Date: 21 April 2018
Time: 15.00 BST, 10.00 AM EDT
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds
Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)
All-time Record: Leeds United v Barnsley 24W 17D 20L
Reverse Fixture: Barnsley 0 - 2 Leeds United
Leeds and Paul Heckingbottom will face Barnsley FC, one of the few teams that Leeds beat earlier in the season and the former employer of Heckingbottom Saturday at Elland Road. Leeds go into the match with very little to play for, while Barnsley are in desperate need of points in order to avoid relegation. Leeds sit in 14th place in the table with 54 points, safe from a threat of going down and solidly out of the playoff race. Barnsley sit 22nd place on 38 points, two points behind Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers, although Barnsley do have a game in hand.
Leeds absolutely have to win this match, no doubt about it. Heckingbottom left this club for a bigger job at Leeds, and to lose against his old team would be a pretty stark statement about how Heckingbottom’s time at Leeds has been going. Leeds have looked worse, not better, since Heckingbottom took over, and while injuries and suspensions have robbed him of a number of first-choice players, that’s going to happen to every season. Drawing at home against Sunderland, who have been awful all season, was bad enough but losing to Barnsley should be considered grounds for dismissal.
Heckingbottom said that at least a few of the injured players will be back for Leeds against Barnsley on Saturday. Most notably, it appears that Pontus Jansson will be available at central defence, and Adam Forshaw might be available as well, although his availability is more in doubt.
This is normally where I try to predict the formation that Leeds will play and who will play in each of the positions, but Heckingbottom’s squad selection is all over the place, and appears to be more interested in trying to see what he’s got in each player than it is towards trying to win matches. At least, that’s the generous decision of what he does.
Jay-Roy Grot, Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Caleb Ekuban completed just FOUR passes COMBINED against Aston Villa. Grot failed to complete a single pass after coming on in the 66th minute. Atrocious.— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) April 14, 2018
Atrocious. #LUFC pic.twitter.com/wKLUW3vUTo
Anyways, I have no idea who he’s going to start this week, other than Bailey Peacock-Farrell in goal. Pierre-Michel Lasogga should not play for Leeds ever again, and Jay-Roy Grot needs to go out on loan next year. He’s still young, so there is hope for him. Caleb Ekuban works hard, but he can’t shoot. Vurnon Anita is not a fullback and shouldn’t play in that position for Leeds ever again. This team has too many moving parts and no rhythm to it right now, and if Heckingbottom is to get results, he needs to play the players that work well together.
With that in mind, Kemar Roofe might (?) get the start up top with Samu Saiz. Pablo Hernandez should start on the wing with Gjanni Alioski on the other wing. Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips in central midfield, with Pontus Jansson, Paudie O’Conner in the centre of defence. The fullbacks should be Tom Pearce and Stuart Dallas, although I would’t mind seeing someone else at right back.
Ryan Edmondson and Sam Dalby have both trained with the first-team this week. Would be great to see them getting some first team action before the season's up. #LUFC— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) April 19, 2018
That lineup isn’t very different from the lineup that beat Barnsley at Oakwell back in November, so if Heckingbottom is serious about trying to win this match, this should be about what he trots out there. If Grot or Lasogga even make the bench, I’ll be annoyed. Ryan Edmondson and Sam Dalby have earned their chance to at least appear in a match, and it might as well as be this one.
I’ll give the team the benefit of the doubt here, and say a 2-0 win. Barnsley will be fired up to take on Leeds, and I really think that the Leeds players will be up for this match as well, well, at least the ones that plan on being at the club next year. Saiz ran all over Barnsley last time around, so if he’s even half as effective as he was in the reverse fixture, Leeds should win.
Leeds United: (4-2-3-1) Peacock-Farrell; Dallas, O’Connor, Jansson, Pearce; Vieira, Phillips; Hernandez, Saiz, Alioski; Roofe
Barnsley: (4-4-2) Davies; Fryers, Jackson, Lindsay, Yiadom; Isgrove, Potts, Gardner, Hammill; McBurnie, Moore