Match: Leeds United v Rotherham United
Date: 18 August 2018
Time: 15.00 BST, 10.00 AM EDT,
Venue: Elland Road
All-time Record: Leeds v Rotherham 15W 6D 14L
Previous League Results: Rotherham 1-2 Leeds 26 Nov 2016, Leeds 3-0 Rotherham 2 Jan 2017
After spending a year in League One, Rotherham United bounced back into the Championship along with Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers.
Rotherham placed fourth in the League One table and defeated third placed Shrewsbury Town 2-1 in the playoff final at Wembley, confirming that all three clubs that were relegated from the Championship after the 2016-17 season would make an immediate return to the second division of English Football.
Rotherham struggled last time out in the Championship, and many predicted that they would not be able to bounce right back, but they managed to put the ship right enough to get back into the playoffs and get past Shrewsbury Town, the underdog team that came so close to reaching the Championship. Rotherham might have learned from their experiences and might be in for an extended stay in the Championship, although it would not shock anyone to see them go back down.
On the other side, Leeds United come into the match as one of the biggest “talking points” in all of English football with Marcelo Bielsa in charge of the team. He’s done wonders with this team that slid into mediocrity last season after a wonderful start.
Bielsa on Rotherham game and Leeds being favourites to win it: "If you say that we are favourites you think we are superior or our opponent is inferior. These things are never decided before the game. It's better to demonstrate than to say." #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) August 16, 2018
The only question, however, is how he can cope with a Championship team that won’t be interested in trying to go toe-to-toe with Leeds, but instead a team that will likely sit back and wait for pressure. Rotherham United aren’t going to try and play Leeds off the park like Derby County or Stoke City, so it will be interesting to see how Bielsa deals with them. He’s humble and experienced enough as a coach and manager to not take any team lightly, even if us, as fans, expect the blow the doors off of an opponent, Bielsa’s rightfully aware that any team can cause another team problems.
Bielsa says he's toned down training since the season started - shorter sessions, less intensity now that Leeds are playing regularly. Wasn't tempted to make any changes this weekend. The performance against Derby deserved an unchanged line-up. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) August 16, 2018
The lineup looks to be about the same as the Derby County lineup, barring any last minute changes due to injury or any other shenanigans. Pontus Jansson got better as the match went on against Bolton Wanderers on the midweek, so if Rotherham start trying to bomb balls into the box, you might see an appearance of the big Swede in the second half, but beyond that, Bielsa’s got this team firing on all cylinders.
Leeds should be able to win this match easily, but matches are never played on paper. While both sides should be up for it, expect Leeds to walk out winners, although perhaps by not as many goals this time. 3-0 Leeds.