Match: Leeds United v Millwall
Date: 20 January 2018
Time: 15.00 GMT, 10.00 AM EST
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds
Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)
All-time Record: Leeds United v Millwall 15W 4D 16L
Reverse Fixture: Millwall 1 - 0 Leeds United
Leeds United host Millwall at Elland Road on Saturday, with a Leeds club that is need of a good win hosting a Millwall team that hasn’t won at Elland Road since 2010 when both clubs were in League One.
Leeds have chosen this fixture against Millwall to feature the “Kick It Out” anti-racism campaign, which, let’s be honest, is a brilliant bit of trolling. Millwall fans have earned a rather notorious reputation, and if you’re going to chose any fixture on the schedule to highlight anti-racism, it might as well be this one.
Leeds suffered its first loss of the season in the reverse fixture against Millwall, and the poor result in South London was the start of a bad stretch of form that sent Leeds tumbling down the table. A good result against Millwall would do well to exercise those demons as well as set a tone for the rest of the season.
Against Leeds, Millwall spent most of the match launching crosses into the box that Leeds failed to deal with very well, and Vurnon Anita looked very poor at left back. TC took Alioski and Hernandez off the pitch at halftime, replacing them with Stuart Dallas and Kemar Roofe in an attempt to get a couple players that could deal with the physicality of the Millwall players and provide cover for the fullbacks, who were getting overwhelmed. The changes didn’t work quite as well as TC would have hoped, and Leeds surrendered a late goal as Millwall was the better side in the match.
| New Kid On De Bock, as Laurens joins in with training this week... pic.twitter.com/RjlBcFI8Em— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 18, 2018
A couple new signings for Leeds should feature against Millwall, as Laurens De Bock, the left back from Club Brugge, and midfielder Adam Forshaw from Middlesbrough. Leeds have also sent Cameron Borthwick-Jackson back to Manchester United, to no one’s surprise.
At striker, Kemar Roofe will likely start up front, unless Christiansen decides that Pierre-Michel Lasogga should go in against a more physical team. Roofe has been a decent option up front this season, although he hasn’t been as consistent as you’d like from a first-choice striker. Lasogga has a better chance against the central defenders of Millwall, but the question with Lasogga is always his fitness and dedication.
Pablo Hernandez will start at the number 10 position with Samu Saiz still suspended. Stuart Dallas will likely get a chance to start after finally returning to fitness following his injury while on duty for Northern Ireland in the World Cup playoffs. Gjanni Alioski will likely also get the start, although Pawel Cibicki might still have a chance to get into the side.
Adam Forshaw, the new arrival from Boro, will likely get a chance to start at central midfield with Ronaldo Vieira looks to possibly still be recovering from an injury. Kalvin Phillips will probably pair Forshaw in the middle, with Vieira possibly getting a chance to come off the bench in the second half.
In defence, Laurens De Bock will likely make his Leeds debut against Millwall, and if he’s as an experienced defender as the he’s been billed, he should be able to handle the attack from Millwall’s McLaughlin and Wallace, who made mincemeat of Anita in the reverse fixture.
The loss of Ayling is a tough pill to swallow, but at least Gaetano Berardi will be able to switch back to playing at his preferred position at right back. Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper will almost certainly get the start at central defence.
Leeds have a few new faces in the side and they are absolutely in positions of need, with the club hopefully finally finding a replacement for Charlie Taylor at left back and with Eunan O’Kane suspended after his mindless red card against Ipswich Town and questions surrounding Ronaldo Vieira’s fitness meaning that Forshaw will likely be needed in the middle of the pitch as well. If the club can ignore the physical aspect of the play of Millwall, and the defence can deal with the aerial threat of Millwall’s forwards, Leeds have a very good chance to pick up three points at home and get back into the playoff picture. 2-0 Leeds.
Leeds United: (4-2-3-1) Wieldwald; Berardi, Cooper, Jansson, De Bock; Forshaw, Phillips; Dallas, Hernandez, Alioski; Roofe
Millwall: (4-4-2) Archer; McLaughlin, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; Tunnicliffe, Williams, Saville, Wallace; Morison, Gregory