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Match Preview: Leeds United v QPR - Leeds looking for home comforts after consecutive away draws

The Whites return to Elland Road to take on 8th place Queens Park Rangers

Barnsley v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Match: Leeds United v Queens Park Rangers

Date: 2nd November 2019

Time: 15.00 GMT, 11.00 ET, 08.00 PST.

Venue: Elland Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

Streaming: iFollow, LUTV (outside the UK).

This match is also previewed in the latest Mighty Whites Podcast, which you should definitely listen to and can be listened to here.


Leeds United welcome QPR to Elland Road on Saturday afternoon needing a win after two consecutive draws away at Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday.

Away draws are not to be sniffed at in this division, particularly when the opposition are riding high in the table, but winning your home games is vital to any promotion push.

Marcelo Bielsa could be forced into a few changes (the only way he really makes changes) following the news that Patrick Bamford, Ezgjan Alioski and Barry Douglas are all struggling with injuries. None of these three were rules out by Bielsa but he doesn’t often risk players who aren’t 100% fit.

The most pressing result of this for Leeds fans is that this could finally be a chance for Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah to get a start in the league. Fans have been calling for this for a while as there is little doubt that Nketiah is a much stronger finisher than Bamford, particularly with Bamford’s recent profligacy in front of goal.

Nketiah could well be in for a few chances with the return to fitness of former Spain international Pablo Hernandez, whom Leeds have undoubtedly missed during his injury absence. This means Helder Costa will probably drop to the bench.

However, Leeds do lose something if Bamford isn’t fit. His ability to drop off the front and link-up the pay has been regularly praised by Bielsa, as has his work rate pressing and chasing back. Nketiah seemed to take these words to heart at Hillsborough last time out as his defensive work-rate seemed to be a lot higher than on previous outings.

Injuries to left-backs Alioski and Douglas leave something of a selection dilemma for Leeds, but whichever Bielsa decides to go one of Leeds younger players will get a chance to start.

Leeds could bring in Leif Davis at left-back as a direct replacement - the former Morecambe man has played seven first team games for the Whites and hasn’t let the side down.

Bielsa could go with a more experienced head and play Stuart Dallas at left-back, with Luke Ayling at right-back. This would leave a spot open in midfield as one of the two number 8s, which Dallas has been occupying (when Leeds play 4-1-4-1). Leeds could either go with Jamie Shackleton or Tyler Roberts in this role, depending on which of the two number 8 roles Mateusz Klich is used in.

He could also play Gaetano Berardi as a left-back, although I see that as the least likely option as he offers very little going forward.

Personally, I think Shackleton would get the nod. QPR have switched between one and two up front this season and playing Shackleton gives Leeds the option to move him to right-wing-back and play with three centre-backs should The Rs go with a two-striker formation.

QPR do have a strong forward line this season with Nahki Wells and Jordan Hugill up top. They have good options off the striker too - Ilias Chair looks dangerous following his confidence boosting loan at Stevenage last season.

They also have one of the stand out players of the season playing off the front in Eberechi Eze who has six goals and four assists already this season. Some of his play has been borderline impossible to play against and Tottenham Hotspur are being linked with the England u20 international.

QPR’s squad doesn’t look as strong in deeper midfield areas or defence and they can be got at, as Brentford FC showed in their 3-1 win at Loftus Road on Monday night.

Despite that result, with how close the Championship is, and the good work Mark Warburton has done since getting the job since getting the job in the summer, QPR would leapfrog Leeds with a win at Elland Road.

PREDICTED LINE-UPS

Leeds: Casilla; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips, Shackleton, Klich, Hernandez, Harrison; Nketiah.

QPR: Kelly; Rangel, Leistner, Barbet, Manning; Chair, Cameron, Scowen, Eze; Hugill, Wells

PREDICTION

Leeds need a win and should have their creative spark back with the return of Pablo Hernandez, even if he doesn’t play 90 minutes. I am going to go for a 2-0 win despite Leeds struggling for goals recently.

What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.