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Leeds United v Wolverhampton: Match Preview and How to Watch

Leeds looked like garbage against Boro and now Wolves come to town. What could go wrong?

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

Match: Leeds United v Wolverhampton

Date: 7 March 2018

Time: 19.45 GMT, 2.45 PM EST

Venue: Elland Road

Television: Sky Sports Football, beIN Sports 2 Australia, beIN Sports 2 New Zealand, beIN Sports Arabia 13 in most of the Middle East, SkyHD in Mexico and SportsMax in most of the Caribbean.

Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)

Streaming: WatchESPN.com in the United States, DAZN in Canada and much of Europe, beIN Sports Connect in New Zealand, beIN Sports Connect Arabia. LUTV will also be streaming in some places in the world. Check Livesoccertv for listings where you live

All-time Record: Leeds United v Wolverhampton 42W 22D 32L

Reverse Fixture: Wolverhampton 4 - 1 Leeds United

It appears that just as Leeds United have finally laid to rest any chance to make the play-offs this season, after the bad loss away at Middlesbrough, Wolverhampton come to town. Wolves have been transformed this season, having gone from a relegation candidate last season to champions-elect in this season after the owners of Wolves made a deal with super agent Jorge Mendes and an influx of expensive, experienced talent made its way to Molineux during the summer transfer window.

Despite some question marks about the strategy or about how the whole arrangement complied with FFP rules, everything appears to be kosher in the eyes of the EFL, and so Wolverhampton have been marching on towards promotion. Meanwhile Leeds, after a hot start to the season, have once again fallen away from the playoff positions and have struggled, even after the sacking of Thomas Christiansen. Paul Heckingbottom’s team has only won once since the start of the year, and angst has set in among the Elland Road faithful.

So Wolverhampton, kings of the Football League, will now play Leeds at Elland Road later today, with Leeds still hungover from the loss at Boro, facing a Wolves squad that had their match against Reading FC called off because of poor weather on Saturday. Wolves are well rested, ready to feast upon the bloated corpse of another Leeds promotion campaign that has died before the final hurdle.

If Leeds are to pull off an improbable upset under the lights, they’ll have to score some goals. Since the reintroduction of Samu Saiz to the lineup, Leeds have reverted back to a 4-2-3-1. Wolves have one of the meanest defensive records in the division, boasting a league-best goal difference of 31 while allowing only 28 goals in 34 matches.

Pierre-Michel Lasogga is still the best option that Leeds have at striker, with Kemar Roofe unfit, although Roofe’s disappearing act has started to wear thin when he’s been trusted to start the match up top. Ekuban has all the pace you’d desire out of a striker, but his finishing leaves much to be desired.

Behind Lasogga is where Samu Saiz will set up his office, dribbling and generally causing chaos. However, with a solid defence, Saiz might find it difficult to get free and pick out passes to Lasogga, as the lone striker needs more support against the three centre back formation that Wolves prefer to use.

Gjanni Alioski and Stuart Dallas would usually be expected to start on the wings, but at this point, you could be forgiven to expect to see some new faces take the pitch. Youth player Tom Pearce will probably eventually get a look, and while Pawel Cibicki has been seen a few times already this season, he’s probably due an extended look under Heckingbottom to see exactly what he can bring to the squad.

Could Hadi Sacko make an appearance in order to use his pace to get behind the fullbacks? Who knows! Heckingbottom has been forced to figure out his players on the fly, which is what you’d expect from a team and head coach in preseason, not in February, but here we are.

In central midfield, Adam Forshaw should lineup along side Kalvin Phillips. Eunan O’Kane has been a shell of the player that played back in August and September, and while Ronaldo Vieira has been better than Phillips on the balance of the season, it’s still not a given that he’s fit enough to contribute right now. So Phillips and Forshaw it is.

On defence, will Laurens De Bock be recalled to the starting lineup? Even though his performance was dreadful against Derby County, Vurnon Anita wasn’t great against Boro, and with the strengths of Wolves attacking down the wings, De Bock might have to be drafted in again to stop the bleeding. Gaetano Berardi will almost certainly play at right back, unless some more changes are warranted.

Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper will likely get the start at central defence, but with the poor performance could we see Matthew Pennington? It wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to bring in the Everton loanee to see if he can hack it against a good squad like Wolves. Pennington has showed flashes of decent play, but he didn’t do enough while Cooper was suspended to claim a starting spot.

In goal, will we see Wiedwald dropped? It’s possible, but playing Bailey Peacock-Farrell might not be the best idea in the world, no matter how well intended the impulse might be. Peacock-Farrell might be the goalkeeping future of Leeds, but he’s not the goalkeeping present of Leeds, and throwing him to the wolves might be harsh on the young player. Wiedwald can either continue to disappoint, and get himself a return to the Bundesliga, or he’ll recover the form he showed back in December when he turned in some good performances.

Predicted Score:

Leeds can’t win this match, right? Wolverhampton handled Leeds 4-1 last time around, although in Leeds’ defence, the match was close until Vieira was sent off and then Wolves ran riot. Wolverhampton is well rested and ready for this match and ready to extend their lead on top of the table, as Cardiff City crept a wee bit closer to them after a victory last night. 3-0 Wolves.

Predicted Lineups:

Leeds United: (4-2-3-1) Wiedwald; Berardi, Jansson, Pennington, De Bock; Phillips, Forshaw; Dallas, Saiz, Alioski; Lasogga

Wolverhampton: (3-4-2) Ruddy; Boly, Bennett, Coady; Douglas, Neves, N’Diaye, Doherty; Costa, Diogo Jota, Cavaleiro