Birmingham. And while part of his isolation was because of the lack of service from the midfield, Roofe might be better served as a change of pace from the bench rather than leading the line this match.

Samu Saiz got a little less than a half to work with against Birmingham, and it was startling to see just how much more threatening Leeds looked with the Spaniard on the pitch than when he was on the bench. His introduction sparked some life into a match that sorely needed it. I can’t imagine he’ll be on the bench again. Along with Saiz, I would imagine the wingers will be Pablo Hernandez and Pawel Cibicki, as Gjanni Alioski looked like he desperately needs a match off. Of course, Hernandez did as well. Will Hadi Sacko get a run out at winger? Will Roofe fill in out at wing? I have absolutely no idea. I’d like to think that perhaps Cibicki will get another run out, if for no other reason than he’s still pretty fresh after spending most of the season on the bench. Maybe Sacko will get a chance?

Central midfield will likely be Kalvin Phillips with either Mateusz Klich or Vurnon Anita. I’d like to see Anita given the whole match in midfield, because at this point, I don’t see Klich as part of the squad going forward. Perhaps he does get the start in the middle of the pitch. If Klich does get a chance and he doesn’t play well enough to get any playing time going forward, he has only himself to blame, as TC seems to reward in-game performances with playing time. Cibicki was more or less forgotten about until the Queens Park Ranger match, and his performance has seen him inserted into the starting lineup. Klich’s last time starting was the bad loss against Cardiff, and while there were many poor performances that night, Klich’s turnover that led to a goal stood out. Here’s hoping that if he is included that he does well enough to at least get into the discussion again, with both Eunan O’Kane and Ronaldo Vieira looking like they’ll miss out against Forest. O’Kane looks to have a better chance of featuring than Vieira, so the Republic of Ireland international might end of featuring alongside Phillips.

In defence, I guess if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right? Luke Ayling, Gaetano Berardi, Pontus Jansson, and Liam Cooper have been picked as the back four since Berardi came back from suspension for his red card against Bristol City. Will Vurnon Anita get a run out at and give one of them a break? Could Matthew Pennington or even Conor Shaughnessy get time at CB? I’d be shocked to see anything else than the regular four start at the back for the club in any league match the rest of the year, barring any new arrivals. The defence seems to work best as a team, and I’ve always believed that central defenders work best when they form a solid partnership.

Between the sticks, I can’t see Felix Wiedwald getting dropped at this point. Andy Lonergan didn’t inspire the club to any heights when he was brought in, and bringing back Wiedwald has pretty much worked out to this point, despite the big German getting some criticism for only being able to parry Jota’s shot against Birmingham. While you would have liked him to grab that ball, Jota did get a pretty good shot off, and he’s a pretty good player. Maghoma was also all alone in the box without a single Leeds player near him as well, so it’s not all on the goalie on that rebound either. Anyway, Wiedwald is pretty much the guy from now on, and I really doubt the club will bring anyone in during January at this point.

Predicted Score:

Leeds will be looking to rebound against a team that they took to the cleaners earlier in the season. Forest aren’t as physical as Birmingham City, and the club is in disarray after Warburton’s sacking. It’s always good to get after a team when they are in a bit of a downturn, and with Forest only having one win in five matches, this is a good time to get past them before their new manager takes charge and get a “new manager bounce.” 2-0 Leeds.

Predicted Lineups:

Leeds United: (4-2-3-1) Wiedwald; Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Berardi; Phillips, Klich; Hernandez, Saiz, Cibicki; Lasogga

Nottingham Forest: (4-2-3-1) Smith; Lichaj, Hobbs, Mancienne, Traore; Bridcutt, Bouchalakis; McKay, Dowell, Clough; Walker